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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Leave the Wrappers on Your Pastels!

'Back to the Island'             8x10           pastel          ©Karen Margulis
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I don't want to take the wrappers off my pastels.  I don't even want to take them out of the box they came in. It's a nice wooden box and the pastels are so beautiful all lined up and nestled in the foam.

 Aren't we supposed to take the wrappers off?

You hear it all of the time (including from me)  Take the wrappers off new pastels. Break them into smaller pieces. Take them out of the original box and mix them with your other pastels. Arrange them by value and color to make it easier to paint. 

It makes perfect sense.  It is even great advice. It does help you paint more efficiently.  Using pastels in smaller chunks without wrappers allows you to actually paint with them...make broad marks of color.  When the wrapper is on you only have a small amount of pastel to work with. You tend to draw with them. Sometimes you might even get more detailed than you want.  Which is great if that is your intent.

Keeping the Wrappers on doesn't work for my way of working but I still don't want to take the wrappers off! 

My prize from the PSA show a few years ago
 I have this wonderful 108 piece set of Sennelier pastels that were a part of my prize at the PSA show a few years ago. I haven't used them. Why?  Because I don't want to take the wrappers off! I like to take them out occasionally and just look at them.  That is silly....but I know you understand!   I have plenty of pastels so I don't need to put them in my big box.  So I decided today....

I won't take the wrappers off but I will use them.  I am going to use them for my spices. Read about spicing up your paintings in my blog post here:http://kemstudios.blogspot.com/2014/01/my-favorite-way-to-spice-up-boring.html

I don't need the wrappers off to make the small and bold spice marks.  Sennelier pastels are very soft and very richly pigmented. They are perfect for making juicy spice marks!  Have a look at my marsh painting and see if you can spot the spice marks. I can use them with the wrappers on for the purpose of creating final marks and details.

I am leaving the wrappers on!
I still recommend taking the wrappers off your pastels especially if you are still building your collection. But it sure feels good to leave them on occasionally!

Today's painting is 8x10 on uart 600 with an alcohol wash underpainting using the discord colors for the underpainting.


Susan Herbst said...

When I first started pastels, I didn't want to take the wrappers off either! It freaked out the very small OCD person inside of me. I was made fun of (ok, maybe not made fun of, but certainly given odd looks). How will I know what color to replace?! Or what brand!? EEEK!
So, I broke them in half and kept the half w/the paper in it's original box. It still gives me a bit of an anxiety attack if I think about it. So, I know how you feel!

Marsha Hamby Savage said...

Good that you showed this one, Karen. Honestly, those Sennelier pastels are so apt to crumble, it is a good reason to not remove the wrapper unless you just have to do so. They are wonderful pastels for the "spice" as you mention. And, honestly again, it is another reason I don't buy these particular size of Sennelier unless I just have to! You give good advice!

Karen said...

Thanks for commenting Susan! I recommend doing just that to my students who are reluctant to taking the wrappers off!

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing Marsha! You care so right that this size Sennelier are prone to crumble since they are soooo soft. I think this is a good solution to take advantage of this wonderful but hard to manage softness!

Judy Baker said...

Beautiful marsh painting and I'm enjoying your informative blog. Thanks for the info.

robertsloan2art said...

That is a great idea! Beautiful photo of those Senneliers too. I can see why that box is so tempting just as it is. Makes sense - for the spice marks you need small marks and this sets them aside for that.

Senneliers were always finishing pastels for me too, from the point I first got any. I had some Rembrandt and some Nupastels and went from hard to soft, it was great discovering the different textures could give different effects. These are wonderful.

So tempting, really need to start working on getting the books out so I can expand on my already ludicrous collection!

pattisjarrett said...

What a great prize! I wouldn't want to take the paper off, either!