I like to work with a range of different media for my artwork. I find limiting myself to exclusively one medium limits the range of creative possibilities to express my ideas. While getting my hands dirty with watercolors and inks, I also find the need to use pastels. Right now I reside in a basement apartment so I need to keep the dust debris down to a minimum. There are soft brands of pastels out there if you prefer working with as little binder as possible, but if you’re a klutz like me, the pastels quickly become dust after being dropped a few times.
Rembrandt Pastels have quickly become my choice of pastel to paint with for that reason. These pastels use a pure kaolin clay that is dense enough to survive short falls to the floor, a hard edge so it can also be used for solid marks upon the surface, but are also soft enough to blend smoothly with a gorgeous velvet touch. Unlike other brands, it really grips the surface well with little fixative needed, perfect for mixed media where the ability to keep colors exactly where they need to go is an important quality.
Pastels are a little messy by nature because they involve using your hands. A number of brands develop their pigments using heavy metals to achieve their colors. The chance of exposing yourself to these metals with pastels are higher than other mediums. These pigments can be absorbed through your skin so it is recommended that you use gloves, protective ware, or applicators when utilizing these heavy metal pastels. I was happy to find out that Rembrandt pastel colors however, are made without the use of lead, cadmium or cobalt, some of the leading heavy metal culprits still used by other brands. Please consult the Rembrandt safety data sheets for a detailed listing of pigment specifications.