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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Breaking in New Pastels

'A Glorious Day'           5.5 x 7.5           pastel            ©Karen Margulis
I have officially broken in my new Girault pastels. Really. I have broken them in half and taken them out of their little foam nests. It wasn't easy. I really did cringe as I broke the first one in half. But it got easier after a few and it was necessary. Why you may be wondering?  I'll get to that but first let me explain why I chose to add these Girault pastels to my collection.

My new Giraults. These are the Richard McKinley Plein air and Neutral and Friend selections
 Girault pastels (pronounced like Ji-row or Jee-row) are deceiving. They look like they would be hard. They are not hard but their shape allows for a lot of control. They go on like a soft pastel which is surprising at first. But they don't crumble like some softer pastels. These qualities make them very versatile. They are excellent for all stages of a pastel painting from block in to fine detail.  I have been wanting to add more to my collection so I decided to apply my recent award money to purchase these two sets.

I only used a few of the pastels for this painting
Why Break the pastels?

  • I find it easier to manipulate a smaller piece of pastel. I can use it on it's side or use the tip or top edge. A full stick doesn't feel as good to me.
  • I save the other half in the original box so when I run low on a color I have a replacement and can order another if I want.
  • I can fit more half sticks in a travel box. I am bringing these sets to Iceland so I can get 100 colors in half the space when I break them. 

Have you tried Girault pastels yet?  Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Eileen Sullivan said...

I'm fairly new to pastels and trying to teach myself how to use them. (You are one of my teachers--both through your blog and the demos I bought recently.) One thing I've noticed about the medium is that I always want to try brands I haven't got yet--sort of "pastel greed" or addiction. Does this happen to everyone? I've been greeding after Giraults since I first learned about them but I have no excuse (or funds) to justify buying them right now!

Karen said...

Hi Eileen. Yes it is a common affliction to always want more pastels. You really don't always need them and it is a good practice to make what you have work but new pastels are wonderful!

Lisa Graham said...

Your paintings are so calm and peaceful and I am in the places you paint as I gaze at them.

Thank you for the info on pastels. I like pastels...the looks of them...but working with them is not fun for me. I think it's because I have cheap set and they are hard. I will look into these.

Now following you on Etsy and Twitter as well. Love your work!

Karen said...

Thanks for discovering my work Lisa! I appreciate your comment!!