I have been creating art works with oil pastels for decades, and like them so much I wrote a blog article about using them. Recently I was asked by two different oil pastel companies (Arrtx and Paul Rubens) to try their pastels and write reviews for each.
In my studio I have plenty of pastels – a lifetime supply actually – so when they asked me for this trade (free pastels for a review) I said yes, mostly because I wanted to try them out, not as much for the free pastels, although hey, why not? It is my promise though, as an artist as well as a professional instructor, to give you my honest opinion below. This blog article reviews Paul Rubens, and here is the link for the Arrtx review.
I’ve purchased my own Holbein oil pastels which I’ve used for years, and enjoyed trying out the Paul Rubens pastels to compare. One of the two sets I received from them is their Sea Scenery Colors set of 72 oil pastels. This set is pictured in the article header image at the top.
The other is called Paul Rubens Pearlescent Oil Pastels set of 36 colors, pictured here. It is advertised as “glitter pastels” which I thought I wouldn’t like, thinking they might be a bit tacky for fine art. However, I was pleased to find that they weren’t glittery at all. Instead they had a slightly glossier sheen than the others. I was able to use pastels from both sets in the same artwork without too much visible difference.
Bottom line is that I liked these pastels very much. They all mix and combine well with the other brands I have, but alone work very well too.
Great Qualities of Paul Rubens Oil Pastels
- Good Color Quality. The most important aspect in creating art is color. The pastels in both sets were vibrant and colors felt rich, which means they are using good quality pigment.
- Creamy Feel. One advantage to working with oil pastels is the ability to layer one pastel over another. If the pastel is too waxy in feel, then when applying one layer over another it will just pick up that underlying layer, instead of adding the new color over the other and blending into a new color. If they are too creamy or gooey in feel, they will just slide around and you can’t get a good layer to build up enough to get a uniform application of the color.
- Beautiful Packaging. This may not be important to some, but I love how these are packaged. The covers are lovely and each pastel has it’s own place in foam so that it stays put and won’t get harmed. The Pearlescent set was especially attractive. This would make a wonderful gift. It came with a special cover that looked like a box of chocolates. There are two drawers that slide open. Compact and portable for travel.
- Subtle and Unique Colors. I paint landscapes and like subtle colors, which are not easy to find in other brand’s pastel sets. I liked the large array of blues, turquoise and greens in the Sea Scenery set.
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