View Full Version : Harlequin Handed Harry

03-02-2016, 08:44 PM
Do you guys have any tips on working clean? I wind up with every color from every pastel on every other pastel when I work. Also my hands. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

03-02-2016, 11:18 PM
Something that I have found that works for me is this; I have a bowl filled with rice on my work bench. I put the pastels that I am working with in that bowl. The dry rice chips away the dirty lair that builds up on the pastels. Sometimes when the pastels are getting overly grimy I give the bowl a shake. It is not a perfect answer but does help clean pastels.

Another possibility:
Doug Dawson suggest a setup with rice and a basket. There used to be instructions on his website http://www.dougdawsonartist.com/ I hope that helps.

Equus Art
03-03-2016, 07:23 AM
I keep a soft dish towel close by and wipe each stick off gently when I am finished using it and also wipe my hands. Keeping some wet wipes nearby can be useful when your hands really get grimy, especially when using very soft, darker value pastels.


03-04-2016, 03:47 AM
I keep a towel handy, usually a bath towel or a yard square gauze towel I got a package of. One end of it I dampen and let it drape over the arm of my chair. I keep wiping my hands on the damp end and dry on the dry, use the dry area to wipe off pastels if they're dirty. I try to use it continuously while painting, but don't always remember to. At least it makes cleanup easy at the end.

When the whole box of pastels is grayish I don't bothr dampening but just wipe them off with the gauze towel before painting, then use a fresh towel while painting.

03-04-2016, 10:09 PM
That's what I love about pastels! Like a kid in mud. I keep a pack of wet wipes nearby to clean the hands occasionally, that usually keeps the sticks fairly clean while using. If they need cleaning from the box I wipe them gently with a paper towel.

03-07-2016, 07:43 PM
WHY would you want to be CLEAN??
If I didn't have smears all over my face and pants my spouse would think I wasn't drawing! Like gardening with latex gloves - how can you get one with the earth and the pastels without touching and rolling around in it?

03-10-2016, 02:49 PM
To help keep my pastels clean I put them into their boxes vertically. I have two of Mike Mahon's Pastel Porter boxes. One is the largest he makes for studio work, and the other is the smallest he makes for field work; or in my case the one I take to the classes I teach as it is very light weight. The pastel sticks are placed vertically into foam openings, and when you pull them out the foam cleans the sides.
As I work, I put the sticks I'm using into a well cleaned styrofoam tray. I throughly wash and bleach the white trays that meat and other food products come in to use for this purpose. It also helps to put a folded paper towel in the tray to keep them from easily rolling into each other. This doesn't keep them completely clean so when necessary I wipe them on an old hand towel; or my apron! Putting the sticks into a tray is also helpful as I'm working because I'm not searching for the right stick of pastel in amongst the dozens of similarly colored sticks in my storage box. I leave them in the tray until I'm absolutely certain my painting is finished.
As for my hands, well I begin by using a barrier cream on them. Gloves In A Bottle to be specific. Then as needed I wipe them on a damp terry cloth towel. The barrier cream makes it much easier to clean my hands. Some people prefer using wet wipes, but I'm not too fond of the feeling of those wipes.

CM Neidhofer
03-11-2016, 01:03 AM
I have a couple of the very soft eye lens cleaning cloths to wipe my pastels with, as well as fingers if just a little. They can be rinsed out when they get too dirty and dry very quickly. I use a damp wash cloth for hands and fingers for more cleaning.