Tag Archives: Sennelier

Demo with Sennelier pastels

Demo With Sennelier Pastels At Their IAPS Booth

I’m back from four amazing days at IAPS!! This pastel conference connects and reconnects you with wonderful people who are all passionate about pastels. It also inspires you through demos, workshops, and the exhibition of amazing work from around the world. It’s also a place to stock up on pastel supplies at the ‘candy store’ where you can converse directly with the vendors – offering feedback, finding out about new products, getting the best deals you’ll probably find. While there, I had the opportunity to demo with Sennelier pastels at the Savoir Faire booth. I thought I’d share the progression and results of this demo with you.

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sennelier's iridescent pastels - a sampling

Sennelier’s Iridescent Pastels – A Review

Have you ever used Sennelier’s iridescent pastels or indeed, any iridescent soft pastels? I hadn’t and I was curious about them. So I acquired a box of 24 Sennelier’s iridescent pastels.

I just created and published a video showing my unboxing of the set for the first time, recording my initial reactions (YUM!).

I also tried out all of the iridescent pastels on three different types of paper:

  • the mid-value La Carte Pastelcard provided with the set,
  • a piece of black Canson Mi-Teintes (the smooth side),
  • and a piece of UART 280 (the company’s coarsest grade of sanded paper).

I then did a demo with ten of the iridescent pastels, copying a demo piece I’d recently done in a workshop using regular Sennelier pastels.

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Choosing Your First Soft Pastels

Choosing Your First Soft Pastels

Probably the question I get asked the most is: “What pastels would you suggest I start with? And by the way, I have a limited budget.” Choosing your first soft pastels should be easy but with all the choices we have, the decisions become more difficult. This week I answer the question!

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Painting en plein air, you can find subject matter anywhere!


When we’re on location I hear students complain that there is nothing to paint, that they want to move to another location. There is always something to paint – you may just have to look a little harder.

Take for instance this day I was out – it was overcast and I had limited time. It didn’t seem like there was much to paint but then this scene captured my attention:


The scene I painted

The scene I painted

The first thing I do before I settle in is to make a thumbnail sketch (as you all know!!) to check for value masses and balance:


Thumbnail with three values

Thumbnail with three values

When I am okay with that, I make a quick drawing in charcoal on my paper, in this case, Wallis Belgium Mist:


Charcoal sketch on Wallis paper

Charcoal sketch on Wallis paper

It’s time to get started. I pick three pastels in three values (light, medium, dark) and apply lightly and quickly:


The first three values are down

The first three values are down. You can see the design clearly now

Now I can begin adding a second layer:


The beginning of the build up of pastel layers

The beginning of the build up of pastel layers. I’m feeling my way.

And now I get down to work in earnest:


The image begins to emerge

The image begins to emerge. I am interested in capturing all the colours I see.

There are a group of dead branches emerging from the foliage. A tricky subject that needs to be included. How to do them? I just start in and see what happens:


More detail added including the grouping of dead branches

More detail added including the grouping of dead branches.

I then add more details and more highlights. Eventually I realize I am beginning to get picky so it was time to stop. Before I did so, I added the small tree on the left feeling the design required a vertical at that point:


The final touches before I head home

The final touches before I head home.

Back in the studio a few days later, after considering the pastel, I make a few more tweaks (on the fence for example) and then consider it done!


"Trees on Sharpe Rd," pastel on Wallis paper, 9 x 12 in

“Trees on Sharpe Rd,” pastel on Wallis paper, 9 x 12 in

And just for fun, here are a couple more images – one of me at my easel and the other of the pastels I used:


At my easel on location at Sharpe Rd

At my easel on location at Sharpe Rd.

Pastels used - quite a few for me!

Sennelier pastels I used – quite a few for me!

Do you have questions about the creation of this pastel? Please ask!

Thanks for being here,

~ Gail



Sennelier Facebook contest!

If you are a member of Facebook and a lover of pastels then rush to enter Sennelier’s Facebook contest posted a few days ago.


Sennelier contest prize!!

Sennelier contest prize!!

Here’s what they have to say:

“On the road for Summer or Winter ? No matter which side of the Earth you are, you can enter the draw to win this SENNELIER 80 PLEIN AIR extra soft half-pastels set. Taking part is very easy, you only have to like the Sennelier fan page (if it is not done yet !) and to share the following picture. Winner will be announced 21th June 2013.”

Click here to enter.

Good luck to you and good luck to me!! 🙂

~ Gail