View Full Version : Pastel Lifestyle - Storing and Painting

09-08-2014, 03:52 AM
I live a pastel lifestyle. I'm pushing sixty, multiply disabled with chronic fatigue, chronic pain and mobility limits that vary randomly with stress, weather and what I just ate. Retired by one too many disabilities after a life of constant stress trying to keep up with abled people when I didn't realize life was easier for them, I have all the time in the world to do anything I want. Except get out of my chair unless the weather lets me.

That shaped every lifestyle decision. Some things I wanted all my life are completely impossible, scratched off the bucket list. Nature hikes with plein air painting - not going to happen. Ever. Even in good weather and nice climates. Even painting for tourists on Fisherman's Wharf turned out to be impossible - the good climate wasn't good enough to give me even one day using the license while I had it. If I ever do sell art for a living again, it has to be online or through galleries and agents.

I have all the time in the world, but I don't if I have to spend too long cleaning up in order to start painting. I don't if the weather nails me into my chair and supplies aren't in reach. I have a collection of what's now well over 1,200 unique sticks and pieces and will probably not be able to see and use all of it at the same time until and if I get a subsidized apartment large enough to spread out one or two large tables and have all of it flat at table height. That would be nice but I'd still rather it be a studio - hate wasting the space of a bedroom or spending time in one when my supplies and books aren't in reach. Sometimes "stuff is two steps from the bed" makes a difference to whether I can use it or not.

I know folks here have varying spaces from "a freestanding studio building the size of a garage" to spare rooms, basements, attic spaces, kitchen table, part of a couch. My ideas work best for really small but undisturbed spaces that don't have to be shared with someone else's pursuits. Kitchen table painters have to be able to clear away completely before food prep starts, for example.

All of my pastels are spread out, the majority of them in sets boxes that stack and get restacked as I use them. I rotate my supplies frequently. I think of using something, get it out, put it on top of the stack, a couple of days later I use the Pans and then go to doing something else. Sketchbooks and papers and boards and more pastels boxes get stacked on it. A home care worker moves the entire stack in two or three trips to clean off the big tub sitting under it and clean everything, then re-stacks it at random and I have to kind of look at the side to see what's where. Every few months the stack gets too big to be manageable, I get a good day and deconstruct it. I put it all away on shelves and in drawers again.

Then it all creeps out as I go hunting the drawers for this and that, sooner or later all my favorites are there in stratigraphic order again. Sometimes this is literally by size of the box.

A friend gave me a 48 color set of Gallery Mungyo Soft Squares - the ones priced between Soft Round and Semi-Hard. Not the cheap-cheap Standard ones, bottom end soft square artist ones. They're nice for sketching. I used them a whole lot more than some brands I liked better because the 48 color box is a manageable size, lid sits right under it on my lap, the range is big enough for WDE sketches and I had the Bee Bogus Recycled Rough pad handy right next to me.

Last year I got The Motivator - 120 Unison half sticks, now moved to the clear top aluminum box my 72 Professional set lived in. That's now living in its box mostly as spare halves. The big half sticks set fits more or less on my walker seat and I can reach all the colors, see hue-value easily with its organization and get them back into place easily while working. When they turn all gray I clear them off with some paper towels and just the sight of that set makes me want to paint. The opaque lid is tucked under the box with the top foam inside the aluminum case, so that I can see them and they make me think of painting.

It doesn't hurt that Unisons are a favorite brand.

But that usually takes moving a lot of stuff out of the way and moving the walker over to support it close enough to me to reach the sticks. Other pastels in equally large boxes suffer the same logistic fate. Some full range sets of hard sticks stay in drawers or bottom of the stack because I need a low table to support supplies. My lovely Winsor & Newton set of 200 became usable on Good Days just like the Unisons because I broke all the sticks and swapped halves to put all the colors in each of the trays. One tray is out with foam over it being a studio tray, and they do get used on good days now. Often with a big hard pastels set for underpainting, then W&N for a couple of layers, then Unisons for finishers.

But what about days that aren't good days? Getting out the large-box sets means clearing the area around my chair, putting some stuff away, then going to the Stack of Large Sets and put some of it on the bed to get at the layer I want, stack them on the walker and block my way out of the chair with the walker to use it as an access table.

What's emerging now is that what's in my backpack to take with me every other Wednesday to my clinic visit gets a lot of use. Little boxes like 12 Terrages or 12 Blue Earth or the three Sennelier six packs that are still in their original boxes get used. I have a stack of little Ludwig boxes that I want to consolidate someday into a better single box and then get a few open stock to have a full range in Ludwigs... but I need to be careful not to make that box so big it winds up on the Stack of Large Boxes.

I consolidated half a dozen smaller sets to move here, into a Small Dakota Traveller. 80 Sennelier half sticks, all the open stock anything and samples, a Greens Dakota Sampler, 60 Vintage Rembrandts and 60 Pure Tones Art Spectrums that included ten extra soft near-whites all went into the pretty box I've posted in several threads already.

Using that box is starting to have problems because I'm not used to recognizing brand and texture by feel. I reach for the right hue when they're all together and wind up with a super soft Sennelier during an early layer when I need a medium soft Rembrandt or Art Spectrum. I'm beginning to rethink how that box is organized, that maybe I should put all the Sennliers and Ludwigs into one side...

Or, find another box for Everything Else and put all the Ludwigs into the Traveller with the Senneliers so that everything in THAT box is Super Soft, it then becomes the Super Soft item on the stack. Stops being a catchall for all loose pastels and has a given texture throughout. That might be a better solution than buying a 90 color Ludwigs box and adding exactly 14 more Ludwigs to fill it.

What I realized today is that my original habit of "organize by set boxes" really worked for me. There's a logistic reason for it. I do not use all my pastels all at once. I grab the ones with the texture I want for that painting or that session of that painting. Small sets get used as themselves and sometimes become the interesting limited palette. No matter how cool the Heilman boxes are, I might reconsider saving up for a large one to consolidate everything - because I might easily get lost in it if I consolidate everything and lose track of texture.

Heilman Sketchbook 1 or 2 might be a lot more useful. That or a roll of duct tape to start making moderate size pastels trays out of foam core like the Donna Aldridge project, if they're for home use.

I buy a lot of field boxes and pocket kits and this and that with the idea of going out plein air painting. But when I really use those things is on the sick days when making it across the room for my coffee once is a major hike and the little thing is right near by and handy along with a good journal to use it in. I use my going-out backpack like a taboret sometimes - it's stuffed under the walker, I can root in it and find what I need fast.

So... how would you organize a lot of different pastels and other mediums within a very small living space that's a studio with a bed in it? What's your storage and painting space? Do you keep an easel set up all the time or not? And if you do have a whole room devoted to it, how do you lay that out and organize what's easy to get at or not?

I know I'm extreme but other people's space saver hints have helped me in the past getting to this point in my organizing. I'm also reorganizing this month on my next really good day, so any suggestions will be greatly appreciated whether they're workable or not. If they don't work for me it'll probably be a disability thing and they'd be fine for someone who could bend, or stand at the sink washing up, or walk across the room more often.

09-08-2014, 05:12 AM
Robert - briefly - one of the reasons I am visiting New Orleans is to talk with Paul Harch who runs a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber centre. We are hoping to set one up in London.
Not sure what he charges, but if you can afford it, it could help you A LOT. worth considering. Certainly cannot hurt - it is only oxygen, but that is a big "only" - it can do amazing stuff.

Barbara WC
09-08-2014, 05:14 AM
Hey Robert. Seems to me one issue is the fact that you have someone who comes in and helps, but may not put supplies back the way you organized them. Another issue you mentioned, is you like to keep your sets separate. And, that some days getting across the room is a difficult task.

One thing that I have in my space is one of those rolling, Sterilite drawer units. It is lightweight and affordable, can easily be moved around, and has great storage capacity. Like this: http://www.target.com/p/sterilite-5-drawer-storage-cart/-/A-13794467#prodSlot=medium_1_30&term=rolling+cart There are many versions, mine has 4 drawers, two small, two large.

I don't store my pastels in the unit, but a lot of my other art supplies are in it. Handy to have one single unit, easy to move, and I usually use the top to put my working pastel sticks on, or my watercolor palette.

If you were to make the foam core boxes, you could customize the size to fit inside the Sterilite unit drawers. Then you could keep them in order, and close to your bed. The aids wouldn't disturb your sticks...

I think your idea of grouping the Ludwig and Senns in the Dakota box a good one, but if you are in a flair up, can you easily lift the box? Perhaps the foam core boxes might make more sense to be lightweight and easily accessible.

I haven't gotten around to my Heilman double sketchbox review yet. Sweet box, holds about 150 half sticks, mixed brands. With pastels, my box weighs 4.5 lbs. I am so delighted to have gotten this one, and not the backpacker. I was tempted by the larger backpacker, but just carrying the pastel box, 4 lb tripod and 1 lb easel, from the parking lot to the figure studio strained my back and shoulders, which bothered me for an entire day! Now I have a wheeled cart to carry everything, even though most folks would have no problem carrying under 10 lbs of supplies! My plan is to eventually get maybe the single sketchbox for plein air painting, and just work small.

For those of us with physical limitations, we do need to adapt our supplies for they are easily accessible.

And I don't know if this is an issue for you, but if you have any pastels or other supplies that you only marginally like, think about removing them from your stash. When space is limited, one needs to decide what is the most important. I am having to do this now with my other passion, I am a fiber artist and my collection of wool is out of control and preventing me from keeping a neat work area. I need to sell off some of the wool, which is a very hard decision, but I don't want to work in my art room because of the clutter. I consider all of it precious wool, but admitedly, some I will probably never get to in the next decade... time to let go of some of my precious wool...

looking forward to what responses you get from others. I am finally moving out of all original boxes from my pastels, and into a 3 drawer wooden unit like Dakota sells. I ripped out the foam and put in a thin nonslip rug pad instead, it uses less space. I'm sorting by value in the various slots and enjoying the results so far... I also have a 2 drawer unit too. All those will take less space than using the original Ludwig, unison, etc boxes... the drawers fit my Ludwigs, Unisons, sennelier, schminke, and could fit the Rembrandts, but I keep them separate. The drawers do not fit Mt. Visions (which I no longer have, I couldn't breathe when I used that brand!)

Looking forward to what others will come up with!

09-08-2014, 08:57 AM
Hi Robert,
I had no idea of your limitations, yet you are so prolific and care so much about other artists. You are a very generous person.

This year, I discovered food allergies that have drastically limited my lifestyle and diet: corn, rice, eggs, and dairy - basically all prepared food. I only cheat a bit on the dairy and eat cheese or butter. I very rarely eat out these days. Regarding the corn, it is in everything, from syrup to starch to high fructose. Even the Vitamin C or "enzymes" or maltodextrose found in everything is corn. The paraffin on apples or peppers to make them pretty is derived from corn; the air puffed into bags of veggies to keep them from sticking together is corn - none of these are listed in the ingredients, so people get "corned" all the time and don't even know the source. Plus, anything milled in the same facility or on the same machines winds up with corn. Another example is the biodegradable plastics touted these days, which are of course made from corn.

From groups I am in on Facebook, I have learned a lot about management of food allergies and I eat what feels like a normal diet for me - I'm not even getting into how it's in lotions, shampoo, household cleaners, bug repellant, anything. For food, I essentially just shop from around the edges of the grocery store and eat whole foods, trying to go to Farmer's Markets, kind of like a paleo diet. I should buy stock in olive oil.

Anyway, your mention of diet triggered some serious empathy. Another problem I have is that most meds have a filler of corn starch, but I do not have the funds to have them compounded for me specially, so I live with that constant irritation, edema, stiffness, acne, and puffiness, all low level, but there and I am desperate to not do things to make it worse so that I react even more as I age. I do not want to have to stop going to movies due to the odor or have it trigger my asthma, as my other allergies do. It's ironic - benedryl has corn!

My storage tip is to convert boxes and tins so that they contain many brands together. I got the 120 Creatacolor sticks and broke them, but they are still waaaay too many. Those I have in the long jewel boxes that Dakota sends their color sampler sets in - I have one of cool and one of warm. I have more of those long jewel boxes, because they are what fit the Soltek. Two contain misc softer brands, one of greens/browns/golds and one of mixed colors of Unison. (I bought a couple hundred 1/3 sticks from someone here and many are Great Americans.) These long fit well into a long bag with handles that also carries Mount Vision, as they are the same size. I also have two of the Sennelier half stick boxes of 80. One of them is now blues and pinks, the other is a mixture.

So, at present, I spread out many boxes of partial sticks, but they are pretty much arranged by color, or temperature, and hardness. I almost always have my set of Polychromos out, too, as it is an easy set to open and carry, with a huge variety of colors. I use them as many people use Giraults - to blend and reshape. My workhorse box is from a Rembrandt set and I have over 100 mini-sticks (or chips) that I use both plein air and at home. This is very light, but has a great variety.

I guess my tip is to repurpose the boxes you already have. And to divide them up because there's no reason to pull out a whole box when you only need 1/2 or 1/3 of a stick. That way, most of the weight sits on a shelf someplace and your lifting is confined to what you actually need. I also have several candy tins that I lined with foam and the bumpy drawer liner stuff. They contain varieties. (I am always looking to substitute for that Heilman Backpacker I want so much.)

I am glad you still type prolifically, because I really enjoy your posts.

09-08-2014, 09:02 AM
I wish I some suggestions, but my stuff piles up just like yours until I finally dig down through the mess to find what I want--if I haven't forgotten that I even have what I want because it's been buried so long! My oil and acrylic painting is done in the tiny bedroom I call a studio, but there's no room in there for pastels, so they have migrated into the kitchen and dining areas. I keep a couple of those cheap, lightweight easels up--those ones that are so easily adjusted with clips. I'll watch this thread to see what others come up with.

09-08-2014, 01:18 PM
Hi Robert. I know what you are going through, my wife has similar limitations, but not quite as bad, but I do understand what you are going through and the frustration.

I recently purchased this: http://jerrysartistoutlet.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=advanced_search_result&search_in_description=1&zenid=7767b6a542b6f12f6bcfb9dc939f4db6&keyword=3+drawer+storage+box

It's been mentioned before, but a 3 drawer wooden box, can hold a lot of pastels. you get your self 3 of these, one in the middle, and one on either side of you, and you can fit all this into a tiny walk-in closet as I have...just to give you an idea of how little space this takes up. The drawers pull out completely so if you ever wanted to spread them out, it's easy. I am able to fit the Richeson handmade and Unisons in this tray...the height space varies a bit from drawer to drawer, but as someone pointed out, if you remove the padding, and replaced it with felt, you can fit any pastel you want in there. This way you can dedicate lets say, all the top drawers to hard, middle to medium hard, and bottoms to soft? Just a suggestion.

The tops are fairly flat, and will give you some "desk" space to hold your pan pastels, or pencils...possibly even a small table top easel.

Another thing that I have done, is purchase from Walmart, small plastic storage containers..and when I mean small, I mean like a 3x4 clear box, with a locking lid. $1. I keep loose pastels in there and perhaps can supplement your set up..easy to see what colors, and you can separate them however you want and they stack perfectly.

Hope this helps give you ideas.

09-08-2014, 02:52 PM
Bonnie, you made me miss the sets boxes I left behind in Arkansas. But you're right. That big Unisons box that I have 72 Professionals set in, without its foam it could hold second pieces of those and some others besides. I am reorganizing now, so I could take inventory of all the boxes I have and see about reconsolidating some of them.

If I did that, I might be able to take the 30 Gallery Mungyo Hand Rolled box and put Unison halves into it to have a travel set of Unisons/Hand Rolled. The range is semi-all right, but why do I need both halves of 30 sticks when I could have at least 60 without even dropping the slotted foam? Slotted foam is a bit more protection in the backpack.

I'm lucky, I have a pepper allergy and milk sensitivity but cooked or processed dairy is all right. I still get butter, cheese, even powdered milk isn't too bad especially if it's cooked into something. I know what it's like trying to eat around something that's in Everything. I don't like to eat out. Pepper, as in normal black pepper, is in everything. I thought it was hard to avoid but you just took the inedible cake with corn. Ow ow ow!

Life with weirdness ... it makes you think, doesn't it? Allergies and limits are very common but the food markets and food system hasn't caught up with that. There should be better labeling laws.

Barbara, I used to have one of those Sterilite rolling racks. I liked it, but that was on a linoleum floor rather than carpet. It also became a little unstable once fully stuffed with heavy items filling all the drawers. I had some better results with the SpaceCart from Jerry's Artarama. Loved that thing, it was so sturdy that with the shelves stacked solid I could still easily roll it and it didn't wobble. I also had a cart that I bought at a thrift shop. It was wobbly when I got it but as soon as I tightened the bolts it was as sturdy as I could get anywhere. I miss that dang thing. It was prettier than a lot of them - a little fancier with wooden ends and looked homemade. I replaced the nuts with pretty brass finishing ones - but the cart while easy to pack still wound up in one of the late boxes.

So I have a good deal of good storage in another state. I might think about getting another SpaceCart instead of waiting forever for that package, it wouldn't hurt to have an extra one. Shelving is a little easier for me than drawers. I know that sounds odd, but trial and error proved it.

Part of the problem is that my time on my feet is what's limited. The time it takes to bend and open a drawer is twice the effort of just reaching something on a shelf, so it's easier for me to have boxes with lids that stack and keep shelving vs. drawers - the dresser is relatively deep storage, anything with drawers is. Stuff on shelves is easy to see and get at.

I don't have any pastels I actually don't like. I have some other mediums like watersoluble oils that I don't use often because of the logistics of setup and cleanup - when that's solved like the W&N Big Box problem I might use them more often. I need to have stuff in reach to use it.

Weight isn't usually a bad issue for me, certainly not with the Small Dakota Traveler. I lift that easily. What I can't do is stay on my feet much. I often carry things that weigh a bit more than comfortable on my left side, sling the shoulder bags on left shoulder, use both hands to pick stuff up. Going out, I have a walker. If I'm carrying anything more than fits in my pockets, I put it on the walker and use it like a shopping cart. The walker is incredibly useful and also has a carry bag under its seat. It is a comfortable seat when I'm out too - the limit there is that I need something besides my lap to set the pastels on, or to use a pastels box that fits in my lap. That's where the Heilman Single Sketchbox becomes so tempting.

If I put enough pieces in it to have a nice palette - which can be done in 60 or less easily - then I'm going to be able to have both them and the art in my lap in a fairly comfortable way. Or put it on a little lightweight tripod, since that does have a tripod connector if I recall right. I had a tripod from an old digital camera that my daughter's blood grandfather left her - the camera was very low resolution and wound up given to a grandkid, the tripod would be okay for a pochade. So the Double might get a tripod set up, the Single could possibly just fit in lap the way cardboard boxes do.

Back in Arkansas I did have second halves separated and stored in set boxes while first halves went into the Small Traveller. I find I miss the second halves now because I could put those into other combinations for something a bit easier to lay out than the Small Traveller. It works fine on the floor but I need an actual table to spread it out full - and don't have one when I'm out. A stool might do the job, but I need to rearrange it and get that texture category by box or by section worked out.

I've been beating my brains out figuring out what to do with all my Ludwigs, about 78 of them now, love them, want them easier to use. Combining those with the Senneliers in the Traveller is going to rock - and then get a smaller range of Unisons mixed with Gallery hand rolled into the Gallery box, start storing second halves from some of the new small sets on the shelves in big boxes and it could work.

I already did the great Purge of Things I Don't Do Any More in the move from Arkansas. The last of my costume and medieval recreation textile hobby stuff - the best fabrics and trims and tools - all went to my daughter who still makes costumes and crafts. She's more into it than I am, she even spins and knits. I used to sell velvet pouches for dice or medieval belt pouches, embroidered with a design that sold often - but I got better money selling pastel sketches and very bored doing the same design over and over and over.

I also collected books and every time I moved, I'd lose most of my books. Nearly all the fiction but hang on to reference books, usually art and photo references but also some science references on nature. Now those precious last references and favorite fiction volumes are boxed in Arkansas but I'm starting to get more art books on my Kindle, because the new Kindle has better screen color than even my laptop. Not quite as good as the print versions of my North Light collection but loads better than not having them and needing space for them. All shelving except one small end table stand is dedicated to art supplies.

My science fiction writing takes only the laptop. I don't actually do printouts. I'm mostly a paperless writer. Rough drafts are files taking up no physical space when I add one, even if they're long. A few extra things have accumulated in the three years I lived here, but I didn't even buy many CDs - most of my new music is in file form in the laptop or Kindle.

Blayne, that sounds like an interesting layout. Makes sense though. Oils and acrylics need space for paintings to dry and a lot of other things, pastels out in the kitchen and dining areas makes sense. If like a lot of people you don't actually use the dining area for dining except on holidays it can turn into a great adjunct studio.

I've gotten a couple of good new ideas already and looking forward to more! No need to get rid of pastels - but what goes in drawers, what goes on shelves easy to reach vs. shelves harder to reach is a continuing churn. What I use most often ought to stay in easy reach.

09-08-2014, 03:04 PM
Wow... had no idea of your debilitations. Sorry to hear and my sympathies to you sir.
Like others though I work in very small somewhat cramped areas in two adjoining rooms. The room I'm in now houses my wrap-around computer desk that incorporates a book shelf and 1 drawer. The wrap-around top has the printer, scanner and fax, more books and reference photos, a set of oil pastels(I think but that's probably buried under my leather craft stuff) and an always open for business set of mixed soft and hard pastels along with 7 or 8 tubes of acrylic paints a bunch of brushes and various pastel and regular art pencils and small tools. This room also houses my wine making hobby set up on an old home-made computer desk just to my right behind the easel with two 5 gallon and two 3 gallon wine jugs and box of essential wine making additives. I have been using the tops of double staked bottled and aging wine boxes with a small square piece of hardboard as an auxiliary table of sorts. I use the top of my 36 bottle wine rack to the left as another table. The easel is set up just to the right of the narrow access aisle between the 2 rooms (Thank goodness for the rollers on my chair) I roll back and forth between the 2 rooms so I can multi-task different projects I have going at the same time. Whew!
When I come down here I usually stay for several hours so I have a small "dorm room" type refrigerator with my favorite beverage maybe a small block a snacking cheese (extra sharp cheddar). I don't have much space to work in and not a lot of people get invited to my... lol... dungeon, but what I have I make the best of I think.
The last thing I have to offer anyone is to make the most of what you have. It sounds like you are doing just that. And just a tickle... you're probably organized the way I have seen a lot of artist types including myself.
My modern conveniences are a wall-phone and an overhead ceiling fan and the fridge of course.
At 66 and just enjoying it all.

09-08-2014, 03:13 PM
Jake, just saw your post! Yes! I have one of those three drawer pastel boxes plus a two drawer one and a friend sent me a one-drawer one that's actually a former Winsor & Newton set box. All three are stacked together across the room. I might get a few more of those. Dakota has three drawer ones, Blick has a two drawer model but doesn't carry three drawer ones any more.

I have those small storage tubs in a stack, the top one has a drawer and the ones under it are just storage tubs with snap on lids. That's my end table for coffee, pencil sharpener, toilet paper, keys and a stack of little Ludwigs boxes at the moment that's letting me use Ludwigs as Finishers. Mystery Box wound up there and then I decided to inventory Ludwigs so I got out all the other little Ludwigs boxes and stacked all together on top of that. Small Dakota Traveller is under my chair usually, right now just under the walker.

Tubs like those are absolutely great. I have them ranging from big to shoebox size with different things in them. I use the large one for non perishable food that comes in cardboard boxes, to keep vermin out of cardboard boxes. IE the oatmeal, bag sugar, pasta in boxes, things like that. It's not hard to get into if I lift the entire stack of Large Pastel Boxes And Layered Sketchbooks Etc. off of it.

That takes two passes and putting the stacks on the bed before putting it back together. Getting out a layer of that stack takes one pass, lift everything that's on it, get out the needed Large Box, put the rest back. I try to stack everything in that stack flat, there's two smaller flat box columns holding up the Big Flat Boxes but I keep them even in height.

Too many different pads of cool pastel papers, everything from Pastelmat to Artagain, Mi-Tientes and Bee Bogus Recycled Rough. Also my Pan Pastels trays of 20 are stacked evenly on both sides.

I need to reduce that stack a bit to make it a little more manageable. But most of what's in it is stuff I like to use often. I'm thinking of rearranging a large shelving unit the hotel manager gave me that I saw in the hall when some people moved out. Right now it's accumulated a lot of empty containers and other food related stuff but stored empty containers are not as high a priority as getting at good pastels boxes easily. So I might wind up moving the containers off the shelves, keep the big cat food tub there but really prune the "household containers" things a lot. Or at least get them more out of the way.

The empty peanut butter jars and little pudding cups and so on are useful. If I do jello or pudding I can put single servings in the fridge, when I get rice I don't need to keep it in the bag, similar with pasta etc. But I don't cook! Why is all that stuff right handy when I hardly ever use it but the pastels are awkwardly in the way of the dresser?

I need serious reorganizing and today is mostly planning. I might put the printer way over there and free up the second table. If I plug it in it'd go on that power line anyway where the television used to be.

I gave the TV back to the hotel - it was gigantic, about a 28" screen but not a flat screen, an old huge console one. I watched TV for about 3 months and then never watched again, having seen all the episodes of Law & Order that I could stand. The commercials drove me crazy and PBS was heavy on cooking shows and stuff... there just really wasn't much on and I have Netflix for movies. That freed up a good sixth of the room and the skinny little end table with one shelf in it got freed up to move out of the corner in favor of the big tall shelving unit.

Much more spacious now. I have enough floor space after that to lay out a full size 32" x 40" mat board and cut it down, though it's a little easier using the 20" x 32" size and I started using those instead. I have the top of that unit as a flat storage space for big boards too with Ari's cloth kitty bag on top of it - out of the way but easy to see and grab if I have to contain my cat for going out or room being debugged or something.

The big-boxes pile has gotten as tall as the tub under it is, which is a bit too much. So time to sort that out and really do something about it.

09-08-2014, 03:19 PM
"I already did the great Purge of Things I Don't Do Any More in the move from Arkansas. The last of my costume and medieval recreation textile hobby stuff - the best fabrics and trims and tools - all went to my daughter who still makes costumes and crafts. She's more into it than I am, she even spins and knits. I used to sell velvet pouches for dice or medieval belt pouches, embroidered with a design that sold often - but I got better money selling pastel sketches and very bored doing the same design over and over and over. "

You never cease to amaze me. Rob! Learning something new about you every day....and also something new FROM you every day, as well!

SAS Designs
09-08-2014, 04:19 PM
Rob! I am sorry to learn of your health problems, and yet you manage to share and contribute so much valuable information to all of us!
THANK YOU! You really are amazing.

09-08-2014, 04:38 PM
Pepper? Oy! I would say that I cannot fathom, but I really can.

"Cheers" with some water!

09-08-2014, 06:36 PM
Our closet is a small walk in is converted to art supplies storage new and painted canvases and my o2 concentrator (in use) and a cane and a walker no longer used but there for emergency . Have a 5 drawer dresser for paper paints assorted and associated items ,and finished work. My desk is 12 feet away along the wall desk with lap top pastels , colored pencils, watercolors and acrylics and essential supplies. By the bed sits my desk top computer with all my books.

I re purpose containers all the charcoal and graphite drawing sticks and pencils a leftover vom volt ohm meter carrying case. I use coffee cans for water and lids for palettes or prepackaged salads trays for acrylic or watercolors. Colored pencils also a re purpose router bit box. Then a box for erasers ,erasing shield, sharpeners and associated items not sure what this wood box came from I use it with most art projects. My brushes tape sponges watercolor pencils and oil pastels are stored in a 3 drawer plastic set made for kitchen or pantry room 18 " high x12 wide x 18 deep sets on shelf under desk top beside it are sketch books and watercolor sheets small ones. In the desk drawer digital camera paper towels more paper sketch books and pastel pads .

Now my pastels are in mainly a couple 3 drawer storage boxes this stores my hard and mediums with the blicks and art spectrums and other tried companies with pastel pencils mix of 4 brands. The pastels like Schmincke or Sennelier I keep them in their original boxes. I will start a painting I will pull the sticks, nubbins or pastel pencils needed and keep them in a tupperware container till piece is done.

I use an easel only for acrylics . Pastels I do flat and tap the extra dust off in trash (I dont keep the dust maybe down the line) this minimizes the loose dust. I can do them at my desk or reclined any where . I have been told pastels are bad for me and shouldn't do them . Bad air pollution , dusty or smoky air tears me up. I haven't had trouble with pastels bothering me at all but oil paints or strong chemicals will, even strong perfume gets to me . And when out in traffic to long or diesel smoke those are real bad. I keep a hepa running 24/7 in the studio / bedroom.

My finished pastels I took the shipping card board protectors from ordering in paper and refashioned them into boxes with lids making a safe flat storage .

I try to minimize energy usage and maximize out come . I tried own grounds , now I buy paint on type now , finding paper for one purpose works for many uses cuts storage and I spend less time looking to find type I want and makes buying easier.

All my art storage needs to be k-9 and feline safe and k-9 and feline approved.

09-08-2014, 06:48 PM
Rob, the solution is to mail me half of your pastels, and I'll "hold" them for you...lol Keep the colors you use most..:)

Feel better!

09-09-2014, 03:55 AM
Robert, here are a couple of horizontal storage systems that I find easy to use. I like how I can see everything at a glance. The tall white unit is actually 6 cubes and it fits great behind a door (if I were taller there would be room to stack 1 more).

09-09-2014, 04:04 AM
Edited these pics but can't seem to get them rotated properly, sorry.

09-09-2014, 10:08 AM
Steve, wow that's a lot of cool things you do. Well organized! It makes sense using the tops of wine racks and wine paraphernalia. Wine involves "get it right and then wait a really long time" even more than oil painting. My son in law brews mead. Mmmmm extra sharp cheddar, love that. I rotate what cheese to get on different shopping trips, like blue, extra sharp cheddar, sometimes a milder cheese like mozzarella, Swiss, almost any cheese really except the ones with pepper.

Rick, I love those 2 or 3 drawer pastel storage boxes. They're handy and compact, one of the best ways to store pastels at home. You reuse the shipping boxes from papers and mat boards too! Awesome.They're well designed for exactly that. You just described my approach - minimize energy usage and maximize output.

I do what's in reach, and the more variety I have in reach the easier it is to do something like daily art.

Elizabeth, no link or picture to see your horizontal storage. I've got some under bed tubs that I use for some things, currently empty because they're some of the hardest storage to get at involving get down on floor, pull out, open up, bend way down, sort through it and get up again. When I got the dresser most of the contents went into the drawers.

Jake, LOL right! Nice try! Naw, don't have my second halves here, most of them are in Arkansas where my daughter has them. Either packed to send when she's got the time or gave them to her. Did swap second halves for other pastels a couple of times here at WC though, that is a good way to expand a collection!

I read on a thread years ago that a good way to save money on pastels was to shop with a friend, break the sticks and get twice as many colors each getting both. But that can work after the fact too if you have a friend with a different brand you want to try.

09-09-2014, 10:25 AM
Elizabeth, just saw it! Love those stackers! Yes, they'd be fantastic for me. Vertical shallow shelves organizing everything from 9 x 12" pads to boxes of pastels, pencils, whatever would be great. Likewise that interesting wooden shelving unit. I used to have a Lobo easel that had a big wide shelf under it. I loved that easel and was even using it as one, painting vertically - because it was so easy setting it to seated height and opening the top boxes on the pastel stack layer right below it on the big shelf.

I don't have room for that style of easel in this room. I tried setting up my field easel and it wouldn't work. I might be able to do something with the Andersen swivel easel again when I get it because that was very compact. But the Lobo had a much bigger footprint.

Thanks for the pics! Glad the attachment worked, even sideways I can see how that works. Thinking vertically is the best way to maximize space.

Barbara WC
09-10-2014, 12:43 AM

Where did you get those fantastic white, stacked storage cubes at? The look like a small footprint, but LOTS of storage. My art/craft room is busting at the seams, and I don't have room for much more shelving, unless it was something tall and slim like this...

09-10-2014, 02:40 AM

I was given mine and really do like them. I have seen them at Michaels which can be pricey, but they often have storage 40% off which makes them quite reasonable. I prefer them stacked vertically, but they can be placed side by side, really any way. When stacked vertically, they have little dowels you can place in holes that fit in the top of one and into the bottom of the cube above. This keeps them stable. If I still had little children I would probably secure them to the wall too.

There are also other matching cubes that coordinate with these; some have drawers or vertical dividers. The first site below shows some of the options.



09-10-2014, 09:23 AM
Thank you! I might get some later on. I like it that they're MDF rather than plastic or particle board. Particle board organizers tend to be flimsy and fall apart after a while. I used to have some but left them in Arkansas - had some tall narrow ones that didn't have shelves so close together, just cubes but pretty useful nonetheless. Plastic ones tend to suffer under my level of stacking, as papers and liquids and supplies tend to be heavy. Or if I fill them with books they collapse.

Really, I have to wonder about the flimsiness of plastic drawer units and what people put in them. I eventually had to use those just for clothes.

Sarah Rose
09-10-2014, 12:00 PM
Robert, I have nothing to add about storage but I wanted to tell you that something that has made a HUGE difference in my life is getting a small mobility scooter. You may not want one, or feel ready for that step, but for me it helps immensely. No longer do I think about how going to the grocery store will use all my energy for that day. Even chores in the house are easier to do. I can carry almost anything, and for long distances, too. I can drag heavy things around. I can vacuum and mop and not have it ruin the rest of my day. I can take my plein air kit outside and sit on my scooter and paint. I can 'walk' with a friend and carry on a conversation at the same time. I didn't realize how hard walking with crutches was getting for me, and how much more I'd be able to do with a scooter and not use up all my energy just doing daily living tasks. I have a very small scooter, it gets into our bathroom with a small door that wheelchairs can't get through. Anyway, someday maybe you might find one useful.

I hope you are able to get the subsidized apartment, it sounds like a little more room would improve your life a lot.

09-12-2014, 06:58 PM
Sarah Rose - good idea and I do have one. It's got its own limits though. Wrangling it onto and off the elevator and getting one of the front desk guys to get it out over the three front steps of the building hoping I will get back in before the guy with the bad back who can't do it comes on shift gets a bit hefty. It vastly increases my range but wipes me out like walking with that added effort.

I did use it on my one plein air trip to Golden Gate Park with mixed results. I needed to reorganize my kit from then. I used my Pans and had them and a drawing board with me. Spread out all four 20 color trays on the three foot deep granite rim of a wetlands garden in a pond, with ducks, did a painting there that came out rather well with a local friend. But carrying all the stuff was tricky as I needed to shove the drawing board down on my feet in order to have it with me. No back basket.

I love having it, but will get more use from it if I get a subsidized apartment in a building with a ramp. Till then I use it in bad weather for excursions to the clinic or if I'm going any farther than the tobacconist at the end of the block. There are some places I'd like to get to but in good weather the walker is easier to get in and out of elevator and on best days I just use my cane to get to the tobacconist.

I stopped using it for the clinic because it's narrow ut not that small - and they shut down one of the two elevators which means the other is always hopelessly crowded and slow. i hated having to use up a good third of the elevator when i took the scooter there, but will go back to it when they're done renovating the second elevator. First one is done so now they have closed the one I used to use. Same difference. Very inconvenient.

Inside or in stores I find myself getting up a lot because of things out of reach. No room within my room to use it at all though, everything is too tight in here.

It's a funny thing about space though. Too much and I am run down from walking around inside too much, also accumulate too much stuff. This room would be just about right with about 3 feet more space on one end, or maybe 6 feet more so that with rearrangement I could get in a pastel table. I have had numerous apartments.

Too much space and Stuff Accumulates and there's too much work and time spent keeping it livable. If I needed more home care hours on account of cleaning a bathroom and kitchen, those are hours I have to spend socializing with home carers and not doing art or being online, but supervising and saying "no don't move that, I do that" and paying attention to everything. Only to still find stuff like the canister lid dropped down behind the fridge and stuff like that.

My life is a tightrope. It's more like a balance beam here in exactly this room exactly this climate - but it can get out of balance very easily and then the slightest thing can mean months of ruin and permanent losses.

So to a large extent, what I'd enjoy most would be to stay here and the city subsidize THIS room. It takes two years for me to recover from moving. I would have to pack all of it myself or lose important stuff to others doing it badly. I'd then have to trust others to actually get it to the new place and they will wreck stuff because people always do, usually something hard or impossible to replace. I lost several of my favorite framed artworks in a move - they just vanished including the best colored pencils paintings I've ever done, a cheetah head and a 16" x 20" scene of velociraptors attacking a hadrosaur in a shadow-sun dappled redwood forest. Best dinosaur painting to date too, signed on the back board by Ray Harryhausen when I met him at a convention.

Moving is a lot of trouble and I've done it a lot. I like my room and lifestyle. I just need to rearrange again and refine it. And maybe someday get a place big enough for pastel table.

Sarah Rose
09-20-2014, 02:22 PM
Ah, ok, I understand a little better now. Even a few stairs can really mess with one's independence when it comes to wheelchairs and scooters. Older buildings don't always lend themselves to ramps either. I also try to conserve my energy where possible, I have very little and like to spend that on my creative endeavors and cooking. It's easy for me to overdo things, physically, and then it takes days, sometimes a week, before I recover my energy. I wish I had less stuff, but it is so emotional to 'get rid' of things, for me anyhow. If a person could get by with very little in the way of things it would be simpler I guess. I am just not there yet.

09-20-2014, 05:28 PM
I know, and I've lost most of my stuff too many times in my life. It gets really hard when I've had to replace stuff I lost in moves by limit on what I could bring with. But in larger places Stuff Accumulates.

This room would be just right with space for a table. It's nearly that. Might just need rearranging, but it'd have to be the right size of one.