I will provide several different brands for all to try. If you don’t have pastels, and prefer not to purchase any until you have tried them, then this will be a good oportunity for you. This offering of pastels will certainly suffice to produce a good quality painting. One thing you will learn when starting to paint in pastels is that the more colors you have the more freedom you have to express your desired effect.
If you want to purchase your own for the workshop then I suggest that you invest in the items listed here.
nu pastels (hard pastels)
A set of 96 sells for about $75.00 and will provide you with an excellent range of colors. Many artists produce wonderful works with just this kind of pastel and so can you. Many pastelist also purchase Rembrandts which are softer than Nu Pastels and are a good cost effective starter brand. Kits in various configurations are available.
Soft pastels like Great American, Sennelier, and Unison are used in the layering process and fine tuning of a painting. Each brand has its own attributes. Having some really dark colors is important and Sennelier makes the best darks.A dark blue, red, brown and purple are good ones to go for. You could also use some lighter colors of soft pastels for highlights. Unfortunately these Pastels can be expensive, so I recommend purchasing HALF STICKS. The lower cost will afford you a wider range of colors for the money.
paper and supports
Paper like Canson Mi Teinte is inexpensive, works quite well and is available in a variety of colors. I prefer to paint on darker colors like black or dark greys and blues. Your choice of painting will determine the best the paper color. For instance, for a sea painting a blue paper would work best. Sanded papers are my choice for surfaces because they allow for many more layers of pastel, which is what gives a pastel painting its depth. I prefer Art Spectrum sanded paper in black. Other good brands are La Carte and Wallis. These are all available on line.
additional materials needed
A 20X30 foam core board, paper towels,artist tape,a 1 inch foam brush, a portable easel, a small rug or thick bath towel to put on the floor under your easel to catch any stray pastel dust (provides a soft place for your pastels when you drop them. Otherwise, they will shatter like glass!), and most important, a few photographs that you would like to paint.