For over a century, the name of French brand Sennelier has been synonymous with high-quality artists’ soft pastels. Over time, they have developed pigments and expanded their collection in response to artists’ demands, and Sennelier Extra Soft Pastels are now offered in an astonishing range of 525 shades. As well as being available individually, the pastels are sold in sets of varying quantities, of full and half sticks. For this report, I tried the Plein Air Landscape set of 80 half sticks, a superb selection of colours which is compact and neat enough to take out and about but so comprehensive that any outdoor artist would find it equally useful for flower garden, farmland, forestry or seascape as subject matter. The word ‘pastel’ derives from ‘paste’, which gives a clue to its manufacture process. Sennelier pastels are made from fine pigments, with mineral lighteners for tints, which are formed into a paste using a small amount of transparent binder, then shaped into sticks without compression and slowly, naturally, air dried. This process ensures their soft and creamy texture that applies easily with the merest touch to the paper. Sennelier Extra Soft Pastels are visibly porous and lightweight to handle, yet deliver rich, definite marks.