New Pearlescent Mediums

Introducing 4 new Pearlescent Mediums…

Pearl Mediums Pan Group Shot sml

PanPastel Pearlescent mediums add a lustrous pearlescent sheen / shimmer which changes depending on the angle it is viewed from, also creating dimension. They are mica based. The mediums can be mixed with PanPastel Colors for custom pearlescent colors or used on their own for mixed media. They have all the characteristics of PanPastel Colors, they are mixable, erasable, low dust, lightfast and professional artist’s quality.

Black & White Marks Coarse & Fine with captions sml

Create your own custom pearlescent colors by mixing with PanPastel Colors. Use the white Pearl Mediums to tint colors and add a soft pearlescent sheen. Note: Color + White = tint. (e.g. Magenta + White = Magenta Tint)

Turquoise mixed with pearl sml

Depending on the desired effect – add more shimmer by increasing the proportion of Pearl Medium used when mixing with PanPastel Colors.

Mixed Purple With Pearls 2 sml

Mix the Black Pearl Mediums with PanPastel Colors to create shimmering darks and shades for rich, jewel-like effects. Note: Color + Black= shade/extra dark. (e.g. Magenta + Black = Magenta Shade)

Suzanne Pearl Cr

Suzanne Fellows used Black Coarse over gouache in this mixed media piece (detail shown).

TIP! If a pan surface (medium or color) becomes contaminated simply clean off with a clean sponge or paper towel. Watch this video:

Details on all the new mediums can be found here: MEDIUMS RANGE

New Colorless Blender

Introducing…the first Colorless Blender for soft pastels….

Sideview Colorless Blender SmlThe PanPastel Colorless Blender is a medium that can be used for a variety of new effects including increasing transparency and enhancing color “flow”.

It also has all the characteristics of PanPastel Colors i.e. mixable, erasable, low dust, lightfast and professional artist’s quality. Ref. 20010

One of the most important and unique characteristics of PanPastel Colors is that they are dry (pastel) colors that can be blended like fluid paints. They “flow” even though they are dry. The new Colorless Blender enhances the “flow” and extends the possibilities of blending with PanPastel. Below we compare different blending techniques.

Comparison Colorless Blender, White, Sponge, Finger sml

Add Colorless Blender – allows the color to be “pulled” (drawn) much further, increasing the blending possibilities, creating even more “flow” than normal.
Add White – adding white changes the hue by tinting it, making it more opaque.
Using Finger – this doesn’t allow much color to be ”pulled” /drawn out. (note: using fingers to blend is not only very limiting but is not recommended with artist’s pigments.)
Using Sofft Sponge – the color can be “pulled” further compared to using a finger. In fact, one of the reasons we created Sofft Sponge Bars was to replace the finger for blending.

Use the Colorless Blender to create transparent effects with PanPastel Colors. The image below shows how you can create a transparent effect without changing the hue of the pigment. When you use PanPastel White with the same color you can see the effect below. White will tint the color, changing the final effect and making the color more opaque. Unlike the blender which made it more transparent.

Comparison Colorless Blender vs White sl

Colorless Blender can also be used with other media, and we will explore those further soon.

Information the other new PanPastel Mediums can be found here: MEDIUMS RANGE

Sydney McGinley – Metallics

Homage to Klimt copy

“Homage to Klimt” (8×10″) Sydney McGinley
PanPastel & soft pastel sticks on Wallis paper

Another beautiful use of PanPastel metallics in this painting by Sydney McGinley. Sydney blended our metallic gold hues to achieve the background and other textures. More of Sydney’s work can be found at:

Linda Robertson – Metallics


“Emerging from Darkness” (12×12″) Encaustic, PanPastel & ink
Linda Robertson (Womack)

Linda Robertson created this beautiful encaustic piece using our new metallic colors. Linda tells me she loves the effects she can achieve with the new metallics.

To see more of Linda’s work and for info on her workshops visit:

Artist Q & A: Loes Botman

Loes two swans

“Two Swans”  2013  13046    36×59″ (91x150cm)    PanPastel, charcoal & pastel sticks

Dutch artist, Loes Botman, talks about how she incorporates PanPastel in her work. Also included below is an article she wrote in Dutch magazine “Atelier” last year on using PanPastel including step-by-step images. (All paintings shown here were painted on wood panel).

Tell us about your background as an artist.
Drawing is my passion. As long as I can remember I have loved to draw! It has always been this way. I want to feel the lines, the colors as they come right out of my hands.  In 1994 I became a fulltime artist, after finishing the Art Academie (Koninklijke Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten The Hague).

However, regarding drawing with pastel, I’m self-taught, I didn’t study that at the Art Academy. That was considered old fashioned and not relevant according to the teachers. For me it was a challenge. The beautiful colors but especially the opacity of the material interested me, as if the sunlight disappears in it.


“Horse”  2010  10097    47×59″ (120x150cm)    PanPastel, charcoal & pastel sticks

Describe your artwork.
My work is pretty realistic with a “cheeky” touch because I sometimes use colors that are not realistic. Like a blue rabbit for example. Colors that have nothing to do with real life. Continue reading

Asian Blouse with Rose Background

Asian Blouse with Rose Background

Master pastelist Sydney McGinley used new PanPastel Metallics to get a beautifully luminous effect in this  painting - “Asian Blouse with Rose Background” (18×14″). Sydney uses PanPastel Colors and soft pastel sticks on Wallis paper.

Sydney says that the back of the robe was the perfect opportunity to use our new metallic colors. Giving it a subtle but lovely shine, which moves as you tilt the painting or walk around it.

For more information on Sydney McGinley and her work, visit:


Peter Bjorn Nielsen – Still Life Painting

cup and two tomatoes

Re-published with kind permission of Peter Bjorn Nielsen:

My favorite teacup (Bodum) along with a couple of tomatoes give me an excuse to work on this still life. The painting is developed on and off over 3 days. 
I set up and photograph the still life (above). Then I make ​​a grid on the image in Photoshop Elements. I will be using an 80 Color set of PanPastel Colors along with Sofft Tools and will be painting on Murano (160g pastel paper).
IMG_1140The next step was to map a 3x3cm (1×1″) grid on a 50x65cm (20×26″) sheet of pastel paper using pastel pencils before transferring the subject from the photograph. It’s important to pay attention to the numbers at this stage to ensure they correspond with the grid in the photograph - that way it is easier to keep track of the layout.

Artist Q & A: Steven Hill

This month’s interview is with Steven Hill. Steven is an award winning painter based in the North West US (Lopez Island, WA). He teaches nationally and internationally, including on a regular basis at Dakota Art Center. Steven incorporates PanPastel colors with pastel sticks in many of his paintings, including his plein air work, so we were delighted when he accepted our invitation to take part in an interview. 

Plein Air Painter Steven Hill DSCN3705Plein Air Painter Steven Hill

Note: all paintings shown below were painted with PanPastel & pastel sticks on Sennelier La Carte except “Bridge at Enniscorthy, Ireland” which is on Colourfix paper 

Describe your artwork
Most of my artwork is done on-site, en plein air, working in pastels.


Plein Air Painting – Fisherman Bay Spit

Tell us about your creative process
My creative process involves a host of elements that range from site selection (it has to be somewhere I really want to set-up and do some serious work), evaluating visual elements in relationship to light, color, form and color temperature and making little studies in my sketchbook before I ever begin to paint. It’s rare to just walk-up to something, whip out the easel and just start painting – but it does happen!

I really like to ask myself why I want to paint any subject, figure out a course of action based on some really important objectives, like how I feel about it, what’s going to happen over the course of the next 2-3 hours that I can do to make a statement, and how involved will my sensory perceptions be throughout the process of painting. If I can’t get excited at the outset, there’s really nothing further to say, so I am very selective about all the why’s, how’s and when’s before I ever touch the surface. Life’s too short to dance with an ugly partner and for me painting is much the same.

How do you incorporate PanPastel into your work?
I use PanPastel as large “wash-like” strokes in almost all of my under painting and even employ them at the end of a piece, to soften or blend. I cut my teeth using watercolors and really like how I can mix PanPastel colors right on the palette and use many, many layers of subtle colorations to achieve a translucency that is very similar to water color.


“The Tombolo on Fisherman Bay”  Steven Hill

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Work-in-Progress Images – German Shepherd by Sue McDonagh

I wanted to share some great work-in-progress images which UK based artist Sue McDonagh kindly sent us.  The WIP images are from Sue’s German Shepherd portrait, using PanPastel on PastelMat, and they really show how she uses PanPastel to build up the painting in a very painterly way. (Scroll down for WIP images).

Finished painting: German Shepherd – PanPastel on Pastelmat – 11×16″

I asked Sue how much of the painting is with PanPastel. She said: “It’s all pure PanPastel – except the drawing-out of the dog which is in charcoal.  I made some very light pencil lines – squaring up to make sure I can get the dog in the frame.

I’m mostly using the Sofft Knife with the rounded end (#1) to lay in the largest areas, then the tiniest ones for the eyes.  I used the Sofft Sponge Bar Wedge for the fine hairs in the ears, and for the neck hair.  I used the Sofft Big Oval sponge for the background – I love that big sponge, it’s so tactile!

I’ve not been using PanPastel for very long – this is probably only my third painting in them!  I have been using traditional pastels for about 20 years though…but PanPastel colors have given me something different.

They first caught my eye when I was browsing the internet looking at art.  I was struck by how painterly they are, so I ordered some.  I confess, I was rather hoping not to like them, as I have invested a huge amount of money in my pastels already……….and to my horror, I absolutely fell in love with them.

The consistency is not like stick pastel at all – it’s much more creamy.  I love the soft edges, and the fact that I am able to keep layering colour with them.

Most revelatory for me though, is the ability to mix colour.  With stick pastels, no matter how many colours you have, you still have to compromise on certain colours. It’s a delight to be able to lift a little colour from this pot, swipe it gently over the next one and maybe even a third – and see the exact colour I wanted on the paper.

I pored over the various sets available – then took a deep breath, and ordered the entire set. So far I’ve painted a sunset from our local beach – sold that, a commissioned portrait of four granchildren on a beach – sold that, and the commissioned German Shepherd dog which I’ve just finished. So I’m happy that I’ve already recouped my investment in all 80 colours.”

Last Import - 15

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Alex Louisa

I recently discovered Australian artist Alex Louisa’s Instagram page and was fascinated by all of the beautiful work she is creating with PanPastel, so I contacted her to find out more.


“Hush” PanPastel on Pastelmat   27×19″ (68x48cm)

I couldn’t believe it when she told me that she has only been working with PanPastel for a few months. Wow. In fact the piece shown above (“Hush”) was selected as a finalist in this year’s prestigious Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize.


“Sulphur” PanPastel on Pastelmat    27.5×19.5″(70x50cm)

Alex told me that she thought she loved working with pencils, charcoal and oils until she tried PanPastel Colors properly. She had tried them here and there to block in large areas of colour in charcoal drawings on watercolour paper. But she realized she wasn’t using them to their full potential. It wasn’t until she tried PanPastel on a whim with some more textured paper that she realised just how brilliant, and unique they are. She had been commissioned to create 14 paintings featuring cloudscapes, and invested in a PanPastel full set immediately. Continue reading

Installation Timelapse Videos – Krista Svalbonas

Installation artist Krista Svalbonas was recently featured in an Artist’s Q&A on this blog, she uses PanPastel as an important part of her installations. She has just posted short timelapse videos showing the installation of her pieces (still images of the finished installations can be seen here at the post we did with her a couple of months ago). All of the color shown being applied to the walls is PanPastel (the lines are masking tape).

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Artist Q&A: Krista Svalbonas


I recently met Krista Svalbonas at a conference in New York City. Krista uses PanPastel in many of her installations. She is using the colors in a unique and exciting way – in combination with encaustics – where the color extends beyond the panels onto the wall itself. I wanted to find out more about her work and process so I invited her to take part in our artist Q&A series.  Continue reading

Tip: Changing Colors in Palette Trays

Tray & lid photo

Here’s a handy tip: we always keep a PanPastel lid handy to remove colors from the palette trays or to place the colors in the palette. As the tray cavity holds the colors securely, threading a lid on the pan of color makes it easier to grip it, and helps prevent your fingers from touching the other color surfaces.

So although the palette tray’s cover does the job of covering the colors once you have finished painting, try to keep at least one lid available for an easy way to remove and replace the colors in the palettes. (Each PanPastel set comes with at least one lid, and of course the individual colors are sold with a lid.) More info on the palette trays can be found here (including an intro. video):

Joanne Barby

We discovered Joanne Barby’s work with PanPastel when she posted an image of one of her portraits on our Facebook page. We had such a great reaction to that image that I asked Joanne to share some more images of her work so that we could post them here.

Owl email-3

Joanne is based in Australia and works in a variety of media including colored pencil, charcoal, ink, acrylics, watercolor and of course plenty of PanPastel! Her recent work focuses mainly on animal and people portraits. The pieces shown here are approx. 80% PanPastel. Continue reading

FOCUS: Acrylic Mediums

We have been experimenting with some of the acrylic grounds and pastes in the Golden Acrylics range. They offer a broad selection of products to create texture & other effects on almost any surface – in 2D or 3D. The possibilities are limitless….

PanPastel colors work well with many acrylic mediums, so I wanted to share images of some simple experiments showing how each medium affects the final result you can get when used with PanPastel.

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Dawn Emerson

We were delighted to feature Dawn Emerson’s artwork on our new Sketch & Tone kit packaging. We are huge fans of Dawn’s work, and while we haven’t had an opportunity (yet) to attend one of her workshops, we have heard they are powerful. Dawn’s work is full of positive energy, and apparently that’s how she teaches. Inspiring and encouraging her students to push the limits of their own creativity. Dawn has been using PanPastel in her mixed media paintings for some time. So this short interview about her work and her use of PanPastel is long overdue. Enjoy.

    “Howling at the Moon” by Dawn Emerson (mixed media with PanPastel)

Thoughts on PanPastel…

During recent email correspondence with Len Jagoda, a wonderful equine painter based in Georgia, we were discussing his use of PanPastel. Unsolicited, it prompted Len to put together his thoughts on how and why he uses PanPastel in many of his paintings. This is what he wrote:

“PanPastel Colors are ideal for landscapes and impressionist pastel paintings; however, that is not what I do. I do portrait work, mostly dogs and horses and in fact in a rather “tight” realistic style. One might then ask, why am I such a believer in PanPastel and how do I use them?

First the “how”. I have used PanPastel Colors in underpainting, glazing, for special effects on the background and for background landscape (most likely a more common application).  I apply them with the tools that go with the medium; but I also often “push them around” to create hard edges and/or transitions by using Color Shapers. It is amazing how one can drag a  Color Shaper through an area of PanPastel and create a fine whisker on a dog’s muzzle.


“Mr Jeffy” by Len Jagoda - Pastel on Stonehenge Paper  12 x 20″

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Artist Q&A: Mindy Lighthipe

Mindy Lighthipe is a botanical artist based in Florida. She uses PanPastel in combination with watercolor and other media. Her drawings and paintings are in many private, public and corporate collections, including the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Denver Museum of Natural History, and the New York Botanical Garden Gallery in the Bronx. In 2009, she was awarded a silver medal at the London Orchid Show at the Royal Horticultural Society. Mindy wrote and illustrated “Mother Monarch”, a children’s book about the butterfly life cycle.

“Mother Monarch”  PanPastel & Watercolor

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Lisa Pressman

At the recent CAA conference in New York city, I met Lisa Pressman, a New Jersey based painter.

Lisa was demonstrating on a neighboring booth – R & F Handmade Paints.  I took these photos of Lisa experimenting with PanPastel Colors, instantly creating some interesting results.

One of her first “on-the-spot” experiments, shown below, involved using a template over clear encaustic medium on Encausticbord. She applied PanPastel Red Iron Oxide with a Sofft Knife over the template to create a pattern on the surface. Then fused the color into the encaustic medium with a heat gun. A simple yet effective technique!

Lisa using a Sofft Knife to apply PanPastel to encaustic medium, over a template

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New! Photo Artistry Workshops

Dianne Poinski has launched an exciting new website: Photo Artistry Workshop

Subscribers to the website will have access, during 2011, to her video lessons. She will share her hand-coloring techniques with subscribers and will also provide tutorials on various aspects of photography including working with Photoshop, filters, textures, and papers for digital printing, along with many other hints and tips.

Dianne hand-colors her black and white photographs using PanPastel Colors & Sofft Tools. If you are a mixed media artist, photographer, or anyone interested in exploring new creative horizons with digital photography and hand-coloring, Photo Artistry Workshop is worth checking out.

The following video shows some of Dianne’s artwork.

Patricia Baldwin Seggebruch

I am an encaustic painter. I have been painting abstractly in this melted beeswax medium for over seven years now; preceded by abstract mixed media.


Last year I paid a visit to Toronto Canada at the prompting of a student. In her store/studio she had PanPastel Colors. Their delicious packaging hooked me first, followed quickly by the delight of using them first on paper then on my encaustic paintings.

I use PanPastel in many different ways with my encaustic painting. The most deliberate use of them is to ‘blush’ or ‘tint’ the wax as I apply layers of medium (beeswax with damar resin) and color (pigmented medium). This blushing offers a new look to the coloring of the wax in that it is more diffuse and transparent; offering for more layering and depth development than is possible with just the pigmented wax colors.

Using PanPastel to blush/tint the wax for “Ansley”

I also love to use stencils and mask off areas, build the wax with these different resists, then tint the different depths of wax created in this method of application with the PanPastel.

Tinting textured and masked off areas using the Sofft sponges

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Pastelmat Giveaway

We are often asked by artists using PanPastel for the first time, what papers they should use. This is a difficult question for us to answer as PanPastel works on almost any surface, from low tooth surfaces such as vellum and ink-jet / digital (matt) papers to the very toothy pastel surfaces. So it really depends on the artist’s preference, and the results they are trying to achieve.

On our website we feature a page called “Substrates” that shows a PanPastel mark on a variety of different surfaces – those are just a few of the potential surfaces that can be used; also our gallery shows various surfaces that artists are using in combination with PanPastel Colors.

One of the pastel surfaces that we really like is Pastelmat from  Clairefontaine in France. What do we like about it? Well, it is a premium card surface (360gsm/170lb) that has a unique coating of cellulose fibers, giving it excellent “grab” so it can hold many layers of PanPastel and pastel stick color, however at the same time its surface feels deceptively velvety and therefore it’s not abrasive. The best of both worlds for pastelists! Not only is Pastelmat popular for all types of dry media (pastel, colored pencil etc) you can also use it with wet media such as gouache, acrylics, watercolors etc.

The following video is a landscape painting demonstration by Deborah Secor. In this video Deborah takes you through the process of painting a full landscape from start to finish using only PanPastel colors & Pastelmat.

Here is a list of the colors used in this demo: Materials used

On Deborah’s Gouache painting blog she has also posted a step-by-step gouache painting demo on Pastelmat:

Deborah Secor writes regularly for The Pastel Journal, and her work has been featured in several books including “Pure Color: The Best of Pastel” and “Painting With Pastels” by Maggie Price.

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Artist Interview: Leonard Jagoda

Leonard Jagoda lives in Georgia. His paintings can be found in private collections from Washington State & Texas to Saudi Arabia. His work hangs in some of the most prestigious stud farms in Kentucky.

He has received several prestigious awards for his work, and has been included in many juried shows, including the American Academy of Equine Art’s 2009 Fall International Open Exhibition. His portrait of Big Brown was juried into the 2010 International Exhibit of Animals in Art at LSU. Recently, he has been selected to create the official artwork for the 2011 Aiken Steeplechase. Since 2008, Leonard has been using PanPastel Colors in his paintings.

“Big Brown Formal Portrait”  16 x 14″

Note: For the paintings shown Leonard used PanPastel Colors, pastel sticks & pastel pencils. He paints on a variety of surfaces including Stonehenge paper & Canson Mi-Teintes. Click on any image to see it in more detail in a larger format.

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The Pastel Journal – Sydney McGinley

I have been travelling quite a lot recently, so I haven’t had time to write here; however today I managed to write a little and catch up with the contents of my mailbox (well most of it!).

I was delighted to receive the latest copy of The Pastel Journal. Always a great read! I was particularly looking forward to this issue as I knew that our friend, master pastelist Sydney McGinley, was going to be featured in an article about portrait and figurative painters. Her painting “Footbath No.1″ is also featured on the front cover.

Sydney’s work is featured in “Portraits from the heart” in the Pastel Journal.

Sydney lives near us in Pennsylvania and was one of the first artists to begin using PanPastel. And she uses them beautifully, in combination with pastel sticks & a Conté pencil on Wallis sanded paper.

I love her use of color! I know that mark-making is very important to her, and in the Pastel Journal article she talks about how she also likes to include drawing as a strong element within her paintings. She has told me in the past that she likes that PanPastel can also be applied in semi-transparent layers, allowing the pencil marks to show through if she desires.

More of Sydney’s paintings can be found at the PanPastel webgallery page and at her website:

I’ll be writing more about Sydney soon, as she has kindly agreed to do an interview for

Mixed Media Experiments

For a few years we’ve known and worked with Scottish artist Celia Buchanan. Celia is based in Florida, and has been working & teaching in the art supplies industry for a number of years.

“Orbs”  - gold leaf, PanPastel, encaustic

Recently, Celia has been experimenting with different mixed media techniques for her demos & workshops; incorporating a number of the products that she represents in her role as an independent sales representative. She’s been combining PanPastel with a number of materials including: oil pastels, antique beeswax, Jacquard’s Piñata color, Jacquard encaustic wax, along with layers of decorative papers & gold leaf.  She recently sent these images showing the results of her first experiments. Pretty cool!

“Orbs 2″ –  PanPastel, Piñata color, encaustic, with leaf skeleton

Celia told me about a number of Jacquard product demos she’ll be doing in the next few weeks, during which she’ll be including PanPastel techniques, similar to those shown above; including at the Sam Flax store in San Francisco on Wed August, 25th (1-4pm) and at the Art Supply Warehouse store in Orange County, CA on Sat Aug 28th (10-1pm).

To find out more about other dates on Celia’s demo & workshop schedule visit:

Artist Interview: Dianne Poinski

Dianne Poinski is a professional photographer who hand-colors her black and white photographs with PanPastel with beautiful results. Dianne lives and works in Sacramento, California.

“Roses” by Dianne Poinski

Tell us about your background as an artist.
When I was younger, I loved to sew, do crafts and play my guitar. My brother was the “artist” in the family, so I didn’t even think that I was doing “art” during that time.

My interest in photography began when my children were young and I wanted to learn how to take better pictures of them. At the same time I was in school trying to finish up and get my business degree in accounting so I could become a CPA. Taking a photography course helped satisfy the art requirement, but I was not prepared for the passion I would feel for that medium. I never finished school…. and never became a CPA.

I have taken a few classes here and there, but for the most part I am self taught.

I became a full time artist around 1995. I started out taking pictures of my friend’s kids and hand-coloring them. Then friends of friends started asking me to do the same for them. Those were my first paying jobs. Eventually I stopped taking portraits and began showing my other work at art festivals and my studio.

In 2008 I incorporated teaching hand-coloring workshops as part of my business.

Describe your artwork.
I take photographs of flowers, landscapes and architecture, print them as black and white prints and then hand-color them with PanPastels.

“Illuminated”  by Dianne Poinski

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