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Monday, August 03, 2020

Art Hack: Put a Push Pin in your Pastel Box

'A Bright Spot in my Day'                 9x12               pastel                 ©Karen Margulis
available $165

I am always on the lookout for art tools. It doesn't matter where I am shopping. I have even found great mini alligator clips at the grocery store! I call these finds my Art Hacks. I have found some great ones and have been introduced to many by my fellow artists.  I am introducing a new weekly blog topic devoted to these hacks. Enjoy this week's Art Hack!

Close up of the tangle of grasses and wildflowers

A few years ago I took a great workshop with Stan Sperlak and he introduced me to this week's tool.... a stainless steel push pin. Not your ordinary thumbtack or cheap-o plastic pin. These were long and substantial push pins. Humorously Stan gave us each one and called them sterling silver. We earned them at the end of the workshop!  I continue to use these pins in my work. Read on for the ways a push pin can be used for pastel painting.

Using a push pin for precision pastel removal

  • Push pins can be used to remove pastel with surgical precision. Simply scrape away the offending pastel mark. I painted my flower too fat. Instead of brushing it out all I had to do is scrape off some of the flower giving it a trim!
  • Push pins are great for straightening a horizon. It is challenging to get a nice straight horizon. The more pastel you add to make it straight the worse it can get. Use the pin to scrape away a thin line of can gradually get the horizon straight this way.
  • Push pins are helpful for adding texture. I used the tip of the pin to remove bits of pastel in my flower revealing the dark pastel layer underneath. This creates a feeling of texture in the bloom. In the daisy painting I used the pin to give the suggestion of veins in the petals. 
  • Push pins make great grasses and stems. Scrape linear marks into a grassy area to create the illusion of grass. You can also make a fine stem with a pin. See the photos above. It's like scratch art! Tip: You need a thick enough layer of pastel for this to work.
  • You can use a pin to attach your paper to your drawing board 
Order some push pins and keep one in your pastel box. How can you use a push pin in your work? Share in the comments!

1 comment:


Very beautiful floral paintings !!!
Bravo Karen !!!