View Full Version : How do You Keep From Wearing All Your Colors?

07-13-2005, 11:14 AM
somehow, when i paint, i end up getting pastels all over my jeans, shirts, face, hands, feet- everywhere- then i run out the door to get the kids from somewhere and pop out of the car looking like an alien... am trying an apron- my oldest said- mom! are you BAKING? (she bakes better than me and i do the slice and bake stuff if it ever happens), anyway, took a better look at the apron and said- i should have known, pastels!!

So have any of you learned what to do to stay relatively clean, besides not doing pastels at all? :p

Ruth Grinstead
07-13-2005, 11:25 AM
Well I haven't mastered this one myself and have occasions when I look like a toddler who has raided mummy's makeup bag :D .

In an effort to control things I have a golf towel clipped to my easel and a tub of baby wipes nearby.


07-13-2005, 11:26 AM
Apron, rags and baby wipes is my secret. I picked up a whole bunch of denim aproms (I find they are less prone to shrinking than plain cotton ones) and I wear one while I paint so I can quickly wipe my hands off. If I am switching to different colours, I wipe down my hands with the wipes...and the rag goes on the table to swipe my pastel across when I am done with it.

Of course, I haven't found a way to keep turquoise pastel off of my face. I once attended an art show of a friend with turquoise smeared across my chin and neck. Fortunately I saw myself in a mirror fairly quickly and was able to get it off before many had noticed. And this only seems to hapen with turquoise and olive green.

07-13-2005, 11:48 AM
I have a wet washcloth laying on my drafting table a foot from my hand and I use it constantly. My hands get really dry by the time my art session is done and I use lots of hand cream to bring them back to life.
I like the apron idea since I like the idea of wiping my hands on cotton in easy reach.
With all these ideas, I bet I still end up with a smear or two on my face...always got an itch or a hair in my eyes and forget to wipe the chalk off my hands. I'd be an easy target for any of those charcoal on the face gag props.

CM Neidhofer
07-13-2005, 11:53 AM
I've given up trying to stay clean. I have a couple of old shirts and shorts/pants that I wear when I'm using pastels. They're really quite pretty theses days! lol


07-13-2005, 01:55 PM
If there is a good secret I have not learned it! I get covered all over, clothes, hands, face, etc. I have two old T-shirts and two old pairs of slacks I wear strictly for pastel-work, and they get covered all over. In the two life drawing classes I've had so far I've been teased by one of the other students for having pastel all over my face by the end of the class!

Worst of all are my fingernails. I just can't seem to get the pastel out from under my fingernails, so they constantly have a green or blue or whatever tinge to them. :)

Debbie C.

07-13-2005, 02:17 PM
I have heard that using a barrier cream will keep the cuticles and under-nail area from getting too colourful. When you're done and the barrier cream has been removed, it should be somewhat cleaner than your current situation. I've also heard that dragging your nails over a bar of soap before you start helps...I've never tried either, but it might be worth a try.

07-13-2005, 02:40 PM
Debbie- I had forgotten all about the fingernails- yep, the green is ALWAYS the color that gets under them, so you look like you have a nasty fungus...

I have the rags, barrier cream, and baby wipes, just get carried away and forget to use them...the face IS a magnet for turquoise- but it matches most of my jewelry :rolleyes:

well, all of my clothes are old and ratty, but that way I can spend more on pastels and my goats and dogs don't care- the cats are another matter! I like the 'give up on staying clean idea'

07-13-2005, 02:55 PM
I use a large long apron. I prefer that to changing clothes 'cause I come in & out from painting alot. You might try getting one like the denim that doesn't look like cooking. The barrier cream also helps hands clean up better & faster. I still have times I don't cover up good & get dirty. On July 4th I had on this cute top but I thought I could paint a few min without the apron & stay clean. I had 4 or 5 intense colors on me before I knew it. :rolleyes:

07-13-2005, 03:39 PM
I've got four or five aprons, one I got from Artisan last year, and the others from Hobby Lobby. They cover well enough (to the knees at least) and have pockets, which I find useful. When actually pastelling, I wear thin surgical gloves...my hands just get too dry otherwise altho I also use the barrier cream or lotion when I think of it. I have learned that there IS no such thing as just "touching up" a spot or whatever without getting smears everywhere, so I TRY to get the apron and gloves on to start. All that being said, I still have a few mysterious dark dark green and bright bright red streaks across a couple of my sleep shirts (I seem to tend to pastel when lounging around the house and not when dressed to go out, thank heavens).

07-13-2005, 04:38 PM

well...I work at a store that sells mostly auto refinish paintings including PPG (american brand from St.Pitsburgh); your car may even have glasses from them.
So...I'm used to be carefull about paints, and believe me, auto paint is MUUUCH worst than pastel :-)
Using pastels I don't usually mess up. I use a glove, a regular paper napkin and I put the pastels I'm using over some toilet paper, which I also put on my easel's trays
Of course that I may distract and touch the nose because I feel itching or something like it, but anything but that I can't remember.
I could point a method tough : one of your children will hold a wood spoon and each time you touch something you should not with your hands dirty, you'll get whacked on your hand. I bet you'll learn quickly :-)



07-13-2005, 04:54 PM
Oh, Jose, you're evil! LOL Give a kid a chance to whack Mom with a wooden spoon??? They'd love nothing better than to have carte blanc to whup up on Mom! Even better, let's try electrodes that shock the pastellist every time he/she touches their face! THAT would curb the habit in no time too! Hahahaha! ZAPPPPPPPP!

07-13-2005, 06:08 PM
I am immune to spoons, volleyballs, frisbys, remote control flying devices, goats and all other such stuff hitting me. Used to it. However, the electrodes- I am afraid to touch things in the winter- really really hate getting shocked. one time with that method may work... will get a much bigger apron, try to wear it- the williams sonoma one from my sister in law looks like a goner for the kitchen !

Kathryn Wilson
07-13-2005, 06:16 PM
I have a great heavy denim apron I bought when I took a pottery class. If it can take heavy clay, it can take pastels. My fingernails never look right - maybe I should use black nail polish - :)

I use baby wipes to keep hands clean during painting - I tried using the surgical gloves, but my hands get all hot and bothered.

07-13-2005, 06:25 PM
i tried gloves, masks, barrier creams at first. scared my husband half to death. i need to look for one of those denim aprons- i love denim... i find myself staring at perfectly manicured nails on fingers and toes of my kids' friends moms in awe- i do like the lime green color and purple nailpolish - black would be good. green would match the under-nail bit though....

07-13-2005, 09:02 PM
Well, I'll grant ya...the gloves are hot, which is why I usually go through two or three pairs per session...but they're cheap enough and it's worth it in the long run. Purples you make me laugh at the image of your husband looking in there and seein' ya with gloves and mask on in this cloud of dust...LOL...he probably thought you were building art bombs or something!

07-13-2005, 10:16 PM
I have an outfit that i wear (tho sometimes i forget) that is from the days when i worked in hospitals and nursing homes. actually its brand new , never got around to wearing it when i worked, Its those nursing scrubs, i only wear the pants and lab coat tho. the lab coat is a bit big for me (got it for free from someone else) and its a snap button coat so if i need to get out of it quickly to go somewhere i just yank it off lol. The pants however, (this is if you have ever worn scrubs) just fall right off when ya untie them lol so one can get out of those quick too when ya need to change and go somewhere.. I too use babywipes, sometimes i wear gloves, dont like to tho cause of the sweating inside of them and when i blend i cant "feel" the blending happening and i really like to lol, but long fingernails keep that from happening too. So i just wear the scrubs most of the time and i dont feel guilty if i wipe my hands everywhere lol.

Paula Ford
07-13-2005, 10:28 PM
I gave up a long time ago. Now I don't even wear an apron. I just go with the flow and get pastels everywhere :D

07-13-2005, 11:38 PM
I don't.

And you know what people say when they see me? "Ohhh- what are you painting now?!"

Seems like a fair trade, to me....

07-13-2005, 11:57 PM
ohhh - I used to have a great lab coat that I got at a thrift store for 50 cents and it was the perfect painting coat. hmmm...I should track one of those down again.

07-14-2005, 12:29 AM
That's probably another reason I don't mind the gloves so much...I don't finger blend at all usually and am not fond of the dry powdery feel of the pastel. Now, one of those lab coats sounds like the ticket!

Piper Ballou
07-14-2005, 12:32 AM
getting dirty is one of the appeals pastels have for me, must come from playing outside all day in the dirt...if I get to dirty I just change into more old clothes

Kathryn Wilson
07-14-2005, 06:35 AM
I've looked at those hospital smocks the nurses wear - I've seen them at thrift stores here. They just didn't seem long enough for me - but I had thought of the lab coat, that would be just the ticket if I could find one.

07-14-2005, 06:53 AM
Look on ebay, theres a couple sellers on there that sell brand new nursing scrubs. Or look in the phone book, but be prepared to pay a fair amount, the two labcoats that i had were 20 to 30 a piece, but they were a must because they came with pockets and such. Which i use the pockets for my popcorn packing that i need for blending in one pocket and a travel size pouch of babywipes in the other, along with ends and outs like pencils, erasers etc lol. im half tempted to sew a hand towel to the pants tho lol, cause i keep losing my hand towel when i just need to wipe my hands quickly. Shouldnt hurt ya think? I did however sew in a small pocket on the inside of the jacket to hold my mp3 player, the arm band that comes with those are not comfortable, and i love to listen to music when i paint. Im sure there could be other possibilities to the use of a long labcoat...

Stephen McCall
07-14-2005, 08:03 AM
The joy of Pastels!
The damn things obviously behave the same edown here in Oz as they do in the northern hemisphere. I've tried all the suggested tricks-but I stilll get dirty. So does the floor-and that's more of a problem! grin and bear it , my friends. The results are still wonderful!!!
Happy blending,
Steve McCall

07-14-2005, 11:25 AM
If you live near a Savers or a Value Village, you can proably get a lab coat for a couple of dollars. I spent 50 cents, but they usually average at $2. Often they are in the men's section, close to the trenchcoats

07-14-2005, 12:30 PM
I want a lab coat now too- and the pants, and steph the pants could come in handy elsewhere, which would also make the husband like pastels....my feet are a mess, i paint barefoot and you know about the floor and falling dust. we could (esp. in the austin area) start a trend and paint nude- then just hose down afterward- might not work for plein air painting...my kids would say eeewww groosss

07-14-2005, 12:42 PM
You can get cheap nursing scrubs at Walmart if that is the route you want to go. I'm in nursing school, so I don't want to wear those anymore than I have to!!!

I like wearing my color ;)

07-14-2005, 12:48 PM
too bad I am boycotting walmart for driving out the mom and pop businesses, etc. but ask runemaster about this...he probably can remember all the issues. BTW since it is 100 degrees here, with virtually no winter, one elderly lady wants to go nude ice skating to keep cool- but the nude painting would not be so good in norway, etc.

07-14-2005, 12:48 PM
getting dirty is one of the appeals pastels have for me, must come from playing outside all day in the dirt...if I get to dirty I just change into more old clothes

LOL, I have sort of the same feeling. I've said that one of the things I love about pastels is that I feel like a little kid doing fingerpainting again. :D

Debbie C.

07-14-2005, 12:49 PM
All professions leave their mark in one way or another, our mark is a rainbow. :) When I think about it, I use a cotton breakfast coat (just a house robe with shorter sleeves, usually buttons or snaps down the front) with big pockets.These frequently are in bright floral patterns so a little pastel just adds to the design. :) I pin a small towel to it, keep the aloe vera impregnated baby wipes near and still get covered, so off to the showers. When I'm really smart I tie a scarf over my hair. I usually use a foil trough placed under my drawing board on the easel to catch the falling dust which I save in a film canister to make into a new pastel some day. I lay down a pic nic table cloth on the floor under my easel, the backing keeps it from sliding and the plastic like top is easy to wipe down afterwards with damp paper towels. When I get smears all over me, I just try to recall that it's OK to look like an artist.

07-14-2005, 02:32 PM
Jerry's has an artist smock for $29... which is not a terribly creative solution. anyone have one? Dick Blick has the long denim aprons- and they are long- on me prob. hit the ground- and the cool lab coats- reminds me of chemistry lab...


07-15-2005, 11:50 AM
I sit to paint so my feet or shoes don't get the dust. But I was thinking about the scrubs & made me think of those foot covers they wear. You could wear those if you stand up. :D

07-15-2005, 12:24 PM
I like the foot scrubs- my feet get filthy- will have to locate a med. uniform type company....for a lab coat, the pants, the shoe covers