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Old 12-30-2019, 03:39 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Totally agree! I love Dakota for that very reason, not to mention that they are friendly and offer competitive prices and they have a gallery and workshops there. Nothing beats seeing the actual pastels before you buy them. Great deals can be found on Amazon and Jackson's and the like, but it really is a gamble. I'm with you on the Richesons, they are a great bargain and I have several sets of them, but I don't really care for the colors that much. If I see a set at a great bargain, normally I won't ever use about half the colors. Better to spend the money on a smaller set of great colors that you know you will use, right? I almost bought a set of the Richeson hand rolled (made?) set of oranges, since I needed some of those for my workhorse set. I opted not to, because I can't really trust the colors on the web pages. So I bought about half the amount of open stock of Unisons from Jackson's. Jackson's doesn't carry Richesons, nor do they offer a set of orange sticks in the Unision brand, so I bought open stock and it wasn't that bad. I got them and the colors are bright and vibrant, and I'll use them all for sure, so I'm better off that way.
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Old 12-30-2019, 10:03 PM
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Tracy2000 Tracy2000 is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

I had to laugh on Friday when I went to Dakota because I was 30 miles from Mount Vernon when I got an email that Dakota was having a free shipping special! I kidded them when I got there about the timing, but honestly, getting to check out the "special" table is another part of what makes it fun to go up there in person.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:39 AM
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franglais franglais is online now
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

You are SO lucky to live within driving distance, Tracy.... or.... maybe it's dangerous?? LOL
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Old 12-31-2019, 01:05 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

So Tracy2000, what did you wind up getting at Dakota? I almost always buy from their "special" table, or as they call it, the "Scratch and Dent" table. Such great deals, and a nice way to try out something you don't have. Post a photo in the thread I started called, "Photos of pastel collections" if you feel like it and share with us. I always forget to take a photo of the stuff I buy at Dakota. One of the most enjoyable parts is getting home and unwrapping and adding to my collection, so I do that before I remember to take a photo. Some folks probably don't know what we're talking about with these special deals from Dakota.
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Old 01-04-2020, 01:05 PM
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

DANGEROUS (for my wallet) is the right word lol. I ended up with a couple MVs AND the Nomad set of Blue Earths. My PLAN was to get a couple open stock MVs and then the set of 2019 colors, but I had a conversation with a couple of the Dakota folks about the Blue Earth pastels in general and played at their samples table. I have the pochade box which actually has the BE-friendly foam cut outs and I kind of like the value arrangement for plein air work. I also travel for work sometimes and I know my pochade box is too heavy (for me to cart around (I have to also carry my work laptop so that would be way too heavy for a carry on and I'm usually on fumes for international travel and not feeling great to carry all that STUFF through the customs rigamarole).

Anyway, I'm giving them a try. If I like them, I'll rearrange my pochade box to have the nomad set plus a smaller assortment of other things.

And...I'm headed by Mount Vernon again today so will stop. I want to get that newer spray bottle for Spectrafix, but will try to resist much else - maybe a sampler of the Pastel Premier paper to decide if I should go back later in the month while it's on sale.

Do you like the Colourfix artist trading cards? They always have a bunch of them available (for free) and I want to grab some. Since my goal is to paint much more frequently this year, I figure having those for some minis might help me keep that goal during busy times
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Old 01-05-2020, 09:33 AM
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franglais franglais is online now
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

I admire your self-restraint, Tracy... I have way more than enough pastels at the moment.... but am waiting on two more sets of Richesons ....and some individual colors... to arrive. We have a trip planned to southwestern Florida in late February, and I'm already thinking that it may be good to stop by the Mount Vision production location in Tampa while we are in the area... to see if there may be some deals on "pieces." I've not yet tried the PastelPremier paper. A friend tried it and did not like it at all, so I'd love to hear of anyone's experience with it. I seem to be stuck on UArt for now.... and I also have some PastelMat.
Best wishes to all!
Mike
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:04 AM
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Oooo, I would love to hear about your visit at MV central if you get to go Mike! You will have to scope out any new 2020 colors! I "only" bought 10 pastels yesterday. I'm trying to buy "value sets" now (or fill in where I have, say, only 2 values of a color with 5 values) - I got the new-to-2019 Brambleberry Red and the warm turquoise. The turquoise is one I've wanted since I saw it because it is all the glacial lakes around here, and photos of glaciers to me (that warm glacial turquoise-blue). And the red is one that looks like a lot of the bare twigs/shrubs this time of year.

I got a small pad of Pastel Premiere to try and then got the Dakota paper sampler since there are several papers I haven't tried. I've heard you can even rinse off UArt to re-use it - I haven't been brave enough to try that yet, but it does make it seem like a way to get good value for an expensive support. A friend gave me a TON of Hannemuhle (sp?) velour at Christmas which will be interesting to try - mostly for pics of my little feline clowder (I have 3 - what can I say, I will just embrace the cat ladiness of that lol).

Mike, I think Karen M did a month theme on trying different papers - have you done that month's worth of exercises yet? (obviously, I haven't). I need to go back and find that month now that I have all the samples. I think I want to do SMALL pics so I can test the Mount Visions (firmer) versus my softer sticks on each surface (the blue earth and GAs are the softest I have; I think my TLs are in the middle between them). When I started out, my first real set was GAs and the paper I had then was Murano that I got at a closeout of an art store (I bought everything they had left and have it all cut into workable sizes). I figured on using the Murano (it's like Mi-Teintes) for practice and it was TERRIBLE with the GAs. I could figure out why people liked GA pastels. THEN I got some pastelmat and Uart and the light bulb went off ;-)

I got the new Spectrafix sprayer and wanted to try the Glass fixative but Dakota doesn't yet have it. They are getting some in to test (I like that they actually test things before offering them) and I shared some of the feedback I've read around the forum (essentially conveying my desire for them to hurry up and get some hahahaha).

Which Richeson sets did you get Mike? I really like their texture - those pastels go down very smooth. Do you have the Thunderstorm set of MVs? That set will have you watching the sky for a nice stormy day!
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Old 01-06-2020, 09:28 AM
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franglais franglais is online now
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Hi, Tracy,
For now, I only have a few MV that I purchased to "try them out." I really love the Richesons. I started off with a small landscape set. I recently ordered a set of turquoise, one of greens, and one of yellows. The yellows have arrived and they are beautiful, but the other two sets are on backorder. I will definitely share my experience at MV in Tampa if I get the chance to stop by there. I'm hoping they may have a "broken" table like the one you have described at Dakota.
I remember that KM did a comparison of papers, but I am pretty content with the UArt for the moment, so I didn't try to find all the others. I do have some PastelMat and one sheet of Colourfix Plein Air Painting Board to try.
As Richard noted earlier, it has become almost as much of a hobby to find a purchase new colors and brands as it is to paint with the pastels! LOL

Mike
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Old 01-06-2020, 12:27 PM
clairmilanovich clairmilanovich is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

I'm here be cause the making pastels thread is closed.



So far I am doing all right except for one issue -- I am having a difficult time figuring out when the consistency is ready to roll or form -- all "sticks" ( all 3 of them!!!) are horribly deformed. I want them so that can roll the piece out on glass without having it stick to me or to the glass-- any suggestions very much appreciated!


[I have lots of pigment powders left over from when I was working in encaustics and also making watercolor paints --]


And my wonderful Sennelier set was lacking burnt umber and, -- can't believe it -- Venetian Red-- so I looked into making them and have ended up here with my question.
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Old 01-06-2020, 02:59 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Hello, Just chiming in here in response to your question about making pastels. In my experience, if you get the dough to wet you can add more dry ingredients and work it in so it becomes the right consistency. Do a little at a time, and be sure to work it around in your hands so the ingredients all mix together well. Once you have the dough at the right level you can work it just like clay. You can roll it out or put it into square molds, or you can extrude it which is what I prefer to do. I like my sticks square, so I have a small piece of square tubing that I load the dough into, then I have a plunger that is the diameter of the inside of my tube, and I pack it in tightly and then push the plunger through, and I have a nice square stick come out onto my paper towels. I just let those sit and dry, turning them every so often to dry evenly.


One thing that works really well for me to get the right sort of softness with my pastels is I use the pigment, some calcium carbonate, and some French talc, mixed into three approximately equal parts dry, then I add water as needed to get the dough. This three part mixture of dry ingredients seems to be just about right to come up with nice soft pastels every time. I never need to use any binder, just those ingredients. You might want to try that if you have any kind of issues with your sticks being too hard or too soft. Good luck, and let me know if you have any questions!
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Old 01-06-2020, 03:12 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracy2000
DANGEROUS (for my wallet) is the right word lol. I ended up with a couple MVs AND the Nomad set of Blue Earths. My PLAN was to get a couple open stock MVs and then the set of 2019 colors, but I had a conversation with a couple of the Dakota folks about the Blue Earth pastels in general and played at their samples table. I have the pochade box which actually has the BE-friendly foam cut outs and I kind of like the value arrangement for plein air work. I also travel for work sometimes and I know my pochade box is too heavy (for me to cart around (I have to also carry my work laptop so that would be way too heavy for a carry on and I'm usually on fumes for international travel and not feeling great to carry all that STUFF through the customs rigamarole).

Anyway, I'm giving them a try. If I like them, I'll rearrange my pochade box to have the nomad set plus a smaller assortment of other things.

And...I'm headed by Mount Vernon again today so will stop. I want to get that newer spray bottle for Spectrafix, but will try to resist much else - maybe a sampler of the Pastel Premier paper to decide if I should go back later in the month while it's on sale.

Do you like the Colourfix artist trading cards? They always have a bunch of them available (for free) and I want to grab some. Since my goal is to paint much more frequently this year, I figure having those for some minis might help me keep that goal during busy times




Yeah, I can't resist grabbing a few of those trading cards, but I don't use them much. It is good habit to use those for small studies, but that shows you my work ethic! Isn't that Blue Earth Nomad set the BEST? I don't have one, but I've looked at it many times there. I'll get one eventually. I tried the Blue Earth greens set and love it, they are very soft like GA's, only they are so small! It's hard for me to justify the price, but those colors sure are to die for. We really are lucky to live so close to that place. Have you thought about joining the Northwest Pastel Society? Great resource for lots of things, nice people and shows to enter, if you are interested. I mention it because they are having a meeting there at Dakota on Saturday the 18th at 11am, if you are interested in checking them (us) out.
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Old 01-06-2020, 07:34 PM
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

I had a good play session with the Nomad set last night and was really chafing at there not being a cherry/apple red and a brighter yellow. I've been trying different pastels and different papers with a single photo of an apple and a pear. Went to bed a bit grumpy, got up and looked with fresh eyes this morning and realized the "not red enough" apple is almost EXACTLY the same finished color as the "just right" apple I did with different pastels and deeper reds the night before - I just got to the finished colors two different ways. Those blue earths are REALLY soft for sure!

Thanks for the notice on the Pastel Society meeting. I'm on the fence with that group. I really don't feel my skills are up to entering any shows (and I'm actually "giving myself permission" to NOT even think about entering even regional shows for at least a year - so that I can focus on experimenting as much as possible versus coming up with "finished" pieces). I joined the Black Diamond Art Alliance - a small group close to me. (Barbara Newton - whose work is the last page in the new Pastel Journal - is actually a member of the group!) I also joined PAWA (Plein Air Washington Artists) for 2020. They seem like a very active group with a lot of paintouts from day trips to multi-day get togethers. That might be it for this year while I do a lot of learning, and it really doesn't seem like the pastel society has many activities for members throughout the year and has more of an emphasis on...well...I guess I would call it more expert artists than me ;-) PAWA feels like more of an "all skills" group and I can do multi media work with them if I want. BDAA has some working artists in it as well, but it is a SMALL group and there are quite a few activities. Being local to me is good too. They also seem to be helping/mentoring newer members trying to find their wings as artists so that's a group where I can learn a bit more about the business side of art I think.

I know the NWPS says it mentors new artists, but I didn't see many activities listed for last year...??

BTW, I think that mentally, I definitely consider myself a hobbyist/artist-wannabee most of the time, versus thinking of myself AS AN ARTIST. So I need to work on my skills, but also my attitude I guess lol.

I might have to refresh my camping skills with the plein air group - they seems to do a fair number of weekend camping expeditions ;-)
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:06 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

That's an interesting perspective, it seems like you've given it a lot of careful consideration, and I completely respect your choices. Sounds like you may have found a home with those other groups close by you, and that's great. I just don't want you to sell yourself short either, by thinking you aren't good enough for any reason. Heck, I've only been a member for a year, and I have barely been to any functions or meetings. I sort of feel the same way, being relatively new to the medium and some of those folks have been at it for decades and are much, much better than I am. I find that kind of thing stimulating though, knowing how much I can learn from being around them, and the group seems to be very willing to share their time and energy with you. I have a special needs 20 year old son who requires a lot of my attention, so haven't been able to make the time to get to many of their meetings. I barely know who all the artists are, but I have befriended a couple of them and consider that very valuable. They seem to be very willing to reach out, as long as I can make it to a few of the meetings! Things seem to be very informal, so even if you want to stop by just to visit Dakota it would be nice to see you there.
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Old 01-08-2020, 09:07 AM
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Being able to share with other artists in a group setting is a plus. I am a member of a group of about 15 artists of various media who meet once a month to share and give/receive critiques. The host for the month chooses the theme. During the first year, we chose an old master each month and everyone copied a painting from that artist's work. Now we have shifted to more open themes.... this month was "fantasy" and next month is "African art." It keeps me interested, and even if I don't do a painting on the theme I can always share a piece of any kind. I painted solely with acrylic and oils for the past five years.... until last May when I first touched pastels. Now, it seems I can't go back... though I do want to at times... and do BOTH. I'm thinking that maybe I will try and do pastels one month.... then paint in oils the next... and alternate. The pastels are just TOO MUCH FUN!!! What other media did you all paint in before? And do you still paint in other media, or are you working strictly with pastels now?
Mike
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:13 PM
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Tracy2000 Tracy2000 is offline
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Re: Richardson handrolled v.s. handmade pastels

Hey guys - I know we're veering off from the original discussion so kind of hesitated replying back....

Richard, I SO appreciate the nudge and invitation. I probably won't go back up to Dakota for the meeting - even to check things out - because it's 4 hours of driving and I've done the drive twice since Christmas ;-) I sort of exhausted my road warrior-ness.

Mike, that sounds like a great group that you meet with! The art group I'm in is a little bigger, but not by much and everyone shares projects at monthly meetings, although I don't think there is much critiquing on a regular basis. The plein air group does seem to do some of that.

I acknowledge the benefit of the critiques but - AND THIS IS JUST ME - I was a member of a photo club for some time. When I started, I was out shooting for pleasure every weekend and I LOVED my photography. By the time I left the club, I was completely burned out. It was quite a competitive group, the critiques were political/biased (you ALWAYS knew who was going to get great reviews - and some of the judges would vote for THEMSELVES which just...don't get me started). The straw that broke the camel's back for me was a month with the theme of photojournalism which I really enjoy. We had a workshop and weekend shoot and critique with a man whose career was photojournalism with a major newspaper and the AP. He LOVED the photos I took and said how one of my photos would be darn hard to beat in the monthly competition, which he was judging. But he had a family emergency and one of the members of the "usual gang" did the judging. And guess what? All those people they usually liked were suddenly photojournalists too (including, yes, the judge voting for his own photo). I left the club within a month and pretty much stopped shooting. I've only recently started to enjoy my camera again and I just do NOT want to get into another situation where I allow my enjoyment of something - whether it is photography or watercolor or pastel - be so colored by critiques/opinions of others. It's complicated because I want to improve and usually, I don't mind opinions (critiques), but I guess I want them from people whose work *I* respect and know.

I actually enjoy workshop environments because I've made a choice to be there to learn from someone whose work (of whatever kind) I respect and I am fully open to critique from them. In other settings...well...I'm cautious. Maybe when I am farther along and I feel confident that the work I'm producing is what *I* want out of it. With the photography example...I loved the photo I'd taken, the expert loved it, and then I ended up in the middle of politics where I allowed how I felt about my photography to be too affected by the opinions of people I didn't respect (which probably says more about my confidence - which would make you laugh if you knew me in a work setting because I'm plenty confident there).

I'm probably not making too much sense, but for now, I want my art to be fun and relaxing. Not joining the pastel group right now is really mostly because I only have a finite amount of time to attend activities and I don't want to join a group just to have a resume item

As a fun end note, I happened onto a local event on Christmas Eve, stopped to shoot some pics and one was run by our (tiny) local paper. Not an artistic photo by a long shot, but it conveyed what I wanted to capture in the moment.
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