Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Colour Charts

This is an update on the original post, as I have added two more manufactureres and their colour charts to the original list posted in May 2012.

One of the most useful tools for a practising artist is a personal colour chart of all the pastels in his/her collection - leaving room for additions either by hue or tonal value.

The next most useful tool is a set of manufacturers' colour charts. These will allow you to see the full range of colours available, and also permit you to preselect pastel sticks before sending your hard-earned money into the ether.
Most manufacturers provide a colour chart online - either a pdf document or a set of jpeg images. Some makers will provide a printed chart, with or without an online version; the posher ones will do a handmade chart - at a price.
I am listing here the major pastel makers, with a web address for their colour chart pages. Apologies to any that I have still left out. You may email me for inclusion.

I missed out on Blue Earth pastels in the original post, so I am adding them here.
Blue Earth Pastels are available in 10 boxed sets, each consisting of 21 individual sticks, organized by hue, value and intensity. Six of the boxes represent the warm and cool side of the primary colors and three boxes are devoted to the secondary colors. Each contains the pure color hue represented in six values from light to dark and 12 grayed variations. The tenth box is composed of warm and cool grays, warm and cool whites, and black.
Here is the Blue Earth colour chart.

The website is and the pastels are available from Dakota Art Pastels.

Henri Roché Pastels provides ten magnificent charts provided on their website.

Pastels Henri ROCHÉ are currently available in 650 colours.
A colour chart is available as 10 jpeg images, as a pdf nuancier, or as a hand-made colour-chart of 648 nuances for 240 euros.

Sennelier Pastels, also French, are very soft and come in a range of 525 colours including the glitters. 
You may download a pdf chart at

Swiss manufacturers Caran d'Ache have just (April 2012) launched a range of pastel "cubes" (square sticks) and pencils in a range of 84 colours, to complement one another. The colour chart may be saved as a pdf at  

The very soft Schminke pastels of Germany likewise provide a pdf version of their selection at

Belgian manufacturer Blockx has 204 colors in individual sticks or assortments. Again a pdf is provided at

Dutch maker Rembrandt has a range of 214 colours - each colour enlarges on screen on mouseover, but you can download the chart at

Great American Art Works
are available in 468 colors. There are four charts presented as savable jpegs: Earth; Grey; Unique; Chromatics. The link is

Back to France. Pastels Girault has 300 colors, although they are aiming for a range of 526.
Currently these colours are graded by theme into four sets: Portrait, Landscape’ Flowers/Fruit, Background. Click on each colour to see it at sidebar - they cannot be downloaded. The whole website needs a makeover. It seems stuck in the same time warp as the French Pastel Society used to be before it escaped! Roché Pastels currently has the coolest website - it was designed by Antoine Leblond, son of pastellist Camille Leblond.

Artisan Pastellier in Albi, France: Didier Boinnard's shop is in the historic centre of the city, at 5 Rue Puech Berenguier.  His products are based on vegetable dyes, including Isatis tinctoria - woad, or pastel in French! 
You can buy packets of four for €13.90 to €15.00 depending on the colour range; one can of course buy larger sets of 10, 20, 40, or indeed the complete range of 50 colours. The sets are also available as portrait or landscape selections. The catalogue is available as a pdf download and the pastels are available via mail order on line.

Terry Ludwig
has a 515 colour pastel line. Only hand made charts are available at 40 dollars each - I don't know if that is per set, or for all 515. No charts are visible on line, so I have not given the web address - it is easy to find with a search engine.

Diane Townsend
has three lines of pastel - softform, terrages, and thin line. You can download a jpeg image of the collections - boxed sets, not a chart.
There are sets of all 120 Solid pure colors, 120 Light (L) and 120 Dark (D) variations of each color and 48 exotic colors set (10 fluorescent, 7 iridescent, 15 pearlescent and 16 metallic). That comes to 408 in total.
Go to and choose the line you want.

are a Japanese product. The 144 colour line is made using an entirely computerized process to ensure uniformity of both color and consistency. The medium soft consistency and the square shape are suitable for edge, lines and detail. You can buy a handmade colour chart for 15 dollars from suppliers such as Dakota. The Holbein website has a range of colour charts for their various products, and you can print off the chart you want. If you want to download the pastel chart you must right-click on the link and open the link in a new tab or window. Or just go directly to:

Mount Vision
has 347 colours with 3 duplicates added to make an even 350. Greg Biolchini chose the colors for the 50 Workshop set. It is an all-purpose set containing colors that mix well, with the selection weighted toward darker colors. The 25 Basic, Portrait and Landscape Add-on sets allow you to expand the Workshop 50 set with no duplication of colors! A handmade chart is available from supplier for 25 dollars.On the website the colurs are present as sets of 3 to six shades ( there are 11 greys) and these must be saved individually; you can also right click between the colours and choose the print option. Go to

Australian manufacturers
Artspectrum have a range of approximately 150 colours. The chart can be printed off the website, but not saved as am image, although again the individual colours can, if you have the patience.
The web address is
Note: the mis-spelling of "pastles" is a real error in the web address; use it as spelled, do not correct it.

Faber Castell
have a range of soft pastels, and pastel pencils, that complement each other. Colour charts are available as downloadable pdf files - you will nee Adobe Acrobat reader (or an alternative such as Nitro pdf reader.) THe 60 Pitt pastel pencils chart is at
The 120 Polychromos pastel sticks link is

Pan Pastels
are available in 20 pure colours, 20 tints, 20 shades, and 20 extra darks. Go to to d
ownload a pdf file. Or go directly to and miss a step.

charts are available from a number of websites. There are 96 colours in this range of square section firm sticks. You can download a blank chart in which to put your own colours from
If you want a pre-coloured chart there are several options:
and go to this link for the complete NuPastel colour chart as a downloadable GIF file:
or here as a pdf:
Or you can download a set of seven small images at

A hand-made chart for the Korean
Mungyo Gallery Artists semi-hard pastels has been posted on the WetCanvas forum on  Just scroll down the page until you find them. 
The Mungyo range includes extra-fine soft; soft; and semi-hard pastels (oil pastels too).  To download the most comprehensive colour chart ever, that encompasses the whole range, go to  

Derwent Pastels
36 square hard pastels chart:
For the pencils, go to  and click on the colour chart link at the bottom of the page.

Stabilo CarbOthello
pencils don't seem to have a chart that may be downloaded, but you can print this page if you right click and take the print option:

Finally, from the United Kingdom,
Unison Pastels.
There are nearly 400 colours ranging from subtle greys and earth colours to brilliant reds, blues, greens and yellows. The pastels are supplied in Mixed, Portrait and Landscape colours in boxes of 8, 18, 36 and 72 colours, but are also available individually.
The colour charts are available only on screen – they cannot be downloaded except, curiously, as individual colours – have fun! The best you can do is download the image of the half-stick set of 63, on
You can email the manufacturer for a printed version. Of course, you can always use the Prt Sc button on your PC and paste the image into Photoshop or some such program and save it as a jpeg. The result is not too bad - I can't post it here for copyright reasons; just be aware that Unison point out that the online colour is approximate, and of course it will depend on your PC's colour card and monitor.

Coffee #2

I took down an as yet unpainted brass jug from the shelf, teamed it up with an antique French coffee mill and a few Nespresso pods, and arranged this still life.
The first picture is the sketch to determine values and base colours, using only hard pastels (mostly pencils) and Clairefontaine Pastelmat.
The second picture is one of further development of the brass jug and some of the pods, moving to softer pastels - a mix of Rembrandt, Sennelier for the greens, and Schminke for the warm greys.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Artisan pastellier, Albi

Coffret paysage
Name: Artisan Pastellier
Narrative: Normally the posts on this blog are confined to artists' websites; but occasionally a related matter is included, and I want to draw your attention to a small pastel manufacturer in the town of Albi in the south of France. Didier Boinnard's shop is in the historic centre of the city, at 5 Rue Puech Berenguier.  His products are based on vegetable dyes, including Isatis tinctoria - woad, that give its name in French to the region "le pays de Cocagne" on which I have blogg
ed in an earlier post. This little shop also sells clothing, accessories and so on dyed with woad.
The web page is an eye-watering layout of desirable pastels, in little packets of four for €13.90 to €15.00 depending on the colour range; one can of course buy larger sets of 10, 20, 40, or indeed the complete range of 50 colours. The sets are also available as portrait or landscape selections - I especially like the latter, as it is produced in France with the local landscape firmly in mind. The catalogue is available as a pdf download and the pastels are available via mail order on line.

Les pastels tendres sont façonnés à la main, à base de pigments stables à la lumière, les couleurs végétales naturelles. . Ils ont une dimension idéale (diamètre de 14 mm, longueur 60 mm ) pour une bonne prise en main, une fragilité réduite et une grande longévité. Ils sont particulièrement tendres et veloutés.
Disponibles en coffrets de 4, 10 ou 20 pastels ou en coffret de 40 couleurs assorties.

Blog: The blog is of course in French: go to

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mortar and pestle cont.

I have the mortar and pestle nearing completion. There is still some detail to be refined, darks and contrasts to be enhanced. I put it into its probable frame to check it and I find the edge of the book on the left is too close to the frame. So I will probably bring it back a touch. The area under the shelf is clearly not dark enough - it should be at least as dark as the overall background. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mortar and pestle

Tony Curanaj paints still life in oil with extraordinary ability and a fine eye (and brush) for detail. His rendering of a Balkan pepper mill caught my eye; the ornate brass was rendered faithfully on a small canvas with the sort of hyper-realism that can only be achieved by oils or acrylics.
I have a brass apothecary's mortar and pestle that I picked up for eight euros at a brocante - and I have been waiting to paint it in a still life setting.
The picture on the left is the set-up that I chose to use. The book title will change to something in keeping with the subject matter. The bone was a piece of vertebra that I found, and decided to put into the picture as material that might possibly have been ground down for medicinal use. The picture on the right is the photograph reduced to sixteen colours in Paint Shop.

The next picture is my sixteen-colour underpainting with hard pastels on Pastelmat.

After that comes the start of the detailing with soft pastels, mostly Rembrandts, but with Sennelier for their extraordinary range of yellow-greens. The pestle is close to being finished and I have started on the interior and the rim.

The final picture here shows most of the mortar done, and and background put in to ascertain the contrast between the brightest brights (note - there is no white in this picture) and the dark background.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Tiffany Lamp - Final

I re-visited the Tiffany lamp after letting it hang for a week (sounds like hanging game until it is ripe!) There were a few places that bothered me. There was an obvious discrepancy between the line of the near edge of the oil container and the top line of the panel below - they needed to approach parallel. I also wanted to adjust the lettering and decoration within the panel.
The shadow cast by the bowl was just as important. There was a definite penumbra in the photos of the original set-up that was poorly defined. Also, there was more variation  and colour within the shadow that needed adjustment.
Overall, I am pleased with the composition. There are a number of diagonal lines leading into the painting from the bottom edge. There are strong containers within the picture, and it is full of geometry - lines, squares, circles, ellipses, triangles. Finished size, within the frame, is 14 x 11 ins. Pastel on Clairefontaine Pastelmat.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tiffany Lamp

I finally returned to the Tiffany lamp after completing some more pressing commissions. Here I have posted two further stages; the earlier one has the lampshade retouched, and the white tiles completed, with the red porcelain still waiting development.
The second picture shows the work nearing completion, There is still a little detail to be added to the oil container. I used mostly Sennelier pastels for the shade and the porcelain to bring it to this stage. As usual the photograph is not the best, but daylight is Ireland at this time of year is at a premium.