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Saturday, April 25, 2020

A Safe Way to Repurpose Pastel Paper

'Provence Impressions'            12x9            pastel            ©Karen Margulis
available in my Etsy shop $175

Some of my best paintings have been on repurposed pastel paper. By repurposed I mean taking a failed painting and manipulating in some way so that it can be used for a new painting. I have experimented with ways to reuse paper and I am always looking for new ideas always keeping safe practices in mind.

There are some easy ways to repurpose paper but they should be done with care. Brushing off a painting can create dust so it should be done outside over the trash and perhaps with a mask if the pigment is especially thick.  Some papers can get wet so the painting can be washed off. Some are concerned about washing pigment down the drain. I use pastels that are non toxic. But these are not my preferred methods for repurposing paper! My methods are perfectly safe!

I have shared both techniques in a recent Patreon video. So head over there if you'd like the details. I don't bother to brush off the pastel from the failed painting. Instead I use rubbing alcohol or water and brush it on the painting. This liquifies the pastel and created a neutral toned surface. I also like to brush clear gesso over a failed painting which does the same thing with the addition of some extra texture.  Both of these methods keep the pastel on the paper!

Today I am sharing a painting that was repurposed TWICE!  Yes. I did an alcohol wash over two failed paintings and the paper took the abuse. It began as an unfinished demo. Instead of finishing the painting I decided to start fresh so I used clear gesso to liquify and tone the paper with texture. I painted....or tried to paint....a closeup landscape with pink poppies and purple alliums. The texture was not working for my poppies. I love to paint poppies on smoother paper. Instead of being frustrated with the painting I decided to repurpose the paper again with rubbing alcohol.

The second failed painting

I decided to paint the lavender fields of Provence. What an amazing trip I had with special friends a few summers ago!  You can see in the photo below you can see the muddy toned paper and the initial drawing for the lavender field.

Working on a newly toned piece of paper

The alcohol dissolved the pastel and spread out the coat of clear gesso creating a bit less tooth. It was perfect for my lavender! Below you can see a close up photo.

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