Every pastel painter has preferred brands for each stage of the painting process - different brands for different purposes.
Some pastel brands make soft pastel sticks. Others make hard sticks. Both types are used for different reasons. Soft pastels are good for making broad marks. Hard pastels are good for doing details.
The Variety of Pastel Supplies
In my adopted home Indonesia, the selection of art supplies is limited. Actually, that's not universally true. Both oil and watercolor painters have a pretty big selection, but pastel painters don't.
To clarify, in oil painting, I can achieve different effects in a painting by changing brushes. But in pastel painting, I achieve different effects by using different brands of pastels - or even different pastel tools, such as sticks vs pencils.
Not only do the pastels themselves differ, but painting surfaces for pastels vary as well. Pastel surfaces need to have tooth to grab the pigment the painter lays down, regardless of what kind of pastels are used.
Pastel painters often prefer one brand of pastel surface over others - personal preference.
When I started with pastels, I didn't realize how many supplies would be important to have and try. But pastel teachers explained why they chose particular brands in their pastel tutorials. And of course, I wanted more pastel supplies.
I soon realized that the quality of my paintings would be restricted based on what I was able to acquire in Indonesia.
Amazon and a Trip to Chicago
Well, I was planning a trip to the Chicago area at some point during the year. So I began ordering pastel supplies to have shipped to my brother's house and decided to make the trip sooner rather than later.
Here is the problem I faced. I wasn't sure which brands would be my preferences. I wouldn't know that until I returned home and actually started using the products. What to do?
Most teachers had suggested buying a small supply of each brand in order to figure out which ones I'd like best. Doing that wasn't possible for me because of my overseas residence. And who knew when I'd make another trip to Chicao - or elsewhere in the U.S.?
You might be thinking that I could order supplies and have them shipped to me. That's true but comes with problems. Shipping products to Indonesia -
- is very expensive
- takes a very long time
- can be delayed in customs
I could accept the expense, but I'm a very impatient person. So the second and third problems were unacceptable to me.
As a result, I decided to invest a lot of money into something that might end up making me some money. If I couldn't make some money, at least pastel painting would be a great hobby instead.
I ordered just about all the products that my various teachers recommended. Keep in mind that each teacher had different recommendations.
I saw the validity of each teacher's advice, so I went crazy. I stopped ordering when I became afraid that I'd have more than what would fit into my two suitcases.
I'm now sitting at my brother's house with both suitcases full of precious treasures. And I've accepted that if I don't make money with my painting, that's okay. I'll have a wonderful hobby that I love.