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Pastelist's EaselsWhat are pastels?
Pastels are made from pure, powdered pigment that is ground into a powder and mixed with gum binder. The color spectrum ranges from soft, light hues to bright, brilliant colors, and because the colors reflect light like a prism they are all vibrant and striking. Pastels contain no liquid binder, and therefore they will not darken, yellow, crack or blister over time. In fact, centuries-old pastel paintings today look very similar to when they were created. They cannot be mixed with oil, but are compatible with most other mediums and look beautiful in mixed-media artwork. Edward Degas and Mary Cassatt are two prolific pastel artists.
Why do I need a special easel?
When working with pastels, the artist generally strokes the pigment across a textured or abrasive canvas, which embeds the color into the weaves of the paper. Because pastels are actually a powder, they leave quite a bit of residue behind, especially with more enthusiastic artists. Pastel easels have a forward-tilting motion that allows the dust to fall to the floor. If your work surface is not tilted forward, you run the risk of your dust mixing on the canvas and mottling your work. In fact, if you use several mediums that include pastels, but you only prefer to use one easel, a pastel artist easel is a great buy because you can use it for pastels and other mediums. When working with pastels, be sure to wear a mask, work next to an air filter or work outside to avoid breathing in the dust. Additionally, always wear disposable gloves, because the medium can be absorbed into the skin.
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