I am suffering.  This morning I travelled to an Art Group about 35 miles away to give them a demonstration on pastel painting.  I am usually quite well-organised but life is a little fraught at the moment because, as I type this, George is repacking his bag (for about the fourth time!) because he is off on a homesit by himself for a couple of weeks.  Anyway George`s activities and the careful laying out of stuff meant that I couldn`t lay out my art gear.  Yes, we live in a very small bungalow – it is that small!

I haven`t used my pastels for ages and was dismayed to discover the state they were in.  A friend had given me an art box minus the inners (which keep the pastels separated and thus clean) and I had happily tipped my expensive handmade pastels into the new box.  Oh my!  They were filthy having rubbed against each – black against white (you get the picture?)etc.  There was no way I could turn up to teach with such scruffy looking pastels.  There is one cure – I got an empty icecream carton and tipped some rice into it.  In went the pastels I intended to use for the demonstration  and. after a few shakes there they were – clean as new.

The Art Group secretary has visited my art website and told me the painting they would like to see reproduced.  `February in Spain`.  Without going into too long a story, this was painted from a photograph I took in Spain – in February (of course) whilst on a passenger ferry crossing the River Ebro.  There was a wonderful weak sunshine reflecting on the river which was broken up by the wake of the ferry.

Armed with clean pastels, my special abraded paper (sanded surface which I nearly always use) clipped to a board to go on my easel, wet wipes (essential to clean hands whilst working) I headed off.

There were about 30 people in the group – they were a wonderful audience.  I beavered away.  Now when I use pastels I usually blend them in.  The pastels I use are very soft and don`t respond too well to a tortillon or rolled paper blender – so I use my fingers.  As I said earlier, it is some time since I used my pastels – ouch!  I have hardly any skin left on my fingers on my left-hand (yes, I am left-handed) and, dear reader, it hurts to type.  Ouch!

6 thoughts on “Ouch!

  1. Pastels are something I know little about, but am trying to learn since “inheriting” a very large amount of them (there are four packing boxes full). So, it totally amazed me to read about your trick of putting them in rice to clean them! I’m sure I’ll need to know that when the time comes. And, I’m also pleased to read that I have found a fellow southpaw in you! Lefties rule!!


    1. All the best people are southpaws Becky! Lucky you inheriting all those pastels. As a rule of thumb, they come in varying degrees of softness – the round ones are usually the softest and the square ones the hardest. Don`t fret if they are broken `cos the broken edge makes a `pointy` bit to put in detail. You can also experiment with wetting them – either applying them to wet paper or wetting the pastel already applied – have fun!


      1. That is such helpful information–I tossed out several flats of pastels that had been broken up and I thought were useless–what a waste! And wetting them??!! I would never have thought of that! I will have to try that–I think most of what is there are more square, and there are many, many colors. Thanks for the tips!!


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