Pastel Materials and Methods
January 29, Meet the Media workshop! Soft pastels are a beginner’s dream. They are portable, immediate, do not require toxic additives, and clean up easily. Pastels don’t have a cure time, so reworking is easy, without the conflict of wet paint on dry paint that plagues watercolor, oil and acrylic. A eighty half-stick kit from Sennelier and some sanded paper are all you need to work in this medium. Please take a look at Ann's materials list.
As a painter, pastels are one of my favorite media. If you would like to see their full range of awesomeness, please check out Kim Fancher Lordier's site, or Wolf Kahn's marvelous book: Pastels. Bill Cone and Duane Wakeham as well.
Pastels are luminous, sparkly, strong. They are immediate and direct and reward a spontaneous mind. They have a few drawbacks. They must be framed under glass, and I prefer the invisible, expensive class, otherwise the viewer spends their time looking at their own reflection. I frame them as if they were oils, with a spacer and a standard frame, not with a mat as you would a watercolor or print. There is also chalk dust everywhere. I use gloves or gloves in a bottle to protect my skin, and a modern air filter to protect my lungs. I seldom use a fixative, and if so, then only outdoors. Various wizards are working on fixes and varnishes to eliminate the problem of glass (glassless pastels!) and the toxicity problems of varnish and fixitive. I have a non-toxic casein fixitive that I like very much. However, most people who see my pastels ask why I did not glass them, when I did. The tru-vue museum class does not catch reflections and hence disappears to the viewer, leaving them only looking at the artwork, rather than their own reflection.