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Old 09-18-2019, 08:31 PM
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Tracy2000 Tracy2000 is offline
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Intro - pastel newbie

Hi all -

I didn't want to start responding without posting a quick intro.

I'm Tracy, I live about 30 miles outside Seattle (toward Mt. Rainier and within driving distance of Dakota Pastels' warehouse for a weekend run lol). I'm new to pastels, having been sucked in by some pan pastels included in a Paletteful pack a month ago. I have half stick sets of GA, Unison, and a set of Richeson as well as Nupastels. And last weekend I succumbed to the limited offer at TL for the 30 Autumn Leaves set (I know I need the intense darks, but have been seduced by the Fall colors, plus, the set has the much revered V100 in it as well as a couple other darks so I figured I could take advantage of the sale lol).

I've been doing watercolor for a couple years, but strictly hobby level with no aspirations to sell anything. I do art because it satisfies my soul and as long as I'm having fun, I'm good.

I do like to paint plein air and because I don't really have dedicated studio space and have 3 curious cats, asthma, carpeting everywhere, and a tendency to to drop things, I ended up getting a pastels pochade box to do the pastels plein air as well. I may end up being a bit of a "seasonal pastelist" because I prefer to work with them outside to limit the potential for dust in the house or getting pigment on surfaces where it doesn't belong. I actually love getting outside with the pochade box and don't mind working small for now.

And, let's see....oh, I find it rather amusing that a limited palette in watercolor is 12 colors or less and in pastels the 130 colors I can squish into my pochade box count as a limited palette

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Old 09-19-2019, 02:53 AM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Welcome to the pastel forum, Tracy! This is a very supportive group of pastel painters,both plein air and studio artist. It sounds like you have enough pastels to begin with. Warning!!! Pastels are addictive and we never seem to have enough. Please post your paintings over in the Gallery when you are ready. If you ever feel you want mild critiques or suggestions, just add "C & C (comment and critique) welcome" at the end of your post.
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Old 09-19-2019, 10:46 AM
My Beloved Muse My Beloved Muse is online now
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Thank you for introducing yourself, Tracy. Make yourself at home and don't hesitate to chime in or ask questions. A kind and friendly bunch of people obsessed with powdery pigments in stick form visit these halls, and I believe they'll show you kindness & hospitality.

John
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Old 09-19-2019, 03:45 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Welcome Tracy! Sounds like we live in the same general area, I live about 15 miles east of Seattle, so we're both PNW folks. I've been at pastels only for a few years, but have become addicted and obsessed just like they say. I've managed to collect a few sets and use them all the time. I do landscapes, and like you I only do this because I love it. I'm not really interested in selling, but I sort of have to do it to help support my habit. My beloved wife is eternally patient with me, but everything has it's limits. In fact this weekend I'm going to have a booth at the Sammamish Arts Fair, and I hope to sell at least a few of my paintings there. I have about 75 of them stored up so it's time for a "Fire Sale!"


I would suggest that when you feel comfortable to post some paintings in the gallery section. People here are extremely nice and helpful, and you can kind of show us all what you are into. I scroll through the gallery all the time, and find it fascinating to see what others are up to, and how different we all are from one another in our styles and approach. I would also suggest joining a pastel group, to meet other folks and share stories and ideas. I have joined the Northwest Pastel Society, you can find them on Facebook. It is a great group of artists there who are very welcoming and friendly. I haven't spent nearly as much time with them as I want to, but hope to get to more meetings in the future.



Nice of you to post and introduce yourself, and I hope to see some of your work in the near future! Happy painting....
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Old 09-20-2019, 02:37 AM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Thank you all for the lovely welcome!

Richard, Iíll have to look into the NW pastel society. I am not on FB (a ďnever facebookerĒ person) but I think I grabbed one of their flyers after visiting Dakota Pastels in Mt. Vernon a couple weeks ago (just tucked a bunch of stuff into the bookcase). I wish I wasnít booked into Oct...Iíd have loved to come check out your booth and meet you in person.

Oh Karen, I am already battling pastel lust and have a wishlist going, lol. I am finding that my plein air time is revealing a couple color gaps that need to be filled. And then there are all the ďsurely I ďneedĒ that gaps. ;-).

Iíve been lurking a little while John and you are so right about the group vibe...seems like many very helpful people here!
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Old 09-20-2019, 01:38 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Yeah, I would consider myself a "Hardly-at-all" Facebook user, I hate the darned thing, but for some things like the NWPS it is just so much more convenient. Anyway, I just have to gush a little about the Dakota store in Mount Vernon. I've been there several times now, isn't it just the BEST? I just love going there and browsing through their stuff. It is so nice to actually see the sticks before you buy them. Something about seeing the actual colors instead of the photos of them on line. They do their best with the photos, of course, but they just aren't quite true to the originals. And to be able to touch them too, that helps me decide a lot. That table with all the odds and seconds and broken pastels on sale is just great too, I usually buy things just from that. It's always a good way to pick up a few samples of different brands to try out too. Every time I'm there I mention to the staff how much I appreciate them being there, and they are so nice and appreciative. Some day I will join a workshop with them and really try to get to know some folks. Some day...
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Old 09-22-2019, 01:04 PM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

OMG, I feel the same way about Dakota! Itís about a 2 hour drive for me, but I can make it part of a big loop drive on my way to North Cascades in summer which is great. The first time I went I walked in and saw that little store area out front and thought THIS is what Indrove up here for?!? I was so disappointed! Then the gal came out and I said Iím here to look at pastels, but it doesnít look like you have much...? She said oh, you want to come BACK HERE and thatís when I met the fulfillment area! Pastel heaven Yes, I love the sale table too! And being able to see everything in person. It actually changed my mind on a set or two to see them live. I try to save up and go to Dakota personally because I save on shipping (my car is a hybrid so doesnít take much to do the drive) and because I always want to see what bargain I can find on the ďbrokenĒ table.

Even if I donít go all the way over the cascades, if you fancy a drive for some plein air painting afterward, head to Concrete and have lunch at 5Bís bakery! I found them this summer and omg, what great food! It is 100% gluten free so the texture of some baked goods is a bit different but their food is all homemade. I can vouch for the sweet potato hash. A great stop before heading up to Diablo for some plein air time. ;-)
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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.Ē. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Old 09-23-2019, 10:00 AM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Welcome, Tracy! Like you, I am new to soft pastels. I have painted with watercolor, acrylics and oils, but I attended a workshop with pastels in May and, since then, I have hardly touched my other paints! They are most definitely addictive!
Please tell me how you found out about the special sale going on at TL?? Was it just happenstance, or is there some way to sign up for notices of sales on the various pastel sites? I order from Jacksons, DickBlick, CheapJoes, JerrysArtarama.... but I have yet to purchase any TLs. I'm sure I will at some point, just to try them out. Like you, I am collecting samples of various brands to try them out and see what I like best. I am all the way across the country in Macon, GA and SO ready for Fall! People here have been so nice since I began reading/posting, and I look forward to my SoftPastelTalk updates notice each week! Best wishes! Mike
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:43 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Hey Mike, I believe what Tracy is referring to is the specials they run on TL's website every so often. There is a place to sign up for emails and newsletters there, you just have to sign up and they will send you notices of specials, sales, events and announcements. Occasionally they run a sale, but the prices for their sets on the website are usually a little more than you can get from Dakota or Blick's or wherever. As far as I know, though, the TL website is the only place to get open stock any more. They don't offer it from Dakota like they used to. What is also really helpful when ordering open stock from the TL website, they list all the sets that particular stick comes in. So if you choose a particular green, for example, and they have it available in one of the other sets, you may already have it. I find that very helpful when ordering open stock.


Hey Tracy, that's so cool about tripping around the Skagit Valley and up the North Cascades Highway, what a great idea. One of the most beautiful areas of our state, and I haven't been on the scenic highway in a long time. I'm definitely due for a trip that way. I will take up your recommend on the restaurant too, we're always looking for a great out of the way place to stop. Happy pastelling to both of you!
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Old 09-25-2019, 03:25 AM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Hi Mike! Nice to meet another pastels newbie! Hereís something to think about on the TL website...I signed up for the mailing list earlier in summer but just happened to visit the site when the special autumn set was up and that.ks how I learned about that deal...I never received an email which seems weird. The ARE a small family business though and maybe they update their email marketing list irregularly?? Hopefully, now that Iíve ordered once direct, Iíll get regular email from them. Mike is right on prices though...a set of 30 from dick blick is $144 with free shipping. The price from TL was $135 (on sale from 180) and shipping was another $15 for a total of 150 making blick CHEAPER. But, the special sets (and the autumn one was only available for two weeks) arenít sold anywhere else. My screw-up was not ordering a couple open stock at the same time since I already had to pay shipping! I should at least have picked up an extra v100. I wonít ever miss that trick again! From what I can gather reading old threads and following some online pastelists on youtube, there seem to be specials around Christmas.

I am headed to Noth Cascades Institute in about 2 weeks for a 3 day watercolor workshop. Iíll be sneaking my pastels in the car too lol. I havenít seen any pastel classes offered through the institute so I plan to ask if they might consider it next year. https://ncascades.org/. A person doesnít have to be taking a class to stay there though...itís right on Diablo and lodging costs include meals. It will be my first art workshop ever. Next year Iím hoping to find a pastel workshop (Iíll definitely be watching Dakotaís class schedule.)

Mike, you should have some amazing fall color near you! I went to grad school in Knoxville at UT. One of my bucket list vacations is to take a two week slooooow drive up the Blue Ridge parkway in October. :-)
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"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.Ē. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:35 AM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Hey, Raymond, Thanks for the info on the TL site. I will make a point of signing up! But if, as you said, prices are still lower at Blicks, I'll probably order from there.... once I save up enough pennies! The TL's are SO expensive compared to the others. Is there THAT MUCH of a difference... truly??

Hi, Tracy! Yes, I SHOULD have some amazing fall color near me, but Mother Nature hasn't gotten the message that it is fall yet! Temps are still near 100 everyday here in central Georgia! OUF! I hope you will enjoy your upcoming workshop... and I recently read that some people use watercolor to do a painting, then add highlights with their soft pastels! So perhaps you might even combine the two.
I know that Alain Picard has upcoming workshops in California, but not sure if he ever goes to the Northwest. Though he does say he is open to any area if someone wants to organize a group for a workshop. Perhaps the "institute" you are attending would consider hosting him?? Check him out at picardstudios.com . Also, if you have not seen his "painterly edges" video on youtube, check that out, as well. With my oils, I have struggled to become looser with painting.... just like so many others. I have attended workshops with loose, impressionistic painters, but never did they explain "painterly" as well as Picard does in that 35 minute video. It was an "aha moment" for me! Here is a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBSA7d8oRBQ&t=124s

I have become so addicted to the pastels! A friend recently requested a commissioned portrait of his dog, and it took a lot for me to put away the pastels and pull out all the oil paint supplies for that project. As soon as it's done, I'll be back at the pastels!

Happy Painting!
Mike
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Old 09-30-2019, 10:38 AM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

oops.... Sorry, Richard.... I referred to you as "Raymond".... and I have yet to find a way to edit any of the messages I place here on this forum! Thank you for the TL info!

Mike
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Old 09-30-2019, 02:49 PM
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Mike, there is an edit button, lower right of your post. Click on that and you should be able to change spelling, delete words or add words. There is, however, a time that your ability to edit stops. Then, you can click on the red triangle in the upper right of the post and ask a Moderator to change something for you. If you have problems, PM me.
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Old 10-01-2019, 02:25 PM
Richard Barrere Richard Barrere is offline
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

Quote:
Originally Posted by franglais
oops.... Sorry, Richard.... I referred to you as "Raymond".... and I have yet to find a way to edit any of the messages I place here on this forum! Thank you for the TL info!

Mike
Hey, that's no problem, like they say, "I've been called worse".


So if you look at all the major brands of artist quality pastels, the TL's are on the high end, but they aren't even the most expensive brand. I know you are just in the early stages, we've all been there, where you are so anxious to get more and more pastels for your collection, even though you might not be able to afford it. It's rough, believe me I know. Don't make the same mistake a lot of us make and try to go cheaper, though. It just isn't worth it to settle for an inferior quality or some brand you don't really like. I would suggest trying as many as you can before you settle on one, and you can get sampler boxes from Dakota to help with that. See which one you prefer, the one that works best for your style and method. As far as the TL's go, when you ask if they are really that much better, all I can say is you need to try them!
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Old 10-04-2019, 02:46 AM
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Tracy2000 Tracy2000 is offline
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Re: Intro - pastel newbie

The only problem with the sampler boxes is that it made me want more of all but 2 brands lol!

Mike, yes, Iíve seen that youtube video of Alainís. Iíve watched so many of his videos and he has an online class starting, but the price was too much for me. Iíve signed up for Karen Margulisí silver level Patreon membership. Itís only $6/month and she is very disciplined with what she provides patrons and you have access to ALL the content since she launched. I think formonline learning for someone new like me that it is an amazing value and I definitely recommend it. She paints in a style (like Alain) that is very appealing to me personally. Someone who wants to do portraits or very realistic painting would probably be happier elsewhere.
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