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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Studio Tip: Keeping Your Pastels Clean

'Walk with Nature'          9x12            pastel           ©Karen Margulis
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"In every walk with Nature one receives more than he seeks."  John Muir

I may have a dusty box of pastels but I do have to paint with clean ones.  In a perfect world I would carefully wipe each pastel clean after each use and put it neatly away in it's spot. It would be fresh and clean and ready to go for the next painting.  But I am not that neat or organized.  I paint with passion and when I am painting the dust may be flying and there is no time to be neat.

I can't paint with dirty pastels though.  I may contaminate an area or make unwanted marks in an area. I may not even know the color I am using if it is very dusty.  So I have a system.  I simply wipe off the pastel in between every passage. It has become second nature.....put down a mark, lift and wipe. It is rote by now.  Even if you are neater than I am it is a good habit to get into. It keeps your paintings fresh and clean. Think about painting a sky for example. As you get close to the treeline your pastel may pick up the colors of the trees. If you don't wipe and keep painting the sky you will dirty the sky with tree color. So, make a mark, wipe and continue painting.

 Some artists use paper towels for the wiping but I prefer to use a soft dish towel. I have a basket of old dishtowels and I use a clean one for each painting.  I throw it over my shoulder where it is handy for wiping my pastels.  At the end of the week I throw the dusty towels in the wash and they come clean!


Recently I came across a set of seven dish towels with the name of the weekday on each one. I had to have them. (only $5.99 at Bog Lots)  Now I have a new towel for each day of the week!  Sometimes it's the little things that make me happy!



Today's painting is a variation on the black and white photo exercise I did earlier this week. For this version I decided to make it Autumn!  This is 9x12 on Wallis Belgian Mist. See the Summer version here,

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

i do the same Karen...except i have 1 end wet on the towel .....love to clean my fingers often. but i think i end up with all the towels in the house..

tim moote said...

i do the same but wet one end to clean my fingers..the wife always yells cause i end up with all the towels