Yes, there's dust, but I can't say it bothers me. I don't use protection against inhaling pastel dust but probably would if I used it on a daily basis. Wearing old painting clothes and a latex glove helps against being multicoloured by the end of a session, but I still manage to look like I've been through a colourful dust storm by the time I've produced something.
I use a mix of pastels from inexpensive to higher end brands. Of course the more expensive pastels for the most part give me richer colours that are predictable and the inexpensive ones are adequate but don't always perform as I want in terms of pigment. This, of course, is a trait that moves through all mediums. You get what you pay for.
Available on Daily Paintworks
Pastels are easily transportable if you limit your palette. I don't want to take hundreds of colours with me if I do any plein air work and pastels fit the bill for ease. Of course the purists may be horrified as my pastels aren't laid out in colour families or in single layers when they go on the road. Yep, I'm a "toss the in a container and go" artist. Again, if I used them on a consistent basis I may be more careful in how I manage them.
This is a sketch of a old park in St. John's, Bowring Park. Its a fabulous place, full of old trees with paths winding through and interesting bridges and benches often constructed from spruce tree saplings. There is an overpass that separates the original 'old' park of 50 acres from the 'new' land of 150 additional acres. I never considered it as a beautiful bridge and in truth it is more functional but in an early morning with the light right, it takes on a new air.
I've never been much of a landscape painter but may consider a small series later in the year and pastels provide a quick, transportable sketching medium to bring back to the studio as the basis for oil paintings.