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My check came yesterday. Kitten deposited it today. I just did my Blick order after paying off what I owe the household for a month's expenses.

Wow wow wow.

This time I did it. I got the largest sets available in all the remaining brands of oil pastels Blick has, did the Big Sweep. I wavered a few times in the past couple of days on doing that because I was seriously tempted to drop some of them and get the full range set of Neopastels and/or several colors of Colourfix primer. I finally decided that I'd do better with a full on watercolor underpainting for the Cougar commission, studied the 48 color Neopastels set and decided that did have everything I need in it.

Especially since Neopastels blend so well I'd have stood some chance of getting it right just using the twelve in my pocket set. I'd be wearing them down to little nubs to do it but I could have done it with twice the work. Everything I really need for the Cougar is in the 48 set... and so I didn't skip getting the Holbein Academic set or the Cray-Pas Expressionists or the numerous adult and kiddie sets available in their largest range so that when I begin my lightfastness testing, I'll have all the colors.

There are some brands I won't have all the colors. I do have a friend online whom I might be able to persuade to make up test strips for me with the remaining 125 colors of Holbein artist grade pastels, the remaining Sennelier colors (unless I get them in open stock in March or April), the remaining Neopastel and Van Gogh colors.

Van Gogh is available in open stock in 88 colors. They cost more in open stock than in the set. So I have 48 coming but will be buying 40 open stock colors before the magic Start of Lightfastness Testing date comes. Neopastels has 48 more colors -- it's too bad they don't have two 48 color sets, Original and Adjunct, so you can get 96 without getting them all in one go, in separate tins. They don't work that way though, so the other 48 may wind up living in a cheap two or three drawer wooden pastels box for studio use.

Or since they're favorites I'll do what I did with Erengi and pick up the giant set as well as the good size one and actually use both depending on project and space available.

What this order means is that the Reviews section on oil pastels will be nearly full by the end of the month. I have eleven sets coming that I have not reviewed those brands, plus one brand I had already but haven't gotten around to reviewing. So that's twelve more reviews.

I also picked up a set of Clay Shapers. These are extra firm Colour Shapers, a darker gray, recommended by several professional oil pastelists for the usual color mixing and moving colors around and cleaning up edges that I've been doing with one Size 2 "Firm" Colour Shaper. They're the same size as that one but the set has four different shapes besides Flat Chisel, so now I'll be able to get a better idea which shapes are good for which effects.

Then later on get the rest of the size 6 soft ones for soft pastels or not depending on how those shapes work for soft pastels -- Colour Shapers are useful for both but the white Soft ones are best for powdery soft pastels.

I might or might not buy the additional 40 Van Gogh colors depending on whether my friend does though, if he's willing to make up sample strips then 48 is probably enough for sketchbook use and underlayers. These are lightfast good student grade, hopefully once I do the testing we'll be able to establish just how good in terms of lightfastness.

I did also manage to squeeze in another 4" x 6" ProArt spiral bound sketchbook. Notice all the stone studies, tree studies and so on that are on white paper? I've almost filled the third of those and needed a new one bad -- I would be out of pages by the end of the month if I hadn't gotten that sketchbook in there. I will be trying to use larger ones for some things and I know the letter size one is great for doing videos since it can be seen easier. But those little ones are what I can sketch in on bad days when I'm just not up to doing something larger. The page looks complete with one sketch on it, unlike a page in the letter size one.

I have neglected everything Soft Pastels this month, fallen behind on my classes on WetCanvas.com -- Still Life the Colourful Way just ended officially today and is unstickied but will be kept open for us late-project folks to try to catch up. So I will be working on soft pastels next month, want to finish those two and a half class projects before letting go of that class and then plunge into Cat/Wombat again.

I have a lot to do during February and it's a short month.

I have no budget left in February, there won't be any cheap chocolates splurge this year. But it is worth it. I've gotten past the biggest hump in buying the oil pastels I need to do the official lightfastness testing and so will actually have the test materials by the time I start the tests. Start date is either April 15th (optimum) or one month later on May 15th or so if I need to do one more buy on my May check in order to have everything. If my friend can come through with some test swatches of artist grade ones I don't have, that cuts back a lot on what I need to get by the start and it's more likely I can do it starting April 15th.

As for savings, I won't be getting a Pratchett until I pay up the $120 that I owe myself, up from $70 that I owed from last month. It's rough but not impossible, we'll see what happens when the commission money comes in (not rough at all with that) and I essentially borrowed from me again to do this monster order and wipe out all the necessaries from Blick. It means next month I don't even need to do Blick, but could go to ASW instead and to www.artsupplywarehouse.com for a 48 color set of Maimeri Classico -- definitely important as I'm beginning to think those are Artist Grade.

We'll know for sure in Spring of 2010 but I got some literature about the Maimeri Classico from ArmadilloArt, the sole USA distributor for Maimeri Classico, and it's looking good for lightfastness, pigment composition documentation, pigment saturation. Texture seemed a bit firm but that may not be a bad thing -- a range of textures from firm to soft gets better effects than just one brand.

So in a week I will have oil pastels stacked up all over and need to rearrange my shelves again. Won't that be a hoot? lol

Hee hee, beautiful Caran d'Ache Neopastels go on top 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!


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)
(Commenting on LJ so you know it's real--I'd imagine an email from someone who doesn't usually email you saying "you've got a virus" would look pretty suspicious.)

Anyways, I think your computer might be infected by a virus. I just got a definite spam email from your name (standard "check out this link" with lots of misspellings). I'd need to open it to check out the actual return address, which I can't do safely on this machine.

I'm checking to see if it's actually a problem with my system, but thought I should let you know in the meantime...
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:26 am (UTC)
No, my great apologies. I got one and thought it was a social network invitation from someone I knew. It was a social network invitation from a bimbo selling the usual low quality efforts and I wound up accidentally connecting to "anyone I knew on this network" which turned out to send it to any number of addresses in my gmail. It is spam. I hit a key accidentally as I was trying to find my friend's real name.

I wound up unsubscribing the service. It's not a good social network and it's got too much spam involved, anything that could trick me into sending spam as part of its policies is not a Facebook or Twitter thing that I could actually use for anything.

HUGE apology. But at least I know it's not a virus.

Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
OK, thanks for letting me know. It's not a problem at all. In fact, it was rather welcome--I need to run antivirus more often anyways, and it was a timely reminder. :)
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:32 am (UTC)
I have Norton running itself frequently on my computer and so I haven't tried running it manually or anything. Kitten set it up and I haven't had problems. But this thing really shook me. I am not a spammer and would not be issuing blanket invitations to anything, not even the ones that are semi-respectable like Myspace. Ugh. I feel like I need to wash my keyboard out with virtual soap.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:37 am (UTC)
I run ClamXav usually, which is pretty good for a free program on OSX. I need to get a more sophisticated setup, though--I've been getting complacent being on a Mac. I used to have Norton, but it would hijack the system and slow everything down... and then it wouldn't stop harassing me when it expired. Nor would it delete itself. (Secure Shredder to the rescue!)

Then again, I'm thinking of moving over to Ubuntu anyways. Far as I know, nobody's written anything effective for that. Besides, I love free software.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)
I think it works differently on a PC. I've had no trouble with Norton. I've never heard of any of the rest, but then I also haven't been looking for freeware.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:51 am (UTC)
It does, although it can also be intrusive and deletion-resistant if it's not set to update regularly. I had it on my Windows XP machine.

Download.com is a good source; so are various geek forums--just google "free [whatever you want] [OS]" and they'll usually be in the top results.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
I do have it set to update frequently. I haven't ever tried to take it off or look for freebies.

I get lost on the geek forums and started being a little less enchanted with seeking free software when I found out how most of it demands a far greater understanding of geekness than I have. And willingness to learn more coding than I have time for. I'm not good at it, don't make it a hobby, and have backed off to stick with what works and is reliable without much learning curve.

I may get OpenOffice sometime but hesitate on that since I haven't got much hard drive space left.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:59 am (UTC)
I used to use OpenOffice. It's not bad, but it takes some getting used to, and doing some things is not intuitive. Hopefully they've made it a bit more user-friendly in the past few years.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 07:03 am (UTC)
That's just it -- even Word isn't that intuitive. It was worse when I tried to use WordPerfect years ago.

I don't like having a lot of complicated features that I can't turn off easily, like the auto spell check -- that drove me insane. It is a supreme distraction while I'm trying to write. It will flag any character name and demand I stop what I'm doing, break the flow to put it in the dictionary. So I stick with RoughDraft, which is freeware and much more writer-friendly since it was created for writers.

Search on RoughDraft and it's easy to find the download site. It is actually intuitive. So is Arachnophilia, the only HTML pagemaker I was ever able to master. lol
Feb. 2nd, 2009 07:18 am (UTC)
I hate Word, but I hadn't heard of viable alternatives. I'll need to look that up. :) Same for Arachnophilia--I've hated every WYSIWYG program I've ever used so badly that I usually just wind up coding html by hand, which makes designing anything completely suck. Thanks!
Feb. 2nd, 2009 07:22 am (UTC)
That was what I liked about Arachnophilia, it was WYSIWG -- I have to be able to see what I'm doing or it's no good, and I don't remember code so I need to be able to just choose effects.

RoughDraft is a joy to use. Its only gap is not doing DOC format, only RTF.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
Oh, and Ubuntu's a Linux distribution. Very user-friendly free operating system. Secure Shredder is a free program that completely destroys files you want deleted.
Feb. 2nd, 2009 07:05 am (UTC)
Oh! Right, no wonder I hadn't heard of it. I haven't had a linux computer for a long time. Might do one again someday. That's different, if it's Linux then I can usually find a missionary geek willing to help me set things up. Also they seem to make Linux applications more user friendly at every round.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


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