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Sennelier colours, palette suggestions

June 2, 2012

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This is an answer to Kristina’s comment on Oil pastels and oil painting

Do have a go.
I work only on coloured charcoal paper, mostly dark- Cansons or Ingres about 200-300g weight. Lighter paper won’t hold up as well under strong application of colour or scraping.
And the colours completely die on white paper in my experience. I want them to glow.

Actually, I received a gift of a basic Sennelier set not long ago and it isn’t bad. Here is a link for a photo of the box http://www.dickblick.com/products/sennelier-oil-pastel-sets/#photos

There are some colours I can’t live without, though. You could choose from these depending on your own needs:
88 Sap Green- (a cool sagey bluegreen)
46 Olive green- (muted dusty green)
206 Moss Green- (a bright yellowy green, lights up on the page)
207 Ash blue- (very very light, I use it to lighten other colours to soft grey tints)
219 Celestial blue (Close to the light blue in the set, but more body)
40 Barite green (my favourite greeny turquoise)
82 Bright turquoise

8 Bordeaux (lovely rich aubergine, couldn’t do without it for shadows and depth)
27 Purple (nice magenta)
216 Perma violet (good basic purple)
202 Geranium lake light (good deep rosy pink)

232 Terra cotta (warm brick colour)
240 Light English Red (lighter versio of terra cotta)
20 Yellow deep (cadmium deep)

And I’ve always loved using their irridescent Red Copper 115. Those are usually stumps in my set. Their metallics are so good and this one just shines on a dark blue background. It also adds wonderful light flecks when used over other colours- see Gerard loved all flowers,  and Moon Music.

You’ve got me all inspired to do some tutorials on oil pastels, because they are the medium I’m really at home in. And there are so many ways to use them.

Don’t let all this info overwhelm you.

Here’s another suggestion for a basic set to put together yourself:
1 White
220 Permanent intense red
22 Gold yellow
20 Yellow Deep
200 Mandarin
213 Veridian Green
206 Moss Green
46 Olive green
219 Celestial Blue
237 French Ultramarine
203 Delft Blue
216 Perma violet
8 Bordeaux
202 Geranuim Lake
34 Burnt umber
23 Black

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3 Responses to “Sennelier colours, palette suggestions”


  1. Sarah that list of colours is like a prose poem

  2. decorartuk Says:

    Thank you so much, Sarah. I thought you’d just leave a list of colours as a comment – I didn’t expect a whole post! That’s so nice of you.

    I will print the lists and probably will look for some pastels somewhere abroad – I’m afraid that they wouldn’t have Sennelier in our one and only art supply shop in town. I’m sure I’d be able to order a standard box over the internet, yet they probably wouldn’t send singles?

    I love your pastel paitings. Especially ‘Grace’! I’m afraid I wouldn’t come up with such interesting interpretations. For e.g. how do you decide to depict ‘Moon Music’? This is so poetic and very touching. You are a true artist.

    Thank you once again and you can’t imagine how eager I am to try these pastels out!

    • szoutewelle Says:

      Hi Kristina, Your comments just happen to strike a chord with the born teacher in me who wants others to experience pleasure from creativity as I do. So it is a pleasure to share the experience I’ve had along the way so others don’t have to start from square one.

      ‘Moon Music’ started not with the concept or words. It started as all the oil pastel painting/drawings (they really are drawings in technique so I’ll refer to them as drawings) I did during that period, with a colour of paper I liked. Then I mapped out a number of squares and rectangles to work in, (because whole sheets used to scare me 🙂 ) and started filling them in, with only a loose idea of the feel I wanted. “Houses’ and ‘fantasy landscape’ were some themes in the back of my head, and I was curious about the warm salmony colours against the blue paper.

      When I finished, there were two similar ones, one was ‘Moon village’ and this was ‘Moon music’. The fun titles are inspired partly by a role model of mine from my Findhorn days, Bob Knox, artist extraordinaire. Can’t find a site for him on the web. But I own a watercolour of his called ‘Wind music in the tree tops’. This link shows some of his New Yorker covers, if you scroll down there are at least 2. http://attemptedbloggery.blogspot.nl/2011/09/world-trade-center-in-pre-911-new.html

      Good luck with the oil pastels, they take a bit of getting used to but I think, seeing how you work in acrylics you will take to them like a duck to water. cheers, Sarah


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