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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Try a New Pastel Technique

'Firefly Summer'         9x18         pastel         ©Karen Margulis
available $175
I went through a pastel dusting stage a few years ago. Everything was fair game for a dusting of pastel. It was a great technique for wildflower meadows and snow. After awhile it became too much and I stopped dusting. Today  I was reworking an old marsh painting (above) and decided that it might benefit from some firefly dust!  It was a lot of fun to dust. Maybe I will revisit the technique in other ways.

Have you tried the dusting technique? Here is an older blog article  that describes the process. Enjoy!


'Blowing in the Breeze' 16x20 pastel ©Karen Margulis

I love trying new techniques with my pastels. Dusting has become my new favorite technique to use and I am having fun discovering new ways to 'dust'. Dusting isn't a new technique to pastels. Bill Creevy talks about it in his book 'The Pastel Book'. Degas used the dusting technique in his work. I was playing around with dusting at the same time that Richard McKinley posted about it on his Pastel Pointer blog. Richard gives a wonderful description of the technique HERE. I am still experimenting but this painting is an example of how I used dusting.


Tools for dusting with pastels
Glassine paper and a rolling pin make dusting easy

For this painting, the pastel dusting comes at the finish. When the painting is almost done and just need some final touches I lay it flat. I choose the pastels (colors and values) that I think will give me the effect I want. I am using Jack Richeson pastels to dust because they are large and not too soft and crumbly and the colors are very vivid and rich (I also got them for a great deal so I don't mind shaving them into dust!)
  • I shave my pastel using the side of a palette knife. I vary the pressure to create fine dust to chunks depending on what I would like.
  • I mix colors and vary the fineness of the dust to create more interest.
  • To set the dust I simply cover the painting with glassine paper and roll it with a pastry rolling pin. I like the size of the pastry rolling pin. I get better control than with any other tool.
  • For this painting my dust got too thick and I covered up too much of the painting. It's easy to get carried away! But it was actually a good thing. I took my palette knife and drew back into the dust creating stems and grasses. Cool!
To see another painting of mine that utilizes dusting see this blog post HERE.

3 comments:

Sherry said...

That is an interesting technique, Karen. I would love to try it some day. I seldom work with pastels any more, but this makes me want to pull out the old box and have a go. :o)

robertsloan2art said...

I've seen this technique occasionally and it's interesting. Cool about the Richesons. I haven't tried those but they do run big - seen other people's ones!

Patty Lynn said...

Yes, The Pastel Book by Bill Creevy. Page 80 Dusting...Interesting technique, and your paintings show how beautiful this technique actually is!! Just a thought, but you should have your own book out on Pastels...Yes, do a book, Karen!!!
Blessings to you!