For those of you that are familiar with our latest Materials Guide catalogue, you might already have spotted reviews by mixed media artist and demonstrator Robert Dutton. Previously having given his thoughts about the Amsterdam Acrylic range from Royal Talens and knowing that he also works in pastel we thought it would be useful to get his take on Royal Talens Rembrandt Soft Pastels.
“I frequently use Rembrandt Pastels in all my work, which includes mixed media painting as well as a wide variety of supports. Although Rembrandt Pastels are branded as a soft pastel, I would describe them realistically as a medium soft pastel as they are harder than many other brands such as Unison and Sennelier for example. As a medium pastel they are a lot more durable and so last longer – great news for pastellists who like to use a more ‘toothy’ pastel paper support or rough textured watercolour paper when working.
I personally find that the unique surface tooth of Canson Mi-Teintes Touch 350gsm pastel paper works exceptionally well with Rembrandt Pastels. There is never a disappointment when using both together for any subject.
Painting with soft pastel is a very unique experience since you will be both drawing and painting at the same time when expressing your personal creativity. In essence, dry colour is applied onto a receptive surface (one with tooth in order to hold the pastel) as if painting across the surface with pure pigment. Choices how to blend and mix pastel colours are as infinite and varied as there are pastels to choose from. Techniques varying from a blend with your fingers, cloth or tools such as a colour shaper are a personal choice.
Personally, I prefer my colours and tones to be blended by working the colours one into the other adding further excitement and visual effects in my work. For several years I had the joy of getting to know and work alongside one of the UK’s leading pastellists David Blackburn (OBE) from Huddersfield. David was an international artist of some considerable reputation with many leading dignitaries from all over the world collecting and buying his work for private, corporate and municipal collections.
David’s unique methods of blending pastels together involved both drawing and working one colour into another as I do, as well as rubbing and blending his unique palette together by using no other brand than Rembrandt! Because Rembrandt Pastels are medium/soft they do not overfill the tooth of the paper and so more layers of other pastels can easily be applied one over the other to blend colours more easily. Exciting and varied scumbled effects can also be achieved to give your pastel painting further visual interest.
The firmer texture of Rembrandt Pastels makes detail and precision far easier with their edges in comparison to very soft pastels. Fine lines are a real dream to create with Rembrandt Pastels and I love using them layer upon layer to create shimmering moorland tussock grasses for example, where fine lines are worked in different directions one over the other in rapid gestural movements – the results are outstanding every time!
I use different colours from the entire 225 range of Rembrandt Pastels frequently on their sides, to create many different colour tones throughout my work. By removing the wrappers and dragging the barrel of the pastels flat against the surface of my chosen pastel supports, lots of tantalising colours can quickly, efficiently and expressively be created.
Full sticks measure 2-3/4″ long x 7/16″ diameter (70mm x 11mm) so fit comfortably in the hand. They are paper wrapped, and are sold individually or in sets. The paper both protects the pastels and clearly numbers them but to get the very best out of the pastels, to create as many mark making techniques as possible I advocate the removal of the wrappers as soon as possible. The good news is, this can be done very easily and with very little effort. Once removed the pastels do not fall apart, shatter or fracture unlike many other pastel brands.
The numbering system makes it very simple to re-order pastels and to add to your range by extending the numbers that you order. The medium softness of Rembrandt Pastels makes them last much longer than many other pastel brands, but without sacrificing quality.
Because Rembrandt Pastels are made from the purest pigments the colours are bright and consistent when re-ordering and because they are mixed with the finest quality kaolin clay binder they hold together beautifully. No pigments chosen by Royal Talens to create this excellent professional pastel contain any heavy metals such as cadmium, lead or cobalt, so you can use them with total confidence in the hand. Through a strict selection of pigments used, the lightfastness and composition of Rembrandt Pastels is continually guaranteed.
Whichever colour or mixed shade you are looking for, Rembrandt Pastels are sure to have it! With 42 pure colours (full tones, no tint) 40 intermediate shades going towards a darker range to include pigmentations of black and 121 shades grading towards white, there’s plenty to use on their own, even before you begin to mix them.
For artists new to pastels, I personally think Rembrandt Pastels are a great choice. They are really economical to buy in both single sticks or useful and carefully selected sets housed in well crafted dark wooden boxes, but the fact that the pastels are so easy to use and are long lasting is a major attraction for any artist.”
About the artist:
Robert Dutton is an International award winning professional artist having been painting for over 30 years. He teaches a wide variety of very popular expressive painting techniques to students of mixed levels of ability at a wide variety of residential art holidays throughout the UK and abroad in Spain. He is a regular contributor to ‘The Artist’ magazine, a UK Canson Ambassador and represents many leading art brands in the UK and also Nitram Charcoal in Canada. For further information about Robert’s tuition and to learn more about his techniques and see his award winning work visit www.rdcreative.co.uk
To see Robert in action painting visit http://rdcreative.co.uk/film
Click on the underlined link to see Rembrandt Soft Pastels on Jackson’s Art Website.
Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £39.