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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Keeping Safe with Pastels

'Among the Wildflowers'             8x10           pastel         ©Karen Margulis
 It came in the mail yesterday. A gift from my students. I am so lucky to have such wonderful students and friends. Thank you Sandy Springs class!  So what did I get?  A big bottle of the barrier cream 'Gloves in a Bottle'.  I am happy to have it.  I admit that I don't pay much attention to safety while working with pastels.  I take basic precautions such as never blowing on a painting and wiping down surfaces and vacuuming daily. I avoid blending with my fingers. But I don't have a filtration system or wear masks and gloves.

  I have read that some pigments can be absorbed through the skin so it really is in our best interest to protect our hands. But I don't like to wear gloves....even the finger cots that some of my students use.  So I have made due with using lots and lots of baby wipes. I am constantly cleaning my hands with wipes. And that leads to dry skin. So what choices do we have if gloves are bothersome?

Try using a barrier cream!

Choices for protection...Barrier Creams
There are a few choices in protective hand creams available including ArtGuard Barrier Cream, Invisible Gloves, Marvelous Mariannes SkinSafer Barrier Cream and EZ Air Invisible Care. Check them out at Blicks.com HERE

I gave the Gloves in a Bottle a try for the first time today and I noticed a big difference. The pastel wiped off my fingers with no effort at all and now my hands feel noticeably softer. It will be the perfect compromise for me....safety vs. comfort....the best of both. It is just a matter of making it a habit.

If you have tried any of the other barrier creams I'd love for you to share your recommendations.

Read more about the hazards of pastels in an article shared by Chicago Artist Resource

About today's painting:
8x10 on Uart. This is a painting I did using the dusting method. I rediscovered it while organizing for the Open Studio Tour and it is one of my favorites!


Susan Vaughn said...

Hi Karen! I use the blue, disposable Nitrile gloves when I paint, either in oils or pastels. But, I have discovered I don't have to use my fingers at all when painting with pastels when i use the Sofft Tools palette knives and sponges. I like your idea to use the foam tubes to create your own painting tools. Great idea and so economical! Also, I have found that the PanPastels do not create as much dust, although I use them together with my regular pastels. I also vacuum periodically throughout the painting process to keep the dust off the floor where my dogs walk. I really enjoy your Friday videos and blog, Karen! Thank you for sharing your knowledge and beautiful paintings! - Susan Vaughn

Cris K said...

I use "Udderly Smooth" udder cream. Seems to work, when I remember to use it.

robertsloan2art said...

I have Gloves in a Bottle, it's pretty good stuff.

However, I do use Pan Pastels and I really don't worry with those. It doesn't get on anything but the paper towels I use to clean the sponges. I have come away from a painting with entirely clean hands and no color anywhere but on the painting and the paper towels.

I did discover that I need to use real paper towels. I can't substitute a rag, facial tissue, toilet paper or my jeans. The sponges clean off best on paper towels that have a bit of texture to them. It's a quirk of the material. Since I stopped using paper towels for cleaning up and switched to rags for green reasons, I wound up buying them just for Pan Pastels.

I almost treat the Pan Pastels like I would the watercolor underpainting in terms of safety. It's not quite the same thing. Of course I don't lick the brush on watercolor underpainting either, anything with pigments takes a bit of common sense.

Kendall Kessler said...

Beautiful work!

pattisjarrett said...

Thanks for the link. I printed the safety info to have on hand. I like the look of the dusting method.