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Old 01-08-2007, 12:28 AM
Dea Dea is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

This thread is a great idea. I don't have the experience to offer much advise but I thought this may provide some inspiration particularily on the subject of paper. This lady uses Canson. Other papers can be hard to get depending which country you are in, Canson seems to be everywhere.
http://www.gracepaleg.com.au/default.htm
Deanna
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Old 01-08-2007, 11:12 AM
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Deborah Secor Deborah Secor is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Quote:
Does the hardness or softness of a pastel really matter if I can manage to not fill the tooth of the paper too quickly? In other words, do I have to to start with harder pastels and end with softer pastels?

I thought I'd comment on this question, too. The thing you have to remember about what we refer to as 'soft pastels' as a whole medium is that they come in a range of hardness that's determined by the relative proportions of pigment to binder: the more pigment the softer, the more binder the harder. So by definition the softer pastels are 'purer' in that they don't have as much binder (usually gum tragacanth), but there's another factor: fillers. Some manufactureres, as I understand it, use fillers such as chalk. Pastels are NOT CHALK, by the way. Chalk is a limestone substance that's used sometimes to lighten colors, but more often to lighten the 'feel' of pastels. (Someone with more knowledge than I will probably be able to add information here.) The result is that the softer pastels usually contain more literal earth than do the harder ones.

This softness can fill the grain of the paper, it's true, depending largely on how much tooth the paper has, as well as how soft the pastel stick you're using is or not. If you use a grainy paper like sandpaper, and a soft, soft pastel, you may find the tooth is filled instantly if you aren't careful. This is part of the reason some pastelists use harder pastels to start with, of course, but if you have no trouble with this there's no reason to start with harder pastels and build up to softer ones. Functionally there is no need to start with hard pastels otherwise (as there is in oil paints, where "fat over lean" is the rule because otherwise the paint doesn't dry well and can crack.)

I start my students with Wallis paper and very soft Great American pastels! They learn to use a 'light hand', so that when they use a hard pastel like a NuPastel they find it's like drawing rather than painting. As a writer I've interviewed a lot of pastelists and I find that there really is no 'right way' to do this, just ways that are more commonly used. Most pastelists subscribe to the soft over hard rule, but not all. It just depends on your style and what works for you!

Quote:
I am trying to also determine the best easel for me. At the moment I will begin with a studio easel, preferably one with wheels, but with an ability to make it stationary as well. I know Albert Handell used a French easel------I had a portable aluminum one, but that was to allow for traveling. I imagine a lot has to do with personal preference. I am open to suggestions!

One thing to keep in mind, Susan, is that a Fench easel is not made to stand up all the time. The wooden legs are spindly and I found that when I used mine in the studio they began to bow badly. If you put it on a table without extending the legs you can use it all the time, but I recommend one that's made to stand. If you're looking for an easel to use on location I like my Anderson Swivel easel, but it works best for shorties. I posted a thread reviewing this easel somewhere that you might look for.

Quote:
'Back in the Day' (ha) Albert did some underpainting, but not with watercolor; it's been so long that I will have to find notes and his book to recall the exact process (is this what it's like to lose one's mind? Help, I'm too young!). I know I used to stain sanded paper.
Use it or lose it, I guess! In this case I can remember a bit... I worked with Handell starting in 1988 for some 6 years and we used Ersta sandpaper with Turpenoid, or he often stained it with furniture stain--can't think what it was called, but he let the varnish settle out and used the stain from the top of the can to make the paper a nice even coffee stain beige color. Because the paper couldn't take water we were forced to use solvents. Nowadays sandpapers such as Wallis or Art Specturm allow us to use virtually any kind of medium with our pastels!

Deborah
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Last edited by Deborah Secor : 01-08-2007 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-10-2007, 08:07 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Deborah,

Thank you so much for providing so much information and answering my questions.

Terri
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Old 01-10-2007, 09:45 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

I love Pastels, it has been a while since I used them. This forum has been great inspiration and a catalyst to get me using them once more
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:18 PM
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chewie chewie is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

ebony minwax is the solvent you are trying to remember.

i think a person would do themselves a favor by getting not only books but a dvd or video, as art is a visual thing, and seeing it rather than reading has been alot of help for me. there are a few that have been mentioned on the threads, if you search i'm sure a person would find several to look at.

do lots of small paintings of simple things, where you're not afraid to 'waste' good paper. the more you do, the better you'll be. try not to let much time elaspe between times of working, or you wind up wasting time 'relearning' things you've already done. and i think starting with poor supplies is simply setting yourself up for failure. ebay has lots of deals that you can pick up for the same price as cheapo in a hobby shop. you don't have to drop a month's wages to get a small set of decent pastels and a small stash of paper. i also think getting some of the half-stick sets available is a super way to get a start--you get more colors!! i like the sennl. half set of 80, and the 60 halfs of rembrt. are handy as well.

for an easel, a table top is also an easy, more affordable way to start. and that's something that, if you go to workshops sometime, are very handy! but, an easel isn't completely necessary--nice, yes but it won't make or break you. in fact, you can use a wall!

i use an apron, and baby wipes, and finger cots. full gloves are too hot. i keep a carpet under my easel for those times i drop a pastel--nothing can make an artist cry like watching a fav. color shatter!! i use thin, soft, vine charcoal for sketching out on my colorfix paper.

i use banker's clips to put my paper to a board like masonite, esp. out in the field, or for inside, since i like a 'soft' feel under my painting, i use a sheet of cheapo velour under my working paper, which are on a bulletin board. i like the frame on the bulletin board, where i rest my maul stick when reaching a tricky spot. my stick is a dowel rod with a rubber glove finger on the end, held on with a rubber band.

study the WIPs here !! that can help tons! this site is a huge boost, so much to learn, so many ppl with new ideas, and so willing to share!!
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Last edited by chewie : 01-10-2007 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:30 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathryn Day

3. Also, when starting I noticed that when I would want to start a mark at a certain place, I would place it over or under where I wanted it. Just go ahead and make the mark where it lands, then you can adjust from there and just erase the errant mark. Maybe I am the only one that does this. lol

You're not.

This is a helpful thread
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Old 01-11-2007, 02:30 PM
Chosen1 Chosen1 is offline
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Hello,


I have tried many other mediums but never found the one for me. Just recently I was walking through hobby lobby and picked up a set of 12 Mungyo Gallery Soft pastels, just to try. I also picked up a canson sketch pad and some canson Pastel paper and Today I picked up some Krylon Workable Fixatif. So I am new as of yesterday, I have never done soft pastels ever. I have worked in some watercolor/gauche and acrylics so I have some brushes, and I worked with charcoal and graphite so I have a stumps, a sand paper block, and other drawing tools.

So my questions are:

1. Do I need more tools?

2. Is Krylon a good brand for fixatifs? if so can I use Workable fixatif as a "Finishing" Fixatif or should I buy a seperate product?

3. I had some Grease/oil pastels before and didn't like them, I had made my mind up that I wanted the chalk like ones. When I was looking at them I noticed there was Soft and semi-hard pastels, what is the difference and do I need both?

4. I was browsing through a pastel booklet and this person recommended pencil pastels along with your soft pastels, is this true?

5. Is Mungyo Gallery a Good brand of soft pastels? If it isn't/is what are some other good brands?


Thanks for your time,



-Christopher
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Old 01-11-2007, 04:33 PM
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adaus adaus is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chosen1
5. Is Mungyo Gallery a Good brand of soft pastels? If it isn't/is what are some other good brands?
Thanks for your time,
-Christopher

Well Christopher, I've had some experience with the Gallery pastels, I believe they are different from the regular Mungyo pastels because they are made from better pigments- they're artist grade. Also, like Rembrandt, they use single pigments for each pastel (for the most of them) which isn't bad since the colors tend to have a higher chroma. They are made in Korea, I believe, and it is cheaper to make pastels there aparently ( not to mention clothes, certain electronics, etc, I don't know why it just is . I believe they are more limited in color selection than other brands, so that is the only real downside. I love their perfect magenta, and sanguine and they have the blackiest carbon black too.
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Old 01-11-2007, 06:42 PM
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Bhavana Vijay Bhavana Vijay is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

This such an excellent idea Deborah! Great information so far, I am looking forward to learning a lot more from everyone here.

I am somewhat a newbie (a little more than a year) but I would like to share some things I picked up the last year.

Kneaded Eraser: I love using this to remove extra pastel. You can shape it into any size so its wonderful for even the tiniest corners. Its excellent to remove pastel dust from any place, mats, between laptop keys(!!). I also use it to create texture, dabbing it or using the edge to draw lines etc.(like a color shaper)
http://www.dickblick.com/zz215/02/

Finger Cots
: I discovered these recently and love them. I blend a lot when I do skies and earlier my fingers would bleed(when I use Wallis). This just makes it so much easier. I dont feel comfortable using latex gloves and I find it very tough to clean them. This, you can just toss and pick up another one for a new colour.
http://www.dickblick.com/zz352/07/

I keep my easel tilted front a bit and line the base of the easel with paper towel so that all the dust falls on the bottom and not on the paper.

I do find pastel pencils useful for some type of painting, especially those with lot of details. They dont usually work very well over a layer of pastel, so I find it best to plan ahead and use the pencils on the very first layer itself.

I have learnt everything I know about pastels here in WC. Here are some of my favorite threads...I am sure there are plenty more, will post them as I find them.

Some Demos

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=262864

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=209022

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296466

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=228709

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=293512

On shipping pastel paintings

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=87007

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hipping+framed

On storing pastels


http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=storing

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=storing

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=storing

On storing finished paintings

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=316729

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=storing

Organizing pastels

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=storing

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=arrange

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show...hlight=arrange
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Old 01-13-2007, 12:21 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

great thread !! ... it's bookmarked, rated, and partially committed to memory !! ...
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:03 PM
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Deborah Secor Deborah Secor is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

I haven't had a lot of time to spend online the last few days and just noticed this list you posted, Bhavana. Wow--thanks! I think that is a terrific listing of threads, and you went to a lot of trouble to post them for us. Much appreciated.

Deborah
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Old 01-17-2007, 06:33 PM
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Thank you Bhavana,
You surely went to a lot of work for this and I really appreciate it. I will be browsing!
Deborah, it was great to see your name in Pastel Journal! I got so excited, I felt like I was seeing an old friends name in print
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Old 01-20-2007, 08:35 PM
SusanE SusanE is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Deborah & others, thank you for the feedback. I am in Bella Vista, AR where the ice landed and we subsequently had no electricity for 6 days! It's sleeting now, so I'll quickly toss in my thank you for the gracious feedback in the event the electricity goes out again!

I found my large set of Rembrants; they were so safely tucked away during the move that even I had difficulty finding them. I can't convey how wonderful it was to use them again. I found a studio easel on wheels; it tilts and the heighth can be adjusted......was just 150.00. Deborah, I believe I began studying with Albert in 81------and moved to AR about 5 years later. I found the old book and my notes.......so, I am jazzed.

I have already started painting, albeit going small----playing with color, etc. I have a Daniel Greene video and will collect others for the time being. I was relieved to note I could still paint, however I'm rusty. I look at my older work and want to go bolder.....and I view that as a good sign. I think the key for me will be just to do it without expectations of a finished work, etc. Forgive the babbling..........long time no internet! I still don't love working on Canson and am anxious to try the new surfaces.
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:15 PM
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Smile Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

[quote=chewie]ebony minwax is the solvent you are trying to remember.

Yes!!
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Old 01-20-2007, 09:19 PM
SusanE SusanE is offline
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Re: "How to Get Started in Soft Pastels" for our newbies

Bhavana Vijay,

Thank you for the links; boy, were you busy!
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