There are numerous books that I could recommend on working with pastels, but experience is the best teacher. Alot depends on the hardness or softness of the pastels, pencils vs. sticks, combination of the two, and of course the paper and texture you are working on. I am still experimenting with mine on different surfaces - that is where the fun results come in! There are a lot of fantastic pastellists here on the forums, and I subscribe to the Pastel Journal magazine which has excellent articles on this media.
Are you near a local art group? I would suggest taking a workshop or class or find a group of artists to hang around with and learn from. I work with several wonderful pastelists on Saturdays at our local art society and we exchange critiques and ideas alot. Enjoy learning and remember to post your work in this forum - looking forward to seeing it!
I just joined artist daily and my first two uploaded paintings are pastels. I started with pastels, sort-of not on purpose. It was the only last minute class I could get at my local art center. Now I have a fondness and respect for pastels that I didn't expect I would have. They are just as vibrant and colorful as any oil paint, they just behave differently. I'm not sure why pastels do not get more respect in the art world. Happy, happy pastel painting everyone.
Hi I am new to this site and am very excited, I live in Australia and just love the whole idea of artists in touch with each other. Its very sad but I have to paint in my lounge room, no studio as yet, but my pastels are out and so am I now...
Wow Tom-so Organized!
I am new to this site. I am looking forward to be learning from other artists to be able to show my work of art. :)
I like your kitty picture.
I saw all of your materials, wow what a collection. can you please tell me what brand pastels to buy for a first timer. I read in Artist daily to not go too soft or hard but to get medium and to not go with starter sets. They advised to get 12 colors and a light and dark of each of these colors. What do you think. I have looked on e-bay ect and dont know which are garbage and which are worth the money.
If you dont mind can you please advise thanks a lot.
I hope you'll forgive me for jumping in. Here is my humble opinion on the subject ....
I had the best luck with Rembrandt brand soft pastels for my first ones. I recommend getting more than 12, as many as you can afford, a set of 90 half sticks- general selection (not portrait or landscape colors) really worked well for me. Online is the best place to buy, www.dickblick.com, www.jerrysartarama.com. Sometimes you can find a large set of Rembrandt pastels at Michaels or A.C. Moore, and if you have a 50% coupon from one of those stores, then it is affordable. If you sign up for A.C. Moore's newsletter online, you can print one of their weekly coupons.
I also recommend Canson pastel paper. Make sure you paint on the smooth side of the paper. The rough side shows a lot of texture, unless that is the look you are going for. You can find the smooth side by feeling it and by marking a bit with some pastel in the corner of the paper. Get a pad of assorted colors. Pick the size you are most comfortable working with. Ooh, and artist tape (make sure it's artist tape) to hold the paper down. A drawing board is nice, but I've used a large piece of clean recycled stiff cardboard as a drawing board. And last bit of advice, if you like to draw your image first, use real vine charcoal. Medium hardness is a good start, but you can buy a variety pack too. Draw lightly and the pastel will cover any charcoal you put on the paper. Kneaded erasers can be used to erase mistakes with the charcoal but not pastel. Sometimes a clean, dry, paint brush can sweep away some mistakes made with pastel.
Angle the easel toward you so that the pastel dust will fall off the paper and not down it. It is also nice to place a piece of paper towel under the drawing support, on the easel to catch any pastel dust. This stuff will get on anything you place on the easel after you are done. Do not blow on the painting with your mouth or breath in the dust. Instead when you are done, take the board and bang it on your leg away from you. This with remove any unwanted dust. I keep my pastel work inside a large pad of tracing paper, between the sheets to protect it. I don't recommend spraying the work, it doesn't look right. Just keep it pure. I could go on and give you some advice on how to frame a pastel, but I think maybe I've said too much already.
Happy pastel painting!!!!
I was also going to recommend The Rembrandt if you can find some on sale. You may also want to try the Myungo Gallery semi hard pastels. Here is a link to them at Jerry's Artaama:
It's hard to go wrong with Nu pastel but depending on where you buy them they can be pricey.
See my gallery and blog here:
I have to tell you how much I appriecate you taking the time to give me so much great info. That was really very nice of you. Now I hope I don't lose your answer. I am relativley new to the site and just changed (the read only ) option. You did't not say too much that was great. I am a big coupon user also and have never purchased anything from Michaels or AC Moore with out one. there are so many sights that sell supplies it gets over whelming. So thanks for giving me those few. I see Blick supplies listed in American Artist Magazine so figured they were pricy. Again thank you so much.
I like your picture, I hope to become that good some day.
Perry, thank you also for all your info. you guys are all great, I love this site. I am now going to search some of the stores that you gave me.
Again thank you
Thanks so much for this info. I was just scanning the articles. I'm new to pastel too and can use all the help that I can get. You will probably think some of my questions are crazy but that's how it is with newbies. I have done some watercolor, colored pencil, graphite and charcoal in the past. i now have time to paint full time so i'm thrilled!!! However, having the time means not having as much money! LOL!!! I bought a set of Nupastels (96 colors) and have canson paper, a sheet of Wallis paper and an illustration board to experiment with. I had started a colored pencil still life on the Wallis a few years ago and never finished it. I got it out yesterday and started playing with pastels on it and wow!!! Now I think I may finish it. When I do, I'll post it. Thanks again to all of you who take the time to post here.
so good to see that I am not the only one working with all sorts of different pastels
Just joined the Artist daily and am randomly reading from and about other artists. I have been working with pastels for about 20 years now and love the vibrant colors. I find it intruiging and challenging that one cannot easily "repair" a mistakeand am glad most folks don't see what I would consider flaws and oopses.
hi there barbara, i also love to work with pastels,
i liked your blog
you can check out my blog there is some pastels paintings and will be happy to read your comment
here is the link to my blog ; ronatalie.blogspot.com