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Art Spectrum pastels


2 Cherries
5" x 7"
Art Spectrum pastels on Leaf Green Dark Art Spectrum Colourfix sanded pastel paper. Photo reference is mine, also posted for the December Pastel Strokes event on WetCanvas.com.

Under the LJ-cut is a product review of Art Spectrum pastels.


I dithered over these pastels all summer, weighing whether to snap up a ludicrous bargain on clearance or whether I really needed another pastels set. Now I'm so glad that I bought them. Literally got them at the last minute, ASW ran out of the set one day after I ordered mine. I got the 60 color Pure Tones set (old version) for $84.99 and shipping, when the 30 color sets are going for $82.99 -- itself a bargain compared to list price on them. Retail on the set was $279 so this became one of the biggest bargains I've ever found in art supplies.

I had no idea what the colors were. Just knew that I wanted to try Art Spectrum someday and that a Pure Tones set would have plenty of good mixing colors, single pigment sticks. Wow. I love the colors. I'm sure all 49 of the Pure Tones that are in this box are still included in the newer one they have, along with some colors that they've come out with more recently.

To my happy surprise, some of the Pure Tones colors are exact matches for Colourfix primer or paper. They must do a lot of single-pigment primer colors, because I found match after match especially in the medium and dark colors. Loads of fun and amusing when I did the color chart to find its matching pastel didn't even show except as a change of texture.

Art Spectrum pastels have a medium-soft texture very close to Rembrandt, but a little grittier for better adhesion to non-sanded pastel papers. They're heavy, sturdy, round and pigment-rich. All of the colors are non toxic pigments, so I don't have to take as much care with this set as with some of the Rembrandts that use heavy metal pigments.

They blend well and have a pleasing texture. Medium soft pastels are versatile. They can be used by themselves as in this painting, or they can be used with harder pastels and softer pastels. If you want more layers, you can start with something like Polychromos, color Conte sticks or NuPastels on the first layers, then go to Art Spectrum, Rembrandt or Yarka for middle layers, then finally add accents once the tooth is completely filled using Sennelier or Schminke super soft pastels.

A number of strong colors not present in my Rembrandt box turned up in this set, almost none of the colors are duplicates. In fact I'm not sure if there are any exact duplicates though I'll have to check. The set also included six of the Lightest Lights and six of the Darkest Darks to fill it out to 60 sticks, packed into two 30 color slotted-foam cardboard boxes that are pretty easy to handle. So if you already have lots of pastels, I'd recommend trying either Lightest Lights or Darkest Darks or one of the color scheme six-packs to try Art Spectrum. I was going to start with Summer Greens but I think I have most of them in this set.

They handle beautifully. They're medium dusty but not quite as messy as Sennelier. More about like the Rembrandts. Some sets come in wooden boxes including their full range set. So naturally I've got that wish listed now, these are fantastic pastels and the price is reasonable even when they're not on Clearance. Blick carries most of their current sets and the full range of the six-pack sets that are a good economical way to try Art Spectrum without investing in a lot of duplicate colors with what you already have.

There's also a new half-stick set of 20 that matches the exact colors of each of the Art Spectrum Colourfix papers, boards and primers. The matches are perfect. I found enough of them in Pure Tones to know they are -- so if you want to try these and like the papers, that half stick set can be very useful for a subtle effect of restoring areas that match the background color over other colors... like sky holes in a tree painted on Blue Haze where you've used the ground as sky-color.

I'm having loads of fun with these and can see that I'll be using them a lot. The range is perfect for the type of painting I do and almost leaves me thinking I may not need a larger set, considering how well they blend and that a lot of the full range would be tints of earth tones and so on.


Other than that, I've been fighting the weather since I finished Greenwood Home. It turned very cold and yesterday was my worst arthritis day of the entire year. At least I didn't get as many sick days during November though.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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