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Old 08-04-2009, 05:20 AM
JPQ JPQ is offline
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How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ? and maybe birds and cats.
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:48 AM
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Donna T Donna T is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

That's a tough question, especially for a group of people who can never have too many colors! Not only do we need an assortment of warms and cools but we need light, medium and dark values of them. For me, I could possibly make do with about 36 colors - but I would want more!

Donna
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:02 AM
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helenh helenh is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

You could do a painting with just one light, one medium, one dark. But I imagine you'd get pretty bored after a while. So the answer is.........it depends. The more the merrier.
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:36 AM
rgb rgb is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

Some people do beautiful work with a limited number of pastels while others use every color/shade available. You could purchase a set of 36 or 48 colors then decide if you need more. Many pastel brands are available by the stick or in additional sets, so it is easy to add to your collection.

There is also a question of brand preference, and that is really a personal choice. Individual sticks of different brands can be purchased to help decide which hard and/or soft pastels you prefer. Dakota Pastels has sets of colors with different brands included.

As mentioned above, a dark, medium, and light of a color is good to have.

Good luck. Pastel collecting is addictive.
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Old 08-04-2009, 11:59 AM
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

I get by with 30-40, but prefer to have at least the double.

A landscape set would give you a minimum to work with, and you'd be able to do cats with it too.

Flowers need a bit more of the pure bright colours.

If you know how to layer colours to get the desired ones, they you don't need 2000 sticks.

Charlie
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:46 PM
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

If you're on a budget or just want to run some first tests, there are also half stick sets that will allow you to get twice the number of colours for the same price - or you can infect someone else with the pastel virus, then buy a set (or a heap of open stock sticks) together and break all the sticks in half to share the set, a lot of people do that too.

I only work with pastel pencils (and infrequently), I've got 60 colours but I think I could break it down to the 30 to 40 others mentioned if I had to... On the other hand, if I worked with them more I know I'd want more colours than the 60 I have.

Landscapes plus flowers is a subject combination that covers a lot of colours; if you want both, you'll definitely need a certain number of sticks.

Whatever you decide for, I hope you'll have fun with your pastels! They're fun but too much of a mess for me - thus the pencils.
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:13 PM
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David Patterson David Patterson is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

HA!!! 30 or 40...you guys are kidding, right!!?? I have a working box of 350 half sticks, and I ALWAYS have to go to another stash to find the right color!

Now I know there are some of you artists out there that can relate...right!?

I'm sure if you are a beginner, you could probably get by with 40 to 60 sticks, but like Helen said..."the more the merrier"!

David
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Old 08-04-2009, 02:28 PM
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

I can relate, David, trust me. I get nervous if I have less than 120 coloured pencils (I have a total of around 300, not counting doubles - and never enough, of course ); but I'm also fairly confident that for a start you can get along with a much smaller number of pencils or sticks, especially if you're willing to limit yourself to, say, only landscapes or only cats.

And after all, we've all heard of artists doing great paintings with a very limited number of pastels... The "trouble" with pastels is that you need different values of the exact same colour because as I see it, it's quite hard to make a colour darker or lighter... I guess that's why pastellists have even more sticks than cp artists have pencils, as a general rule...

I hope this isn't bad news for you, JPQ... I know you work in a lot of different media, so I'm not sure how much money and space you want to spend on yet another one... Hope you do it though!
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Old 08-04-2009, 04:33 PM
rgb rgb is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Patterson
HA!!! 30 or 40...you guys are kidding, right!!?? I have a working box of 350 half sticks, and I ALWAYS have to go to another stash to find the right color! ...

David, I'm really shy about giving an honest answer to the question. If I were to say 350 is the minimum number of pastels required, then those newly interested in pastels would grab their credit cards and run away from any thoughts of trying pastels.

Let's just ease them into pastels with 30 or 40, then double over with laughter when they return broke but continuously adding to their growing collection of magnificent colors.
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:53 PM
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

LOL, David! OK, I do have a few more, but I'm kind of a minimalist, so I do try to keep the number of colours low. Means I don't have to spend time on searching for the exact stick; instead I spend time on testing the effect of one colour over another, on a scrap.

And we have to catch the newbies gently. ;-D

Charlie
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Old 08-04-2009, 05:57 PM
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

David and Jenny,

I too laughed about the number. I collected about 4-5 pastel sets of all different qualities until one day I said "enough!"...I can start pastels now. Within about 3-5 small pictures, I was out getting more. Not sure how many I have now...probably close to 200...maybe more... but this weekend on the tax=free sales days, I plan on getting even more.
I read a funny article...probably in the Pastel Journal...answering the question "What do you NOT buy when you now buy pastels?"...or something like that. Sample answers..
I used to buy food...now pastels
Used to go out to eat...now pastels
Used to buy clothes but can't remember the last time i did that
Don't need clothes...they only get dusty so now its only pastel

There were others that were so funny but you get the idea. The answer is
THERE are NEVER enough PASTELS!!! LOL
Yvonne
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Old 08-04-2009, 08:18 PM
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DAK723 DAK723 is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

These are purely my personal opinions:

For a beginner, start with less not more. A set of 64 would be way more than I used through 4 years of art school. You learn more about color and mixing - which you may not ultimately need if you end up with more pastels (and yes, today I have about 300) but is important to know. If I had more choices, I would have been overwhelmed and confused, taking all my time looking for that exact color match. Knowing that you don't have the exact color teaches you how to use what you have.

Starting with less not more saves money. In every set I have bought, I bet I never even touch 20 to 30% of the sticks. If you start with less, then you end up buying what you need. If you find out that you really need a bright yellow-green for landscapes, then you pick 3 or 4 pastels specifically for that purpose. I will admit that this is only easy to do if you live somewhere where you can buy (and see with your own eyes) the pastels that you can choose from. I do have that luxury.

Having a lot of colors makes it very tempting to use too many in your painting. Even with a collection of 300 sticks, I use only about 20 (at the most) in any one painting. Using less makes it easier to maintain color harmony and keep things simple.

That's my 2 cents!

Don
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:14 AM
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PETE K PETE K is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

I think i need to agree with Donna, Charlie and Don. to me less is more. 30 or so is just fine for me. most of the time. I find when doing wet on wet in oils you need very few colours to get a great effect. I find (now it just may be me) that pastels are quite like painting wet on wet in oil. you can't mix the pastels but you sure could blend them on each other. to get an effect you want. I have bought many and do mean many colours and i get so overwhelmed and confussed also. i don't know which colour to pick. it seems to me i then spend more time trying to pick a colour than painting. i also found that out of this vast amount of colours i tend to use mostly the same ones and most i have never touched. or have they been used. maybe somewhere down the line i will use them i hope. but for me now i still think less is more in my opinion.
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Old 08-05-2009, 12:22 AM
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aolaranora aolaranora is offline
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

I would say you can get away with set of 40 or so, BUT !.....

Better, if you will chose your own colors from open stock, or something of this sort. I found out myself that most of small sets will have about half colors what you rarely will use and will not have colors what you really need badly... Like greens are always wrong ones and blues aren't much better... So the smart choice would be just pick up the brand you like and then pick up the colors you can not do without. OR take few brands and do the same thing.
Worked well in my situation. Mean while I'm always looking on e-bay and sells for bargain ... :-)
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:02 AM
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Re: How many soft pastels are minium usefull for landscapes and flowers ?

Contrary to what Don said, I mix more if I have more colours. I also only use a certain limited number of colours in one painting though, but that selection is very specific to the painting and for the next one I may pick completely different colours. I've so far never been overwhelmed by having too many colours, but having too few can seriously block me while a larger colour palette fuels my creativity wonderfully.

Long story short - it's probably a personal thing again. Blame my parents for giving me a huge box of crayolas rather than a small box of paints.

I still vote 30 to 40 open stock if you can, a set if you have to - then more or different ones or whatever you feel most comfortable with as you continue in pastels.

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