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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why Going to the Beach is Good for Your Pastels

'Gentle Morning'. 5x5. Pastel

I left the beach this morning with souvenirs. Lots of photos, a stack of paintings, a feather and a few seashells, a Pawleys Island sweatshirt and a head spinning with memories. I left with something else too....a gallon size ziplock baggy full of sand. Pawleys Island has the softest sand. It has just the right feel. Not so fine that it coats everything yet not too corse and rough. It feel great in between your toes.
We discovered that the sand is great for our pastels. I gave my box of pastels a spa treatment several times.

My pastels were getting very dirty on this trip. I did use them a lot and since I was keeping things simple I didn't have my usual cloths to wipe them clean. I tried paper towels but they wanted to blow away and I didn't want to hold them. So the pastels needed a good cleaning.
Sand to the rescue! I did this in Zion National Park where the coral pink sand was sugary soft. Pawleys sand works just as well. I took my box down to the beach, filled the box lid with clean sand and shook the box gently. You could also use a baggy. After some jiggling in the sand the pastels were perfectly clean .
I enjoyed being out on the beach listening to the surf while I did this usually dull chore. In fact I cleaned those pastels three times during the week! There are some hazards though. Be careful of critters. I happened to plop down next to a crab hole and had to keep an eye on it to be sure the crab didn't want to come out! And when I went inside to get my camera to take this picture I came back to my pastel box surrounded by crows. I hope they didn't carry any pastels off!
So I took a bag of sand home with me. And when the cold of winter sets in I will take out my sand and give my pastels a spa treatment. It will remind me of the warm days on Pawleys sitting on the beach cleaning pastels!


Marie Ludwig said...

Karen, I am not the artist in the family, but I wouldn't miss one of your blog posts. You are a very talented artist and writer; I admire how well you express yourself in both mediums.

Karen said...

Hi Marie,
Thank you very much for your kind words! I appreciate it! I am happy to know that you enjoy my blog. Thanks for taking the time to comment!!
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

I love beach sand. Funny about they crows. They probably thought they'd found a smorgasbord.

tim moore said...

i have never really cleaned mine,other than with arag in my hand if i think of it..i should try it myself,since i live just about 5 miles from the beach...do yoh use it wrt or dry?..jyst a big damp?..just cover them with the sand and act like i am sifting for gold?..i too look forward to your posts...1st thing i read when i see it in my mailbox.

robertsloan2art said...

LOL the thought of a crow picking up your pastels. I think they'd probably drop it again immediately, it would not taste like food. But I can see why they'd be attracted to the colors and think maybe bugs were swarming!

So glad you collected sand for a pastels cleaning tray! I've been using corn meal for that ever since seeing it on a video, but good sand would work exactly the same way. I keep reusing the same corn meal, there's no reason not to. They still come out clean and lovely after a few shakes.

And your pastel cleaning stuff is full of memories too doing that.

Keep some of the sand clean too in case you try using it as grit to mix with gesso for a sanded ground. I know I would want to try that if I was somewhere the sand had that fine and even a grit! Too cool to paint the beach from references over a ground done with that beach's sand!