Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Spring Cleaning

I keep my pastels in shoe-box lids:

I use lots of different brands, but sort them all into 3 colour ranges: reds, yellows and browns; blues & purples; turquoises & greens.

Two reasons: firstly, I'd never find the colour I wanted otherwise and, second, because the coloured dust causes cross-contamination and you soon get in a right grubby old mess.

It's a far from fool-proof system: months ago, a fat yellow-ochre pastel crumbled into one tray. I was too busy to do more than a cursory tidy up, and soon everything in that tray was dusted yellow and indistinguishable. I've been battling on, cursing as I go, but enough is enough.

So, last week, while I was ill and so had a pocket of time, I emptied the whole tray, and cleaned out the ochre crumble with a wet cloth (yellow mud everywhere - lovely). Then I wiped every single pastel stump individually, even the teeny bits, half the size of your little fingernail, which are great for doing really fiddly bits.

Colours came to life again and I unearthed several purples and blues in there, also masquerading as yellow!

I feel pleasantly purged and content now. Look how pretty and clean and yummy they are now. Little pleasures...


naomi orana said...

What a great idea! Just looking at all those colours is inspiring :)

Balloons Puppets said...

We have more in commom than I thought Lynne.
And your working place look just great for me... not only your pastels.
From small touchs like your shoe-box lids holding your pastels to everything around, make your attic place magical... not only your drawings.

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

Yummy indeed! I love color and they look so lovely separated this way. The last pic kind would great as a picture for a puzzle don't you think? :o)

Lynne Chapman said...

What an excellent idea - it would indeed!

Buskitten said...

Ooh, lovely!

Cyn Narcisi said...

One word: YUMMY!!!! I remember my boxes of pastels and they looked quite similar to this:) Makes me want to pull them out of hiding:)

bluelilac said...

It is always a delight to drop in here to see what you are writing about today.
I enjoy the bits about everyday problems like pastel dust and keeping them clean. And the joy of clean colour.
It is like taking a sip from a good glass of wine.
Thanks Lynne.

Mary Jane

vivien said...

you don't use ground rice to clean them? I shake mine in a bag of ground rice and they are clean in seconds :>)

and aren't pastels just such luscious colours to look at? positively edible.

Lynne Chapman said...

What an interesting tip Vivien! Do you do them individually or does it work with several at a time in together?

Julie Broom said...

one pastel artist I know keeps hers in a bed of oat flakes, she swears by it to stop the dust spreading and keep them clean :-)

Lynne Chapman said...

Ooo - another good one. It would work well I can see, though I have so many little broken bits and pieces (I keep them as they are ideal for getting into tiny nooks and crannies), and they would soon get swallowed by the oats.

By the way: aren't oats the most delicious thing? Very underated I think!