Soft Pastels, Oil Based Pastels or Water-soluble Pastels YOUR Preference?
Vincent Van Gogh once wrote that he would rather ‘die of passion than die of boredom.’
Indeed, expressing oneself artistically can be among the best ways to embrace passion. For over a decade we have helped beginners, intermediate and professional artists succeed in expressing themselves through the art of pastel.
All pastels give the creator a bold, vibrant medium to work with that cannot be compared to any other medium. Over and over again we have heard pastels being referred to as many things; crayons, chalk sticks and the likes. So we just want to shed a little clarity on what pastels are. If you are new to the art world figuring out whether or not you want soft, hard, oil or water-soluble pastels is something that requires a little bit of exploration but put in a nut shell:
SOFT PASTELS; look like coloured chalk sticks but are a lot more vibrant in colour, and the colour selections available are intense. Traditionally soft pastels are shapely round sticks but they do come in square and flat disc like palettes; Pan pastels. The best way to tell a cheap pastel from an artist quality one is to see how crumbly it is. If the pastel stick is very soft and crumbles fairly easily this lets you know that not much binder (glue) has been used when making the pastel; if a lot of binder has been used the pastel tends to hold its shape very very well. This is seen in a lot of student and classroom pastels. In saying this you can also get artist quality HARD PASTELS that look like budget pastels but they are made for artists. They are generally square and again more binder has been used to hold the pigments together but the pigment strength is super concentrated and a lot more pure. Hard Pastels are great to use when you want bold, strong strokes of colour, a lot more hand pressure can be used unlike when using the soft pastels. Your choice of pastel is really a personal preference, there is really no right or wrong way to use them as long as you are enjoying the creative outcome and process.
All soft and hard pastels blend beautifully on top of one and other due to their powdery make up, pastel blending tools, paper stumps, kneadable and battery operated erasers go hand in hand when working with soft pastels oh, and lets not forget pastel paper and fixative. A great fixative lets you either finalise the artwork with a spray so it doesn’t smudge as much or works as a layer so that you can draw back over your existing artwork without ruining the layer underneath.
OIL PASTELS; These are generally round sticks that look more like a kids crayon. Most peoples first introduction to oil pastels is when they are children. Can you remember drawing with a white pastel on a piece of cartridge paper and then doing a watercolour wash over the top with paint to reveal the artwork underneath? Oil based pastels are thick and very bold in colour, great for working with on their own or with mixed media pieces. Oil pastels don’t blend very well together they need to be blended with some turpentine, citrus-based medium or ordouless solvent. In saying this you can get WATER-SOLUBLE pastels that look like oil pastels but they are different. These can be manipulated with water and applied to cardstock, paper or canvas. These are great for watercolour painterly washes as watercolour pencils and paints can be used alongside them.
On top of the hundreds of pastel related products we offer you can explore the art of pastels first hand with one of our art classes or workshops. Through out the year we have many professional artists working with us in the studios. So if you are still unsure of your pastel preference or just want to pick up a new technique or two from a professional then we will have a class for you and when checking them out don’t forget our artist VIP membership for all your art supplies and for some good arty karma.
Be like Van Gogh and choose passion over boredom with our amazing selection of pastels. Whether you enjoy drawing with soft pastels, drawing with oil pastels or painting with waterbased pastels, we have the soft pastel brands and the oil pastel brands that you can trust to provide the top quality used by beginners, intermediate and professional artists alike.
"When it comes to artistic inspiration, Artworx is your one stop shop!"
All our staff members are experienced artists that work with a variety of mediums so we are proud to offer the largest professional art supply store and studio space in Victoria, Australia. We have spent the last ten years testing and developing a huge range of art supplies in our studio and can now offer them to you both in store and online.
Artworx Art Supplies 122 Ryrie Street Geelong, VIC 3220
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From its humble beginnings, Artworx Geelong now boasts over 20,000 items in store and online and our extensive range doesn't stop there. If you are looking for something in particular and are having trouble finding it please contact an Artworx Geelong representaive as we are happy to find it for you.
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