Friday, November 13, 2009

Quickie Pan Pastel

I'd ordered some of the fairly new pan pastels and they arrived late yesterday afternoon. I wish our delivery people would come earlier in the day because all the companies seem to arrive about the time I have to start dinner, feed the critters and do the barn chores! No time to play with any new toys!

But, I managed to paint the attached and it only took a few minutes! The most time-consuming part of of the experience was unscrewing all the colors so I could see what I had!

Anyway, I know this isn't great art (just look at that crooked horizon!) - it's all free-hand (from a photo from Morgue File, btw) and it's on a scrap piece of cheap watercolor paper! There's not much layering on this because of the time factor but I can tell that they will layer beautifully.

So, what do I think about the pan pastels?

I really, really like them. I'm someone who hates the feel of pastel on my hands and have even had some cracking of the skin on my hands when I've used soft pastels in the past. I don't like working in gloves so the pastel pencils and these pan pastels are perfect for me!

I got the portrait set because it seemed to have the colors that I thought I'd use most for pet portraits. I added a single black because the portrait set didn't have black in it but I think I could have done without it. There's a dark umber and a very dark blue that I think would mix a good black. However, I was going by experience and past advice about not really being able to mix colors in pastel so was trying to get the exact colors I thought I'd need.

I was really impressed with the smooth lay down of color and with how far the colors go on the support. I got a really good collection of the Softt tools and sponges with my set and I like the way they work. I've heard that detail isn't possible with the pans but I'd think you would be able to get quite a bit of detail with these tools and some improvision (I think the Style Stix would even work to put color down precisely). But, even with regular soft pastels, you still need the pastel pencils at times for detail.

I was also impressed about how well the pastel clung to the paper and how little dust is produced when working with them. While I admit that I didn't have the tooth of the paper completely filled, I was still delighted to find that what I did have didn't fall off when the back was thumped hard!

I'm anxious to try these on the proper support and with a more detailed subject but I have to go out today to help a client find a frame (yaaaaay! more art stores and she's buying lunch!) and I'm nearly finished with the commission I spoke of in another post so want to complete that.

BTW, I tried Teresa's advice for getting motivated to paint and it does help! (see the comments under the Painter's Funk post). Of course, new art supplies work wonders too! lol


sue said...

I was going to ask what Pan Pastels are but decided not to be so lazy ... I Googled them and also found a couple of demo videos. You are so lucky in the US with regards to prices/ranges of art materials available to you :o)

I've found two UK suppliers both of whom charge £5.50 per colour (plus delivery) ... so until the price comes down a little I don't think I'll be trying these unfortunately!

Look forward to seeing your next experiments with them

Teresa said...

Glad you're making art again.... Woo Hoo!!

The pan pastels sound really interesting. I love the immediacy, saturation and ease of application that stick pastels offer... but I hate the dust. Ick.

I'll keep the pans in mind... sounds like fun.

Jan said...

Wow, Sue! I did the exchange difference between the $ and the pound and it would apprear that you'd pay almost twice as much as we do! Would it be possible to order them from the US or would the shipping make it just as costly?

Teresa, still not making much art but more enthused about it now. Just spent the day in Apex with my customer and another lady who's a mutual friend & I'm exhausted! I hope we get to go to Art in the Carolinas sponsored by Jerry's Artarama tomorrow. I really, really wanted to take the animals in pastel class which was this evening at 5 but I already had the commitment to go frame shopping so ----. Anyway, do you ever go to Jerry's to the trade show? You'd probably like it.

sue said...

I think the shipping/customs cost would wipe out the savings. My last visit to the USA was 2 years ago (trip to Las Vegas/Grand Canyon for hubby's 60th) and I made a trip to the LV Blick store to stock up on coloured pencils. Maybe we'll have to make a return visit and hand carry the pastels back :o)

Jan said...

Bummer, Sue! These pan pastels stack together so that they don't take up a lot of room. They're supposed to be about equal to one regular soft pastel stick so they shouldn't take up much room in your suitcase!

Teresa, they're nearly dustless so I think you'd like them also. I'm with you on the mess of regular soft pastels!

Jan said...

Whoops, that's supposed to be that each pan of pastel is equal to about 2 regular sticks of soft pastel!

sue said...

OK .... they're on the Wish List then !! :o)