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Thursday, March 01, 2012

How to Keep Your Pastels Clean While Painting

'The Magic of Color' 11x14 pastel ©Karen Margulis
painting available $175 Click here

Clean pastels are a must! There is nothing worse than picking up a pastel, making a big mark on your painting and realizing it wasn't the color you thought it was. It was so dusty that the true color was obscured. Or what about when you are painting and your pastel picks up a color that you proceed to transfer to the next place you paint. Dirty pastels are a recipe for making mud! So how can we c=keep them clean? I know artists who are much better at it than I am. They do a thorough wipe down of their pastels when they are cleaning up after a painting and the pastels always look brand new. I envy them bit I just don't have the discipline. So I try my best to clean my pastels as I paint and every once in awhile do a major box overhaul (much needed!) The other day one of my students shared a wonderful idea for wiping pastels clean as you paint. She uses pieces of pillow foam inserts!

Upholstery Foam Makes a Great Pastel Cleaner
I uses pieces of pillow insert foam to line my home made cigar boxes and I always have some smaller pieces left over. My student decided that these small pieces would be excellent to put at her easel so she could swipe the pastel in between strokes. She discovered it was a gentle way to clean the pastel without taking too much of the stick like a rough towel can. Soft and gentle and very convenient to the painting. Sound like a great idea. It gets better. She decided to take these pieces of foam and throw them in the wash when it was dirty and they came out as good as new! I am convinced and can't wait to cut some foam pieces to keep at my easel! Thanks for the tip Mayra!

I will be out of town for the next week with very limited internet access. I will be posting my paintings as often as I can but my art tips and demos will resume when I return in a week. I hope you will stop in to see my latest work while I am away!


kim denise said...

It's a great idea...but I can never take the time for it. I just rub them on my apron. I rarely touch a pastel to a painting without giving it a little wipe on my apron first. Yes, I go through a lot of aprons, but I have a whole stack of them (very inexpensive at WalMart), and I wash them regularly.

Sometimes, I miss the apron and wipe my pastels on my shirt...or occasionally on my face or in my hair, LOL. I always need a shower after painting :)

Karen said...

I do the same thing!! I get my aprons at the thrift store...I have a big collection!