So my wonderful Aunt who inspires me insanely and has since I was small has recently asked me about the pastels I use, that I like and my experience with them. After writing a massively long email, I was bummed when it deleted unexpectedly. I was going to write it again but have been recently thinking about this new blog and wanting to add some common weekly posts. A fellow friend and blogger does this and I love it, my favorite posts of hers “mama mondays’. I have decided to start up Feature Friday’s where I feature great talent that inspires me and have been trying to think of something clever for tips on art supplies techniques.. So I think Pastels are the first on the list of this.
Tuesday Tips…? Not as clever as I hoped but maybe it will do for now..
So lets get started
Hmm pastels.. this is my opinion and anyone can disagree or add to the conversation, this is just my own personal experience. I use oil pastels a lot in my art, mixing them with paint, thinning them out, blending smudging, accenting or just creating free flowing line with a different texture within a painting. Pastels can vary in their quality, from excellent ( smooth and buttery that glide across the page and blend perfectly), to a really crappy made pastel that is hard, almost like a crayon that doesn’t glide or blend as easily but creates a different, finer line with a different texture and then there is everything in between. I personally am not particular to any type of pastel. I like them all b/c for me they all have different ways they are used based on their softness and hardness. You can buy pastels from the dollar store, to Walmart, to art stores like deserres or curry’s and in my opinion it is worth trying them all. I mix my qualities, some 4 or 5$ a stick or some 5-100$ a pack. Three professional quality brands of oil pastel are Sennelier, Holbein, and Garich. Mungyo & VanGogh are student quality brands but surprisingly decent products. They glide nice, a medium softness and blend surprisingly well and they are relatively cheap about $10 – 15 for a pack of 25 – 40 different colours. But I do have a certain softness in my heart to a really well made pastel, with true pigments and high quality everything. if you have tried a really amazing quality pastel (easy to spot, usually sold individually, for a few dollars each) oh you will never go back. If you are looking for buttery softness and an amazing blend, these are worth it all the way. I tend to only buy certain colours of these, more for highlights and colours I want to have really beautiful vibrancy within a piece. Rembrants are incredible and $$$ but they’re a chalk pastel, we’ll talk about those another day.
Tuesday Tip: TRY THEM ALL!!! I experiment and buy different kinds all the time and you only learn by doing, trying!! See what’s best for you. Try different ones Use them any way you can think of. Turpentine waters them down and you can make them a liquid on paper. Lay 2 colours beside each other and smudge the middle to create a perfect blend. Layer them on top of each other. They can become a palatable mixture (and the more they are worked and heat up the creamier they get) or can use as a single stroke to create broken lines. Commonly layering is used with oil pastels but I mix them with my paints, use them as overlays, highlights or defining lines. There are no rules, so throw out any ideas you did have about them and get working!
One important thing to know is that oil pastels don’t ever dry so they need to be sprayed with a fixative, can be found at any art store, Krylon makes a good product and offers UV protection so that your colours don’t fade and fixative doesn’t over time, yellow.