Schmincke Finest Extra-Soft Pastels contain only the purest medium-fine ground artists’ pigments in the highest possible concentration with just enough binding agent added to allow a stick to be formed. Extruders squeeze the pre-kneaded pigment-and-binder dough into long rolls, which are then detached by hand and cut with a wire. The damp sticks then have to dry for around eight days. Because they are so soft they then must be labelled and packed by hand. Having so much of the process done by hand is costly and time consuming, but it is the only way to get the soft, smooth consistency of pastel that Schmincke are famous for.
The complete range of Schmincke Soft Pastels includes 400 colours divided into 75 colours with 5 tints each. This balanced range is supplemented by a 10-step neutral grey series, 5 dark shades, gold, silver, 2 black shades, white and 5 special pearlescent shades for specific effects.
Each pastel is wrapped in an information sheet that denotes its colour name, number and graduation of tint:
B – the black graduation
D – the pure colour
H – the darkest white graduation
M – the medium white graduation
O – the lightest white graduation
Pastel Painting – Bunch of Roses
In this feature we follow Claudia Möller from the Schmincke Lab as she creates a pastel painting using Schmincke Soft Pastels. She first creates a dark ground by painting card with acrylic and then paints clear primer on top to give it the tooth needed for pastel painting. Then, using soft pastels and a white pastel pencil she creates a lovely painting of fully open pink roses.
Materials that Claudia uses:
• A photo reference of roses
• A card surface for a painting ground
• Schmincke Primacryl acrylic in Translucent Violet
• Transparent primer
• Wide hair brush or small paint roller
• Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel pencil in white (be sure to use a pastel pencil, not a wax or oil-based coloured pencil)
• Schmincke finest extra-soft pastels colours: White 001, Permanent yellow 1 lemon 002, Titanium yellow 007, Ochre light 013, Gold ochre 014, Pozzuoli earth 021, Olive ochre light 028, Olive ochre deep 029, Vandyke brown 036, Walnut brown 038, Permanent red 3 deep 044, Madder lake 045, Carmine red 046, Rose madder 047, Leaf green 1 072, May green 077, Neutral grey 098; all pastels preferably as pure colour (D) as well as in one white graduation (H, M or O).
• Pastel Fixative Spray
Important to remember: Pastel paintings always remain sensitive, therefore they should be treated with a fixative after finishing or be framed behind glass. To create an even coating of fixative protection you should spray from left to right and top to bottom from about 30 cm distance, continue the spray past the edges. The best protection with the least alteration of appearance is achieved by applying many thin layers rather than one heavy coat. Be aware when using fixative that the intensity of colour might slightly be increased but the white highlights may be lessened and need to be touched up afterwards.
Click on the underlined link to go to the current offers on the Schmincke Soft Pastels on the Jackson’s Art Supplies website.
Postage on orders shipped standard to mainland UK addresses is free for orders of £39 or more.
Image at the top is a pastel painting created by Claudia Möller from the Schmincke Lab.