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When working with soft pastel, I really enjoy using charcoal and the Terry Ludwig darks for my pastel underpaintings. I then use the ultrasoft Sennelier brand soft pastels (I have a large set of half-sticks) for hue and light values. I prefer to use a paper with some tooth such as Wallis, UArt or Colourfix, but I have also made my own using my mat board trimmings and Liquitex Professional Clear Gesso, which was just as pleasant. I enjoy the old standard Canson paper for life drawing sessions.
I also really enjoy working with my conté crayons (hard pastels) and Stabilo CarbOthello pastel pencils, so the work shown to the right represents a wide range of life study and studio work from my photography from hard to soft media.