Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reference on Soft Pastel brands.


I can not say, I tried them all. Not at all. But I'm working on it. :-)


I'm agree with the fact, that hand-made brands may not be around forever... and it si too bad. Worst of all it doesn't just apply to the hand made ones, but some manufacturies cutting down on their colors as well...or just changing their formula... Holbein would be a good example of it. So, I would say - it is very good idea to keep in mind what you like the best AND what you may like use for replacment of this "very best", it if is just not available.

Like probably everybody I started from something what was around and was cheap. It was enough to get me interested. Long time ago my first ever pastels was Russian set of Yarka. They have their limitations and I can not stand their greens, but on other hand blues and pincks and aslo earth tones are nice and useful.

Then I got a set on Nuvel Carre by Sakura. They are not sold in USA for some reason, even Sakura sells here a lot of their oil pastels. I wasn't too impressed with Carre. Way to hard for me and colors are some-what artificial looking. But could be used on sandpaper and they are water-soluble too.

Then I tried Rembrandt. So far I would say that would be my last choice, if nothing else is available. It is the only brand, what has no light in it at my opinion... They all dull and flat. Just my 2 cents, but I'm not impressed.

Surprisenly, I like Nupastel. Goes great us first layer, or like fine detailes for the last one. Great work horse. Once again - no usefull greens, or very few...

Now about favorites... Holbeins. Great medium-soft pastels. Very even from color to color, no surprises here.. "this one is too soft, this one is too hard", nothing like that. Economical, works well on any surface. Just love it, period. Could use more colors and (the worst news), how I understand company totally changes a formula for their soft Holbeins. Now they are water-soluble and round. So when old sets are gone, they are gone.

Schminske. Perfect. Just perfect. No other comments. Love from first touch.

Terry Ludwig. Long live live, Terry! We all need you! You came up with the great stuff! I only have few hand picked colors and they are one of my very favorites.

Unisons. Absolutely great stuff. Feels somewhat hurd, goes like a velvet. Amazing. I only have a Special collection and one of their greens, but with occasion sure will get more.

Giraults... I only have some hand piced selection of greens... Wish to get a full set someday. Yes, they are just as good, how they say. 

Art Spectrum. Rated about the same, as Rembrandt. yet, it is totally different stuff. Much brighter colors with a lot of light in it. Have great darks and great lights. I personally have so called "Marine set" of 40. Like them a lot. Good for Seascapes and.. landscapes too. Goes well with another brands.

Winsor and Newton. I don't like standard selection in teir small sets, but quality of pastels is good and some colors are very usefull. I belive some stores have it in open stok now, what is a great news. They are softer then Art Spectrum and not so bright, but very usefull. Definetelly better then Rembrandt (at my opinion).

Great American... I just tried one of their colors. If the rest feels the same way, they are one step away from Schminske... I'm not sure if it is step up or down!

Sennelier... Once again, surprisenly, I'm not big fan of it. If we talk about "soft", I like Schminske much better. If we talk about colors... I still like Schminske better. Plus they are very uneven from color to color, some earth colors are hurd as a rock and this brand is not the best with layering too. Maybe I'll change my opinion when I'll be more profission with pastels, but so far I have a problems with this brand, just like with Rembrandt. No offence to anybody.

Mount Visions. I have 50 colors. Hand picked set of 25 and Tunderstor Grays. Great pastels with good price. Like them a lot.

Richeson hand made. I have a small set of those. Very nice. Nothing to die for as for my consideration. However it is a SET we are talking about. I'm pertty sure, if I would be picking from open stok, how I love to do, I would be much more impressed. I generally often don't like colors what comes in standard sets (unless it is a full set, what I have only in Holbein for both - soft and oil pastels). They works for me just perfect, espessially because I like to work on miniatures.

Pan Pastels - great addition to the rest of your collection. I only have 4 colors what I can use the most and yes, I like them, but no, I wouldn't use it as an only brand for no painting. Some things will be missing here... I'm totally in love with applicators for those pastels, never tryed anything for blanding that works so great!

Kooh-I-Noor... As the rest of art supply of same brand - good and honest. Somewhat soft, but not too soft. Interesting to try. Do not try to use those with water... doesn't work at all. 

And of course pastel pencils.... I personally like them and have a planty of it sitting around on my shelves.


If I would have to choice totall favorites from everything I tried:

Girault, Terry's, Schminske, Great Americans (even I don't have them!), Holbeins and Unisons and of course - Mount Vision. Everything else I can survive without, but doesn't mean it is not going to work!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Running Creek. Last update.



Finished this one and framed it too. For some reason had a very hard time to take a final picture of it. But it is OK.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Far away light. WIP. Update #2.


This is update from yesterday. Our DSL was down for few days, so I couldn't post anything. Hope to work some more on this one this eve and see what happened! :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stormy River. Plein Air.


So called "half-falls" on Susquehanna river.

9x12"
Dark Gray La Carte
Art Spectrum marine set of pastels (40 colors),

12 colors Richerson Landscape

25 colors Mount Vision Thunderstorm Grays

Due me having my BD I treat myself with little get away from Plein Air session. 

Weather was awful and we got in the middle of big storm, but before it hit us, I had about 1-1.5 hours to paint and got some nice colors down with my new set of grays.

So called "half-falls" on Susquehanna river.

9x12"
Dark Gray La Carte
Art Spectrum marine set of pastels (40 colors),
12 colors Richerson Landscape
25 colors Mount Vision Thunderstorm Grays

Monday, August 17, 2009

Far away light. (Cove Creek again!) WIP

Ampersand Pastel board 11 x14 "

Mixed soft pastels.

Reference picture for this painting was taken from the middle of creek, when water was shallow and I had a chance to get across of it with my regular shoes. Camera was pointed toward waterfall, however you can not see the falls, just a reflection of light coming from it. Very pretty. 


I have a mixed feeling from this painting, still not sure, if I'm going the right direction with it, but I'll try.

I started my first layer with charcoal and then mostly with Russian Yarka pastels, since I have two colors in my little set, that works for my advantage. Next layer is Holbeins, then - everything I have. 

Before I started bigger painting, I did my try out for color pallet on La Carte.
 
I'm going to frame this one in dark mahogany Plein Air style frame to create an affect of tunnel from the dark to the light. I like it mostly so far, but few details. I think I sort of did too much with lights at the end, probably will have to modify it a little, the lesser at this point will be better at my opinion. 

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Forest Magic.

One more miniature paiting I did this weekend.

3 X 5 ", La Carte,

Mixed soft pastels, Pastel Pencils.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

HDR photography and Cove Creek updates.


Tonight I went back to this painting. I have some fresh ideas and a lot of with to finish it... soon. Hopefully. Or not. So far I have the right feeling to it - time is not so important.

So, here is an update. I think I have just a little bit too much of it at the left part of painting and when I'm going to have it finished, some left part of painting will have to go. Looks to me whole picture will be better balanced this way. I have two photos to post - one actual update on this WIP and the other one just try out with the frame and with some left part of painting cut off. I feel it looks better this way.
I'm using Valencia frames for some of my pastels at present moment, at my opinion they give some nice assent to pastels, adding lot of light and not too expensive after all! :-)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Plein Air. Hay Filds. Soft pastel.

11 X 14    La Carte, Mixed soft pastels.

Went tonight to the stable, was sitting just by the fence line. My youngest horse was wondering on another side of fence totally sure that I came here to spend time with her. It was nice feeling. She never went away with another fillies, just was grazing nearby and glancing at me time to time.

I simply was sitting there and painting a hay fields right on another side of country road from the horse pasture. I had about 1-1,5 hour to do it, but it turned out interesting. :) 

Probably I'm going to frame this one.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Koi Pond. WIP.


8 x 10 " Ampersand Clay Board.
Colourfix primer.
Oil pencils
Holbein and Sennelier Oil pastels. 



This WIP I started as one of my possible 2009 Oil Pastel Society annual show entries, but did not have enough time to finish it by show dead line. What is fine. I'm going to take my time and finish it right.
 

I took several photos of work progress and glad to share it with you. Probably still need few more weeks to finish this one with the speed I'm working on it.



Tonight's sketching.


 La Carte

Mixed Soft Pastels

After attending a meeting of Central PA pastel Society this afternoon, decided to try something different for change. I'm planning to paint a famous Rockville bridge just few miles away from our home. So I did some sketches and played with the colors. I was mostly accented on landscape, and no so much on the bridge this time. So, here is a first try. 



And another sketch of the same thing, this time in OPs.



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