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Sunday, June 07, 2020

I am Testing the Sennelier 30 piece Plein Air Half Stick Set

'Light in the Forest'             8x10            pastel             ©Karen Margulis
available $165

It is a mouthful but it is a pastel set I have been wanting to try. I love my Terry Ludwig pastels but I like to try other sets. I am often asked about different sets so I want to be as informed as possible. I ordered this set of 30 Sennelier half sticks last year and finally got around to giving them a try. I am so glad I did! I had forgotten how wonderful a Sennelier pastel feels. I particularly enjoy the half sticks which are claimed to be more robust than the regular full sticks. (with paper labels)

Since I had a piece of Sennelier LaCarte paper I decided to test the pastels on a red piece of LaCarte. The combination was wonderful!  I started the painting with some hard pastels saving the Sennelier for the top layers and finishing marks.  It worked out well and I had plenty of tooth in the paper.nHere are some things I discovered.

  • Sennelier pastels are soft. They are softer than the Terry Ludwig pastels that I use the most. I like them but in the past have used them for final marks and top layers of a painting. It was challenging to use such soft pastels for the early layers. I had to be sure to use a very light touch so I wouldn't fill the tooth of the paper too quickly.I also used hard pastels for some early layers.
  • The half stick are not crumbly like the Sennelier full sticks which tend to crumble when the wrappers are removed. BUT they are not uniformly round and so it was hard to get a wide consistent mark. I needed to sand down a side of the pastel to make smoother marks. 
  • The set was suprisingly well rounded for having just 30 sticks. There were a few neutrals that helped balance the intense colors. The addition of the white and black gives the ability to layer to alter colors somewhat. I found having a few Nupastels really helped expand my palette (a low cost option)
  • Would I recommend this set for a Plein air outing? The jury is out until I can use the set for an actual plein air outing! I will plan to do that soon and will report back!

I will be using this set this month for several of my Patreon demos and will also share my thoughts here. If you would like to see the entire demo and review video of this painting consider joining my Patreon group for just $4!

Testing and painting a demo!

Sennelier Plein Air 30 half stick set

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