Liz Haywood-Sullivan: The Fine Art of Pastel

This materials list contains the items you will see me using in my Epiphany videos.

The pastels I use come from a variety of brands, and range from soft to harder.
Pastels I use the most are:

Terry Ludwig – soft, luscious, beautiful colors
Girault – harder, great for finish work, blending, fine detail
Henri Roché – medium soft, contain pumice making them ideal to work on non-sanded surfaces, $$$
Diane Townsend – soft, lovely colors
Unison – medium soft, a great all around pastel
Art Spectrum Extra Soft – soft, beautiful colors especially muted colors
Richeson Handrolled – soft, lovely colors

Working with Pastels:\
The following are my recommendations for the best pastel experience:

  • Have a minimum of 150 pastels with a good range of colors/values.
  • Keep your pastels clean and remove any wrappings so you can see colors
  • Select a range of soft, medium and harder pastels.
  • Purchase a pastel box to contain your pastels, versus keeping them in their original containers. This makes it easier to setup in a class or workshop setting, and is essential if you ever travel by air where you are required to put hand carried pastels through a security checkpoint.
  • Be sure to have a good selection of neutrals. We are attracted to pastel’s bright colors but the neutrals are what make the colors behave!

I work with both sanded and non-sanded surfaces.
These are the papers I use the most:

Sanded papers:
Lux Archival
UART 500 grade

Paper (non-sanded):
Canson Mi Tientes

Working with Pastel Paper:

  • You will need a backing board for most pastel papers.
  • Some pastel surfaces are applied to boards which eliminate the need for a backing board.
  • I mount all my papers to 3/16” white gatorboard. I have a frame shop do this work for me.
  • They use a drymount press and use a layer of archival adhesive which adheres the paper and board using heat and pressure.
  • Several brands (UART, Pastelmat, Colorfix) make pads that have sheets of paper interleaved with glacine. These are great for workshops, classes, or travel.

Sketching Supplies

  • sketchbook of your choice
    • variety of Prismacolor Pencils in neutral colors
  • pencil sharpener with ability to capture trimmings
    • Tombow markers – numbers
  • Viewfinder
  • small portable watercolor set
    • small, short watercolor brushes
  • tube of white gouache
    • container for water
  • All of these items are found in a special sketch kit that Rochester Art Supply makes, at a discount, for my students. On their website, search for Haywood-Sullivan.

Additional Supplies

  • Easel – I use a Hughes Easel
  • Air Filter – my filter is by Artist’s Air
  • portable pastel storage – Heilman Box
  • 70% isopropyl alcohol*
  • Artists Tape – no colored painters tape. Black, beige or white only.
  • Glassine – to protect your paintings during transport when finished.
  • Towel – to place under your easel, softens the blow of dropped pastels & keeps floors clean.
  • Sealed container to hold alcohol (for underpainting)
  • Brushes – for underpainting, synthetic brushes, no natural bristle (flats in 1/2”, 3/4”, 1”sizes  recommended)

*Note: You cannot carry any solvents, including isopropyl alcohol, on a plane. Isopropyl alcohol is perfect for underpainting classes and workshops since it dries fast. Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, can be found as a first aid item in pharmacies worldwide. Sometimes it is behind the counter and can be dyed green or pink, which is ok for underpainting.

Final Note on Materials

Finding the artist materials that work best for you is a process of experimentation, is individual to each artist, and takes time. Taking a workshop or class will expose you to what other artists are using, and is the perfect time to try something new.

Access to art materials is very dependent upon where you live. Many professional quality pastels and papers are only found at specialized art suppliers. Thankfully, these suppliers do online sales. There are two in the US that specialize in pastels, and that I highly recommend:

Rochester Art Supply    
Dakota Art Pastels        

Epiphany Fine Art