View Full Version : Keeping your work clean

07-16-2005, 11:54 PM
I mentioned earlier I was full of questions today! :eek:

Anyway, this is my last one. I was reading an article in an art magazine today, and it was an interview with a pastel artist. She was talking about the importance of keeping the pastel clean.

What does she mean? And, how can I be sure I keep my work clean? I feel like I do make a lot of dust, but I don't want to blow it, and sometimes it doesn't tap off easily.

07-17-2005, 11:27 AM
Tapping the dust off doesn't always work but BEATING the devil out of it over the wastebasket usually does. :D I usually mount my paper on foamcore boards and periodically I'll removed the board from the easel, hold it perpendicular but tilted slightly forward over my large wastebasket and bang on the back of the foamcore several times with a sort of final thwack downward on the board against the edge of the basket to dislodge most if not all the loose dust. Works well for me.

The article you mention, however, might be talking about keeping the colors clean as in not making muddy blends, etc. by over blending/mixing colors on the surface. OR she might've meant keeping the sticks of pastels themselves clean...which is also important. When I'm done using a group of pastels, I like to take a minute or two and wipe them clean or, if really dirty, sift them clean in rice flour.

Last but not least, the article might have meant keeping the painting surface "clean" by not accidentally smudging with your hand or sleeve or whatever. A mahl stick or bridge is the answer there.

Any other ideas about keeping stuff clean? That's all I can think of offhand...

07-17-2005, 03:58 PM
Thanks for the response :)

What's a mahl stick?

07-17-2005, 04:15 PM
A mahl stick is just a dowel sort of stick, usually a couple feet to a yard long with a soft ball of fabric or leather tied to one end to act as padding. You just rest the padded end either on the easel or the painting edge and use your free hand to hold it in place while resting your hand on the dowel so as to paint details, etc. without touching the rest of the painting surface. Gads! Talk about a long-winded definition! Anyway, that's what a mahl stick is.

07-17-2005, 05:11 PM
:D Long-winded or not, it was a very helpful reply! :)

07-17-2005, 06:53 PM
I don't have the mahl stick, never knew how to use one before- but just try really hard not to rest my hand on top of the paper- whacking the heck out of board for the dust is good (remember not to blow the painting or you will be sneezing)... this can scare the under easel dog or cat however.... I have a little tray on my easel, and keep foam on it. When working, I put the pastels down there so I don't have to remember which ones I was using from a larger box. At the end, I wipe them off on foam, my finger, my jeans... and try to clean them up then put them back where they belong.