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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

An Amazing Way to Erase Pastel and Correct Mistakes!

'Summer in the Mountains'        9x12       pastel     ©Karen Margulis
purchase painting in my Etsy shop $145 click here
 It is so simple. I don't know why I didn't think of it before but Liz Haywood-Sullivan generously shared this amazing tip at her workshop in May. I just now got around to trying it out and I was blown away. This item will now be a studio staple from now on.

If you don't have some canned need to put it on your shopping list. It is the best tool by far for removing unwanted pastel from your paper. My usual method of removing unwanted pastel was to use a stiff brush and brush out the areas I wanted to fix. But that didn't remove all of the pastel. I know that some artists have luck with kneaded erasers but I never did.

The canned air removed the pastel all the way down to the paper! I was amazed! Let me demonstrate for you.

Here is a painting I wanted to fix. I didn't like how the shapes of the trees masses were so similar. They looked like bookends. I wanted to change the shapes. I tried to correct the shape by using sky color to carve into the trees but the pastel was too dark. All I did was make mud.

I remembered about the tip Liz gave us about using canned air. It is sold in office stores and is used as a duster for electronics. It shoots out a strong burst of air through a thin straw. This makes it very precise. You can use it to remove pastel with surgical precision.

Here you can see that I was able to remove the layers of dark purple and green from the trees all the way down to the bare paper (Uart)  Now I could easily make corrections without making mud!

I love this new tool. Now there is no need to fear you are painting something wrong....corrections are only a blast of air away! There is an important precaution though: USE THE CANNED AIR OUTSIDE AND POINT THE PAINTING AWAY FROM YOU! Do not use it inside. It will put a cloud of pastel dust into the air and you don't want to breath it all in. Be safe and go outside!


Mermaid Sue said...

That's a GREAT tip! I love it!

Anonymous said...


Susan J Wachob said...

This is so helpful now I know what to ask for for all holidays and Christmas! Girl's gotta get some of this! It will be so helpful...Second chances AND save on paper costs;-) you are good to share Karen! Love the painting too .

Nan (Brisbane Aust.) said...

Karen I had seen an airbrush remove thin lines of acrylic paint (just with the air pressure)
but did not relate that to pastel.
Am going now to try my airbrush on some pastel work. Thank you for all your wonderful tips and tricks.

Bronson Hill Arts said...

I haven't dabbled in pastels (yet), but it is a great tip to keep in mind.

But, mostly, I wanted to say how lovely this painting you've shared!


Anonymous said...

I assume you intend the use of canned air as a tool to erase only dry pastels.
Is that correct?
If so, it might be a good idea to be clear about that.
I’m a devoted follower of your videos!

Karen said...

Yes. I only work in dry pastel so all of my posts and tips refer to dry pastel only. Thank you so much for watching my videos!