Pastel

Chalk pastel is so easy to work with, in that it responds to pressure for intensity like a piano key, and can even be erased!  But what makes it a stellar art medium is the blending of hues that can occur. Also, since it is pure pigment in a higher percentage than any other medium, it will last forever…literally. The only drawback is “fixing” it so it doesn’t chalk off the paper or canvas. And it must be framed with glass. Plexi will, through static electricity, pull the chalk off the support. The more it is “fixed” with varnish sprays, the more it loses its “bloom.” Just like washing fruit before you put it in the fridge. Thus, it is delicate and movement can be a disaster. It is rumored that Degas perfected a fixative but never revealed it. I have found various products that help, but nothing has been “foolproof.”  For work that must be shipped, like the large elephant size watercolor and pastels that went to Paris, I sprayed enough archival varnish on to prevent losing the pastel. I often go back into a work and add touches of oil pastel or acrylic paint to bring back some of the brightness and intensity. It is a very flexible and versatile medium, and can be rubbed gently onto the support or color area as a diaphanous “wash.”

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