In a way the “best” pastel does not and cannot exist! The leading artist quality brands we stock all have in common… to be completely different from one another! A little bit like choosing an H or a 6B pencil are going to give your drawing lines a very different look and the feel in you hand will be radically different too, every pastel maker will boast to have found the perfect softness but, in truth, variety is the spice of life!!
And so…. we stock 180 colours in the Sennelier Pastel “a l’écu” range of… 525 shades. They are very soft and crumbly pastels, we also have many of their lovely sets of full or half pastels and stock a limited range of large and giant ones (so big you think they will not even fit in your hand). We usually have in stock too some sets of Rembrandt pastels, a much harder one, and Schmincke sets in full and half sticks. In a different league, we also stock Conté’s pastel pencils…
- Conté’s pastel pencils 48 shades.I like these fat pencils! (apart from the fact you need their own Conté sharpener to do a good job…). As all Conté products, they are top quality and highly pigmented. They have a bit of a grit that allows to deposit just the right amount of pastel on your paper while, of course, being much more precise than the sticks.
- Rembrandt pastels are made from the purest pigments mixed with the finest quality kaolin. They are so soft that a large amount of colour is immediately released, and yet hard enough not to powder quickly. The very high colour intensity and purity ensure that each piece of work has a brilliant finish.
- Schmincke‘s extrasoft contain only the purest medium fine ground artists’ pigments, which are in the highest possible concentration with the binding agent content kept to a minimum. ‘Worm extruders’ form the pre-kneaded dough into round sticks, which are then detached by hand and cut in a wire strung frame. The damp sticks have to dry for around eight days before they can be labeled and packed by hand. This is a costly and time consuming process, however this is how Schmincke can guarantee homogeneous quality and smoothness in all the production cycle, and ensure the artist will find his favourite colour shade consistently. The complete assortment includes 400 colours classified in 80 rows with 5 colours each. The range contains also 5 additional pearl luster effect colours.
- Sennelier Pastel “a l’écu”We stock 180 colours which you can buy individually. We also have many of their lovely sets of full or half pastels and stock a limited range of large and giant ones!
Sennelier extra soft pastel is composed of high quality pure pigment grounded with a natural transparent binder. The high quality composition of “à l’écu” pastels is the result of a perfect balance between binder and pigment. For gradient shades, increasing amounts of mineral fines are added, ultimately tending towards white. The exceptional brightness is the result of the pigment and of the natural mineral fines discovered by Sennelier in 1905 and that have been used ever since. The manufacturing process of the Sennelier cylindrical pastel does not compress the paste and the pastel dries naturally in the open air. The life span of a piece of work is guaranteed by the quality of the pastel, but also by the quality of the substrate.
Pastel paintings will always remain sensitive. Therefore, they should only be treated with a special fixative – like the Schmincke or Sennelier fixative for pastels which we stock. If a lot of overlapping is performed, it is preferable to fix between layers too. Avoid, however, fixing the final layer too heavily, as the original vibration of tones will be lost.
We also stock a array of pastel paper from Colourfix and Canson (Tex Mi-teintes) and some Golden and Colourfix primer for you to prepare your own supports.