What Pastels Do You Use?

Pictured here is a full box of Terry Ludwig Vibrants (front and center), The Most Requested Violets (bottom center)  and a small glimpse of my pastel box at hand (upper left)

Often while I am out painting with my pastels, or while teaching a pastel workshop I am asked the question of what brand I prefer.  I have tried perhaps a dozen brands and have honed into my favorites, although with the popularity of this medium there are bound to be many more brands being created over time. I think brand selection, hardness to softness has a lot to do with one's personal style of working and mark-making. For me, I prefer the softer pastels for my technique because I have grown accustomed to their characteristics. Perhaps I am missing the boat on this one, but others like using the harder pastels for the preliminary stage of underpainting, blocking in, or setting values. For me, I just use a dispersed pigment of Createx, or perhaps I will use a quick, thin block-in of pastel and wash it down with OMS or Turpenoid

It only goes without saying that experience and experimentation are key to one's own personal style. Over time, I have gravitated to Terry Ludwig Pastels as my all time favorite brand. Let me mention that I am not getting paid to write this up, or getting any sort of kudos for mentioning this brand, as I am only giving my opinion here. The square shape is perfect for the way I work, often because they have a flat side for filling in color. Also these square shaped pastels have sharp, crisp corners that allow for more detailed line work for tree trunks, or other skinny marks. They are versatile as well as soft, but not too buttery, as well as the pigmentation is rich. There are a few other pastels that I prefer over others, but just as long as they are in the "soft" category of all things pastel. That would be the Unison and then the Sennelier brands. When students sign up for my workshops, I provide a supply list and offer up some pastel brands that will give the student a great start on working in pastel. It's when a student decides on getting a "student grade" of pastel, then they become frustrated with it's limitations. Trust me when I say that higher quality pastels will be more money, but you will get farther faster with them too. So give yourself permission and get the quality you deserve.

So before you sign off, I have to shout out a bit of shameless self-promotion here. If you have always wanted to get yourself off to a great start with pastels, or wish to gain more in-depth knowledge of the medium along with practical techniques and exercises, I have put together two pastel workshops in March and in May that are now on the calendar HERE. Hope you can come join me.

All for now,

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Nautilus Know-how, 6x6

"Nautilus Know-how" 6x6" Oil

I'm continuing my fetish with the 6x6" canvases as I seem to sell them almost a quickly as I paint them, which isn't such a bad deal. This one by far is my favorite because of the complexity of colors, although all of the 6x6"s continue to hold close to my heart. This time around I payed more attention to lost and found edges of the shell. Softening edges has always been a challenge while at the easel, but when it's done right it really adds so much more interest for the viewer. Setting the shell up upon a table, it was well below eye level, so I searched around the studio to find something available that could be used for the prop. A couple of books laying around would solve the height issue and these two had just the right hints of the same colors in the shell making them an instant "plus" for this piece. Hope you enjoy.   

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Workshop in May set!

It's not often that I teach a workshop because of my crazy and whacky schedule, but when I do I hope to offer a jam-packed, info-infused workshop experience. Listed on my website are two upcoming pastel workshops for the Spring season geared for the beginner to intermediate pastelist.  Pastel Punch! and Pastels Inside & Out offer about the same type of information, but the Inside & Out workshop offers a day of painting outdoors as well as everything possible about pastels, including a bit on properly framing this dusty medium. I love sharing what I know and what I have learned over the years as an artist...it's when we give our society that spirit of artistic resonance and continuity.  So if you have the desire, come sign up for one of these info packed sessions as I offer only a couple each year.  Oh, and I almost forgot! You can learn a lot about pastel painting at the Plein Air Convention and Expo in Monterey, CA this April.  There will be several sessions presented by world class pastelists such as Clark Mitchell, Jan Mcgraw-Teubner, Richard McKinley, Urania Christy Tarbet, and Lorenzo Chavez to name a few and as well, I have been asked to demonstrate a 1 hour pastel session on the Demo Stage (April 8th)
"Asilomar Overlook" 8x10" Pastel

Pastel Punch!  $325.00  March 22-24 in Springfield, OR
Pastels Inside & Out   $300.00   May 2-4th in St Johns, Portland, OR.

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Pending Pastel workshop schedule

Coffee Break, 10x8" Pastel  SOLD

Simple step by step on the basics and more with pastel.

Tomorrow I will be announcing the details and registration for a pastel workshop in the merry month of May in Portland, OR. Many of you who visit me on Facebook, here on my blog, or through email have expressed for more workshop opportunities. So, with that, I'll be confirming a date here soon.

While I'm on the subject of teaching pastel, there is still room in my Pastel Punch! Workshop at the Emerald Arts Center in Springfield, OR. in March. For details, click HERE.

Also, if you have plans to attend the Plein Air Convention and Expo in beautiful Monterey, CA., I will again be presenting on the Demo Stage at 12:45-1:45.  As a matter of fact, they will have an entire track on pastels and more pastels from some of the nation's best pastelists to teach, demonstrate and meet at this event. Hope you can come!

Hope you can join me!

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