I have come up with a portrait selection of Rembrandt pastels that I think is a great basic set for portraiture. For those that don’t know which pastels to start with, which colours to buy and how to get going in portraiture, I hope this set will get them going on the road of pastel portraiture.
Most pastel (and paint) brands will have a portraiture set in their collection. But I often find the colours not quite right and missing vital ones that I use a lot. There are often way too many pinks and not enough blues and greens. Painting portraiture surely is not just about pink skin tones! There is hair, clothing and of course shadows, highlights and much more. So I thought it might be useful if I come up with my own choice of pastel colours.
One of my favourite pastel brands is Talens Rembrandt. The pastels are fairly hard within the soft pastel category and therefore are very suitable for fine detail. Rembrandt offers a huge array of colours. Most sets come in variations of 15 (sets of 15, 30, 60 and 90 for example) so I limited my choice to just 15 colours.
The colours I chose are from my own collection (hence the slightly used look in the photo!) and the ones I use the most. The brightest colour is a very light cool pink, followed by a very light yellow. Then there are some light skin tones that will prove very useful as generic skin colours. There is a warm yellow, a bright red, burnt sienna and a bright blue and a black. More muted colours such as the light greenish raw umber and the very pale burnt umber help create subtle temperature changes. For shading I chose a darker Raw Umber, a Prussian Blue and Olive Green. A useful all-rounder is he Light Oxide Red, which is a dull brown.
To prove it (hey I’ve got to prove it don’t I) I painted this portrait using only these 15 pastels. The reference image was a free stock photo (as I don’t have models running around unfortunately, unless you count the dog) and it was painted on Daler Rowney Murano grey paper.
The Portrait Set Contains:
Do note this is not an official set that Rembrandt stocks. It is my choice of colours that I feel would make a good portraiture set.
So for all those who say you need hundreds or thousands of pastels, and to those who can never find the right colour: you can do it with a limited palette.
PS: Most portrait sets focus on painting white people only. I have often wondered why there is not a portraiture set for painting people of a different race….
Will you let me know what you think?
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