Organizing Pastels!!

Today was finally the day. I spent the entire day organizing and cleaning all my travel pastel boxes. It was a long, dirty and physical day, but I’m really satisfied with the results. I’ll wind up with three fully stocked pastel boxes; a large Heilman, a small Heilman and an additional box from Willow Wisp Farms,( I don’t think this one is available any longer).

As usual with these kind of tasks, it was a slippery slope. I started out thinking I was going to spend a couple hours restocking, but in the end, completely emptied all three boxes, cleaned the foam and carefully restocked each box.

As I started in, I realized if I didn’t clean the foam, the work of cleaning the pastels was futile; they wouldn’t stay clean on the dirty foam. Honestly, I’d never cleaned the foam on any of these boxes! The oldest one is about ten years old, so that’s pretty yucky!!

I opened up all my back stock and filled in all the boxes, making sure to eliminate, duplicates and almost imperceptible duplicates. This maximizes the space in each box.
I used only half sticks to populate the boxes, also maximizing space.

I snap the pastels in half rather than cutting them. I just find this works better and causes less crumbling. I take off all the wrappers in order to be able to benefit from what each stick can do. When the wrapper is off, it can act like many, many brushes. If you leave the wrappers on, your stuck with just using the very tips of the sticks.

My boxes contain a wide variety of pastels, because I like the qualities of many of the brands; Terry
Ludwigs are rich and grainy, Schmincke are buttery and soft, Nupastels are harder and good for glazing and line. I wouldn’t want to limit my box to just one brand.

Now for a couple more exciting things. I’ll be presenting next month at the IAPS convention on Friday and then again on Sunday. I hope to see some of you there. I can’t wait!

Then in July, I’m totally excited and honored to be part of the Arts Week Faculty at the Omega Institute, in Rhinebeck, NY. I’m sure this will be an amazing experience for me.

Happy Painting!

1 thought on “Organizing Pastels!!”

  1. Thanks so much for this article! Made cleaning out my Heilman Box so much easier, and it did take awhile but I will be able to find the color. I need a lot easier!!!

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