Daily Art Challenge: August 3

Our challenge today is to use paint pens.

Posca is my favorite brand of paint pens, although I have several less expensive brands as well.  My Posca pens are in white and black, in several different widths.  The colors I have are all the less expensive, off-brands.  The reason I like the Posca pens the best is I haven’t had any paint gush from the nibs.  Others can leave a random blotch of paint when you only wanted a line.  I get around that by adding the paint from the pen to my craft mat and dipping the nib into it.  Somewhat inconvenient, but it does work.

Paint pens are terrific for use in art journaling.  They work well for details and highlights, doodles, writing, anything you might want to do with a pen you can do with a paint pen.  I use mine primarily for outlining images on my page or canvas.


My Essentials List, Painting

What is essential greatly depends upon the type of artwork you make.  Since I make many different types of art my essentials list will be more diverse.  So I’ve separated them into the type of art work I do, as well as a general list of essentials for arts and crafts.

For Painting:

  1.  Paints.  I prefer acrylics and watercolors.  Let’s begin with acrylics.  Here are my posts about acrylic painting.  If you’re just starting out you can purchase a set of student grade paints and have fun with them.  If you find you enjoy painting you can purchase better quality materials.  My preference for professional acrylic paints are:
    1. GoldenOutstanding paints.  Readily available in most areas. Golden will also answer any questions you may have regarding paints, paint additives, mediums, techniques and pretty much anything involving paint.  Outstanding, informative company.
    2. Liquitex.  Another easy to find acrylic paint.  I find the artist quality paints to be outstanding.
    3. Derivan Matisse.  Matisse is an Australian company and my favorite profession acrylic paints of all I’ve tried so far.  They are reasonably priced and outstanding quality.
    4. Student Grade Acrylic Paints:
      1. Daler Rowney Systems 3 acrylic paints.  These paints are very nice quality, and I know several professional artists who use these as their main acrylic paint for their art.  You can find them in most big box stores as well as arts and crafts specialty stores.
      2. Masters Touch acrylic paints from Hobby Lobby.  These are very reasonably priced and work well.
      3. Liquitex Basics.  From an outstanding company. I found these to be thinner than the others in this list.
      4. Grumbacher Academy acrylics.  This is probably my favorite of all student grade paints.  They are reasonably priced and thicker than other student grade paints.  I really enjoy these.
  2. Brushes.  You’ll need brushes to paint.  (The two links are all about brushes from my series Get to Know Your Supplies.  In them you’ll find everything you might want to know about paint brushes.)  There are other things you can use, but brushes are essential.  Acrylic paints are very hard on brushes and you should consider them a consumable.  The better you care for your brushes the longer they will last, but they will not last forever (unlike watercolor brushes-but we’ll get to those later).  Acrylic paint is also thick, so you need a firm brush to move the paint around.
    1. My favorite brushes for acrylic painting are Simply Simmons Extra Firm brushes.  They are inexpensive, well made and durable.  The long handles are the length of most short handled brushes, which is why I linked those.  I never use the truly long handled brushes, as the long handle serves no purpose for my type of art.  In fact, I know of no artist who actually stands away from their canvas, holding the end of the long handled brush and applies paint.  You have no control that way, and it makes no sense to me to pay more for the long handles.  I have purchased truly long handled brushes because they were on sale and cut the handles down to suit me.  I have several other types of brushes which I use on occasion, but my go to always is the Simply Simmons brushes.
    2. The type of brush you use depends upon you.  I have a huge collection of brushes-okay, this may be a “thing” for me.  Some women love shoes, I love paint brushes.  My most used are brights.  I have flats, angles, filberts, rounds, fans, liners, washes, cat’s tongue, etc.  They come in all sizes.
    3. You can buy sets of brushes with some of the most commonly used sizes and types.  My preference is always synthetic brushes for acrylics.  Occasionally I’ll use a very stiff synthetic blend or cheap hog bristle brush, but it’s rare.
    4. Watercolor brushes are entirely different in that you can have very soft bristles because there is no problem with the thickness of the paint.
      1. If you care for your watercolor brushes they will last your lifetime and the lifetimes of your children and grandchildren.  Seriously.  There are some very high quality brushes that are over one hundred years old and work perfectly well yet.
      2. My preference is synthetic bristles, if possible.  They are less expensive and work well.  I do have some natural hair brushes, which are delightful but they are cost prohibitive.
      3. My favorites are the Mimik Synthetic Kolinsky brushes.  They are expensive, however, so I have several others which are much more reasonably priced.
        1. Royal Langnickel Aqualon brushes are excellent.
        2. Creative Inspirations by Creative Mark are great too.
        3. Princeton Neptune series.
        4. Master’s Touch-found at Hobby Lobby
        5. I haven’t tried the Simply Simmons Watercolor brushes, but since I’m very pleased with their acrylic brushes I’d imagine these are very good too.
  3. Canvases and Paper.  You must have a surface to paint on.  I uses canvases for acrylics and watercolor paper for watercolors.
    1. For acrylics there are canvas boards and papers, stretched canvas, canvas rolls and gallery wrapped canvases.  I’ve used all of these.
      1. Gallery wrapped canvases are great because you don’t need a frame to go around it, unless you want one.
      2. Canvas rolls require you to build the frame upon which you stretch and attach the canvas.
      3. Stretched canvas already comes on the wood frame.  It comes in either gallery wrap or the traditional type and is usually gessoed.  You can purchase ungessoed stretched canvases if desired.  Stretched canvases often include “keys” so you can tighten the tension.
      4. Canvas boards are what I use for my classes.  I purchase these in packs of three at Walmart.  These are very inexpensive and you can purchase better quality canvas boards and papers if you choose.  The cheap ones serve my purpose very well.
      5. Here’s a post all about watercolor paints and papers to get you started in this wonderful art medium.
  4. Gesso.  Here is a post all about gesso.
  5. Palettes.  This is a palette review.
  6. Palette Knife.  Use to mix paints, mix paints into mediums, as a tool to apply paint to your substrate, to make branches, stems and trees.  I use mine all the time, but usually for paint mixing.
  7. Acrylic Mediums
  8. Easels
  9. Foam core boards to attach watercolor paper to for painting.

If I think of more paint essentials I’ll add them.

Smart Art Box, Update


Alright guys, here’s the thing, the Smart Art Box from July has been very negatively received.  The lack of product, the poor condition in which the products arrived to the customer, the toxicity and flammability of Gamsol which leaked in many of the boxes, the materials sent were not appropriate for the project included (Cubism which uses earth tones and very muted colors as a rule.  The markers were in primary colors which is not the correct color palette for the project), the 50 dollar price tag for art supplies that are probably only worth 20 to 25 bucks (without coupon or sales)-all add up to many unhappy customers.

I am in no way affiliated with any company or art supplier.  I purchase my stuff like everyone else, with coupons and sales being my usual method.  I have never received free supplies from any company and my reviews are based upon my experience with the products mentioned.  My goal is to get people arting. Creating-whether they have money to spend on name-brand supplies or not.  And because of this, I don’t want any of my treasured readers to run out and join something which does not seem to be a wise use of their hard-earned money.

Here’s my take on the Smart Art Box thing:  You can look up tutorials from past Smart Art Boxes and decide if you want to make any of those projects.  You can purchase your own supplies at places like Blick and Jerry’s  These two are my go-to’s for art supplies, Blick being my first choice because their shipping is crazy fast.  Both offer free shipping on purchases over a certain amount, have terrific sales, provide outstanding, high quality products and amazing customer service.  I’ve also purchased things from Amazon, which is another option.  Oriental Trading is also able to offer some very reasonably priced stuff, and I’ve used them several times for larger quantity purchases for the classes I teach.

If you prefer to purchase your supplies in a brick and mortar store there is Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Dollar Tree (around here, I have no idea what stores are available elsewhere)-all of which have a multitude of things appropriate for all sorts of projects.  Hobby Lobby and Michaels also offer daily coupons and sales, clearance items and you can often pick up some things very reasonably priced.  Second hand stores and garage sales, while hit or miss, also have lots of things you can use to make your artwork for a fraction of the retail price.

And, obviously, I use many recycled items and DIY art supplies.  There are countless tutorials and recipes on my site for those things.  Search for what you’re interested in purchasing.  I may have a review or a cheaper alternative.  If there are any supplies you would like me to review, please let me know and I’ll be happy to do that.

In conclusion, I want my readers to be able to create art without busting their budget.  It’s very important to me to give you my honest opinion on what’s out there, what is good quality, and what I consider a waste of money.  For those of us with seriously limited funds, it is important to get the truth about products before we lay out our hard earned cash.

Truth is what I promise to give you.

Original Post: 

Hi, guys.  I’ve been working in my workroom, purging and also organizing things.  I was working on gathering my teaching materials together for an upcoming class I’m teaching on bible art journaling and I had you tube going on the computer.  Lindsay the Frugal Crafter was demonstrating a Smart Art Box.

If you have no art materials at all and are interested in starting with some projects, a Smart Art Box may be a good idea for you.  The premise is you receive different art supplies in the mail each month.  The box includes a project using those supplies.  You can also look up past Smart Art Box tutorials, see what projects or supplies interest you and purchase them yourself-which is a less expensive option.

Because I have just about every art supply known to man, I have most of the stuff already.  I can grab my own supplies and follow along with these tutorials.  The projects are quite diverse, with lots of different techniques.  This is an easy way to use some of those supplies that are just sitting there doing nothing.  And the projects aren’t necessarily what I would think of first.  I really like that because it gets me outside my comfort zone.

Not all projects will appeal to everyone, but there is enough variety I’m sure something will strike your fancy.  The reason I’m posting this is because I have so many supplies-bought on sale or second hand of course-I’m sometimes at a loss as to what to make with them.  I made the project I bought them for originally, then they sort of sit there staring at me.  These tutorials are fun and (usually) quite simple to do.  You learn new techniques and use up what you have in your stash-how much better does it get?



New Colored Pencil Brand, Updated

I ordered a set of 72 colored pencils from Castle Art Supplies.  In addition to this, I ordered a pencil sharpener and a carrying case.  The pencils arrived well packaged in a metal tin with plastic trays for the pencils.  There was also foam inside the box for extra protection. There is a color chart on the back of the tin box in the order of the pencils in the trays.  It wasn’t that practical for me. Apparently the company plans to release a set of 120 pencils soon.

The order of the pencils in the trays made no sense to me.  I removed them all and put them in ROYGBIV order.  As always, I made color charts of the pencils.  I made a set for my color chart book (this holds the charts for all my media) and a smaller one for my pencil case.  Here’s what I know so far:

The colors on the ends of the pencils represent the color of the lead, for the most part.  There are a few that are off, which is why I recommend you make swatches.  There are no names or numbers on the pencils, which is a bit of a bummer, but I’ll be adding my own numbers to them.

The pencils are sturdy, a nice weight in my hand and easy to use.  I had one lead break, but it was a very pale yellow and I was probably pressing far harder than necessary.

There are plenty of colors for all skin tones, in case you do portraits.  The set includes lots of greens, blues and purples as well.  I don’t find any of the main colors to be lacking, which is often the case in a set of pencils.  The earth colors are also well represented.  Some of the colors are very close to each other, but I find that works for blending, highlights and shadows.  There are two grays, a black and a white.  Since I have several grays from my Prismacolor set that are not used up yet, I don’t have a problem with so few in this one.  There are no metallics in the set.

I’ve been coloring with them and the Castle Art pencils have much harder leads than the Prismacolor pencils.  They work very well in some of my coloring books, less well in others.  I think it’s the paper used in the books.  One book has a more glossy finish to the paper and on that the pencils don’t blend well.  The other ones I’ve been coloring in don’t have that finish and the blending goes much better.  By that I mean I use pencils that are slightly different in color for shading and highlights.  I haven’t found these pencils to blend well with my Prismacolor blending pencil or with the white pencil included in the set.  But just blending with the pencils alone works quite well.  I haven’t tried other blending options yet.

After coloring for several hours and completing quite a few pages, I have not had to sharpen any of the pencils yet.  They don’t wear down quickly at all, which happens with my Prismacolor pencils.  This will save you a lot in product, as it’s the sharpening that eats up your pencils.  There is a bit of pencil dust from coloring, but it’s minor.

All in all, these are a great set for the price.  The colors are quite vibrant, the color lays down easily and quickly, the leads are sturdy and I haven’t had any problem with breakage-except for that one pale yellow.  But after sharpening that one-which sharpened easily to a nice point-there wasn’t any further problem.  While these are not as creamy as Prismacolors they do work well.

Whether you choose this set as your main colored pencil option, as a travel set, as a beginners set to get started in colored pencil art, or as a good quality option for your children’s art projects-Castle Art Colored Pencils are an affordable colored pencil set which will give you nice results.  I received an email from the company following my order, it was friendly and wanted to assure me if there was any problem with my order to contact them immediately so they could take care of it for me.  They are very eager to please their customers, provide outstanding customer service and seem genuinely interested in providing you with a high quality product.  I am very impressed with both the company and the pencils.

Edited to add:

After coloring with the pencils for awhile, they needed to be sharpened.  Immediately I realized the cores were broken in the pencils.  I contacted the company, asking if I could return this set for a new one.  They said “no, we’ll send you a new set for your inconvience.”  Which they did immediately.  It arrived in visually good condition.

After using these new pencils, I needed to sharpen them too.  The same thing happened.  The cores are broken within the wood casing.

With both of these sets, I laid them out on a heating pad, covered with thick towels, and let them warm for a couple hours.  I did this with both sets of 72.  It took me two days to heat each group for two to three hours each. Unfortunately this didn’t work.  They continue to break with each sharpening.

So my final review is the pencils lay down nice vibrant color, the company is dedicated to customer service and really want you to be pleased with their products.  But unless they can figure out how to ship their products without breaking the core of their pencils, they will not have any customers.  Because the utter frustration I’ve been feeling trying to work with these pencils has left a bad taste in my mouth.  Even though they’re inexpensive, I am unhappy I’ve spent 20 odd bucks on pencils I’ll be throwing out because I can’t make them work.

Again, the quality of the pencils is good.  The customer service is excellent.  The damage done during shipping is unacceptable.  And until this issue is addressed, I won’t be purchasing anything else from this wonderful company.


Most Versatile Art Supplies for Beginners

This is a post for those just starting out on the adventure of art and crafting.  Having versatile, multi-use art materials is one of the best ways to stretch your budget and provides you with many options for techniques (or as I say, doing tricks).  Much of this depends upon the type of art work you’re making.  So these supplies are for general, all-around arting.  Let’s begin:

  1. Pastels. 
    1. These come in both hard and soft.
    2. They are incredibly useful for many different types of art.
    3. You can use them as a drawing medium, you can wet them and they become a watercolor paint.
    4. You can use them with watercolors, as underpaintings for acrylics and colored pencil work.
    5. Pastels can be used to make paintings (wet), pastel paintings (dry), in art journaling, with stamps and stencils, as backgrounds, mixed with gesso for adding to canvas or paper.
    6. Use with sponge tools or your fingers, rub onto backgrounds with wipes, there are many options and many applications.
    7. The costs vary, but you can pick up an inexpensive set and play with them, doing all the techniques the more expensive brands can do.
  2. Watercolor PencilsThese are also incredibly useful to have in your art room.
    1. You can use them as colored pencils-without wetting them.
    2. Use them as watercolor paint by scribbling onto your craft mat and adding water to make a puddle.
    3. Use as pencil to color in images and then wet with your brush on the paper to liquefy.
    4. Use damp brush and pick up color right off the pencil tip for painting.  Color onto stamps and through stencils.
    5. My personal favorite for water-soluble pencils is Inktense Pencils by Derwent.  These pencils are incredibly vibrant, however, so be aware of that.  Once they are dry, they do not budge.  They are permanent, while watercolor pencils are not.  They are not, strictly speaking, watercolor pencils.  They are inks.  Of course, watercolor pencils aren’t technically watercolor pencils either…
    6. You can use these for paintings, drawings, art journaling, bible journaling, hand lettering, coloring, stamping, stenciling, and more.
    7. Mix with gesso to make a colored primer for your canvases and journal pages.  Hugely useful for many techniques in an art room.
  3. Gesso.  This isn’t a fun or exciting supply and one many might consider skipping because of that.  Don’t do it.  Gesso is very important for many, many things.  Here are some things I use gesso for:
    1. I prime my art journal pages and my painting canvases.  This is essential if you’re going to be adding any wet media to your journal pages.  It makes the paper stand up to whatever you throw at it and provides a good foundation for your work.
    2. You can use the thicker gesso through stencils to make a textured background on canvas, journal pages, tags, etc.  Let dry and go over it with whatever colors you like.
    3. Use gesso to tone down or push back to much color in your work.
    4. Thin coats-whether strait from the bottle or watered down-are often transluscent, so the color will show through from beneath but be more muted and soft.
    5. I use gesso over things that don’t actually go together like wood and fabric on a journal page. By covering them with gesso they become cohesive and look like they are all part of the same art piece.
    6. You can use gesso to cover things like texture paste.  Use gesso to cover slick surfaces like plastic or glossy items so other color will adhere to them.
    7. Mix with paint, pastels, watercolors, inks-whatever you want to color white gesso.
    8. Gesso comes in clear, black and white, thin and thick.  If you can only buy one type-get the thick stuff.  You can thin it down with water to make it the thinner type, but still have the thick stuff when you want that for going through stencils or smearing over your page with a palette knife.
    9. You can make your own gesso.  Clear, black, and white.
  4. Adhesives.  Here’s a detailed post on adhesives which you may find helpful.  I have no idea what you’ll be adhering, so this post is more comprehensive.  Below are just my general, all purpose go-to adhesives for multiple uses.
    1. Gel medium is a wonderful adhesive for art journaling.  It sticks almost everything down securely.  You can also mix it with paint which extends your paint and gives a lovely transluscent look to acrylics.  Gel medium is my most used adhesive for art journaling.  I would recommend getting it in a matte finish if you’re using it for art journaling.
    2. Yes! Paste.  This is the paste I use to make my own art journals.  I use it to glue several thin pages together to make one thicker page.  It dries slowly, is reposition-able before it dries, and sticks like crazy.   I have heard Yes! Paste can go bad, but I have not experienced this.  Mine is a couple years old now and still as fresh as the day I bought it.  One thing I highly recommend is rubbing petroleum jelly around the rim of the jar.  This stuff will glue the jar lid on tight and you’ll never remove it unless you grease the lid and the jar threads.  Learn from my experience people.
    3. Aileen’s Tacky Glue in both white and clear gel.  I use both often.  The clear I use to make my paper beads and the white I use for most every other application which calls for liquid adhesive.
    4. PVA glue.   I have always purchased Elmers PVA Glue in the gallon size.  More recently I was not able to find that and bought the Elmers Glue-All instead.  So far they are comparable in my DIY art supplies, which is what I use it for exclusively.
    5. The link provides a better discussion of adhesives and you’ll be able to find out what is the perfect type for your particular art projects.
  5. Acrylic Paint.  Part 2, and Part 3This is my medium of choice, so I can make my acrylic paints do all sorts of tricks.  If you’re not that familiar with acrylic paints I would recommend you begin with an inexpensive set and play with them.  Figure out if you like the medium and whether you want to purchase better quality paints in the future.
    1. You don’t need to purchase artist quality paint to do most of the techniques.  Craft paints and inexpensive tube paints work for most.
    2. Craft paints will not mix in the same way as tube acrylic paints, but that doesn’t mean you cannot mix them.  I do it all the time.  You can have a lot of fun with .50 cent craft paints.
    3. Craft paint is fluid acrylic paint.  Which means they can be used for those techniques as well.
    4. If you’re just starting out, I would recommend a brand like Reeve’s acrylic tube paints.  You can play with those, figure out how to do the various techniques with them.  Once you’ve used them up you can decide whether acrylic paints are for you and if you want to invest in the more expensive brands.
    5. Acrylic paints require some other items to go with them, like brushes and substrates.
    6. Here’s a post about brushes.  And part 2.
      1. An inexpensive but great brand of brushes is the Simply Simmons Extra Firm brush sets.
      2. Acrylic paint is really hard on brushes and it’s thick.  You need something with firm bristles to push the paint around.
      3. And no matter how well you clean your brushes, acrylic paint will wreak them.  That’s just the way it is.  It is the nature of the beast.  Consider your brushes a consumable.
      4. Which is why I prefer brands that work well and are reasonably priced.
      5. You can get either the long or short handled brushes, as the long handle is not that long.  (The brushes with ridiculously long handles are a waste in my opinion.  I know of no artist that actually stands away from their canvas and holds the brush at the end of the long handle.  They just cost more money for absolutely no reason.)
      6. The better you take care of your brushes, the longer they will last.
      7. Do not let them sit in water, as the water will seep into the ferrule and handle which can cause them to separate from each other.
      8. If paint gets into the lower part of the bristles-the heel-nearest the metal piece-the ferrule-and dries you will end up with a “popped brush”.  Do not throw these away as they make great gesso and cloud brushes.
      9. I use a wonderful cake brush cleaner, which I really like.  It’s Master’s Brush Cleaner.
      10. I prefer synthetic bristles in my acrylic brushes, as they are very firm, less expensive and haven’t harmed any animals in the making of the brush.
      11. Never mix watercolor and acrylic brushes.  Keep your watercolor brushes separate and never use them with your acrylic paint.  You can use acrylic brushes with watercolor paints, but never the other way around.  Once a brush has been used for acrylics-it’s an acrylic brush from then on.
    7. Substrates for acrylic paints can be just about anything.  If you prime with gesso first, you can paint on nearly anything.  My substrate of choice is canvases, but you can paint on scrap paper, wood, fabric, plastic, cardboard, posterboard, foam core, book pages, watercolor paper, junk mail, you name it and I’ve painted on it.
  6. Gelatos are another surprisingly versatile supply.  I have recently started using them more often.  They were stored in a closed closet so I forgot about them.  Here is a comprehensive discussion on the use of gelatos. and part 2.
    1. I have both the Faber Castile Gelatos and the kids gel sticks.  I cannot tell the difference in them at all.
    2. I found metalic gel sticks at Five Below and they work great!  They are no-name stuff but have really added a lot of fun to my gelato work.
    3. There are several brands of water-soluble crayons.  They will all do the techniques found in the gelatos posts.

Well, here are a few of my most versatile supplies.  I tried to include those that were reasonably priced and readily available.

Daily Art Challenge: May 21

Our challenge for today is to use pastels in our art.  This is a very old medium and one often used by the Old Masters.  Pastels are one of the most versatile art materials available.  They come in different price points, and I don’t have any of the more expensive brands.  Mine were all pretty inexpensive and I’ve been really happy with them.

Here is my post about pastels from the series Get To Know Your Supplies:

Pastels come in many different types, hardness, and quality.  We will look at a few options today.

  1.  There are soft pastels and hard pastels.  Soft pastels are creamy, soft and delightful to use.  They are often applied with a sponge type tool.  Soft pastels are easy to smudge, and are great for filling in areas of color quickly.  They are a lot of fun to play with.
  2. Hard pastels are found in sticks or pencil form.  You may remember using “chalks” in elementary school.  These were hard pastels.  They are great for detailed lines, shading and filling in large areas with color.
  3. Both hard and soft pastels activate with water, can be smudged with a finger or sponge tool, and give a softer look than acrylic paints.  Once the pastels are activated with water and the binder evaporates they are permanent on your page.
  4. It is also very easy to seal your pages, if you don’t want to activate the pastels with water.  Use the cheapest hair spray you can get your hands on.  The reason you want the cheap stuff is because it doesn’t contain any additives which will react with your pastels.
  5. It is important to note that there will be color shift with a sealant, no matter what kind you use.  That is something that cannot be avoided.  If you prefer not to have color shift, don’t seal your pastel art.  Either store it in glassine bags or frame it.  Use a mat or two to separate the picture from the glass.  This also allows dust to fall past your image, rather than on it.
  6. Pastels are wonderful as base-coats in your art.
  7. You can mix pastels with gesso for some fun color options.
  8. If you don’t have pastel paper, give watercolor paper a coat or two of clear gesso.  This will give the paper some “tooth” for your pastels to hang on to.
  9. Pastels are wonderful for use in a vintage, grungy, or steampunk-type art journal page.  Simply add color to an area-say around an image or shape, between or around letters, on the outside edges of the page for a shadow, then wet the pastel and smear it around a bit.  This will give you a very muted, subtle color which can add depth to your page, make images pop by adding darker color around them.
  10. You can create beautiful colors by scribbling the pastels on the page and smearing them all over with a baby wipe.  Often the binder will dissolve and evaporate, leaving a permanent color that will not wipe off.
  11. If your pastels get dirty, simply fill a plastic bowl (with snap on cover)  3/4ths full with cornmeal.  Add your pastel and shake around inside the sealed bowl.  Make sure you don’t hit the sides of the bowl with the pastels, as some are easy to break.  Shake for a minute or so and you will be truly amazed by the sparkling clean pastels you remove from the cornmeal.
  12. Pastels are one of the oldest mediums found in fine art.  They are light fast, and easy to work with.  Many famous Old Master artists used pastels in their art practice.
  13. Do not blow the dust of pastels around with your mouth or a blow dryer.  The fine particles of dust can enter your lungs.  If you must blow off the dust do it outdoors wearing a mask.  Otherwise just tip your painting on it’s side over the waste basket and tap the backside lightly.  The dust will drop into the basket and you won’t breathe it in.  (I’m going to be honest with you here.  I take absolutely no extra precautions when using my pastels.  Obviously I try not to fill the place with pastel dust, but I find I have no problem with the material at all.  I’m just pointing out you should use common sense when handling any and all art materials.)
  14. You can use them to fill in a watercolor background.  Once you add the color, use a wet brush and wet the color.  Beautiful.
  15. Another option is to scribble the color onto your palette or mat and add water to that. Use as watercolor paint.
  16. Or use the puddle of color with a stamp.
  17. Use for tonal study under paintings.
  18. One of my favorite pastels is Charvin Water Soluble Pastel Painting Sticks.  While I wouldn’t say these are my go-to water-soluble media, they are close.  They are an incredible value.  I have the 48 stick set which I’ve been using for at least a year.  I’ve used very little of the product.  A couple of the sticks broke in half, but that doesn’t bother me at all.  They work just as well broken.
  19. The cost of these sticks makes it a worth-while purchase.  If you are thinking about jumping into pastels, this is a good place to start.
  20. Another great option for beginners is the Mungyo Semi-Hard pastel sets.   This was my first set of pastels and I’ve enjoyed them too.
  21. No-I take that back…I began my pastel work with my cheap-o eye shadows from the Dollar Tree.  I wanted to see if I’d like pastels so that’s what I started with.  I would urge you to do the same.  Buy a set of eye shadows-remember to keep the case when it’s empty to fill with watercolors for a travel palette- and use them.  I bought make up sponges as well and those are what I used for my first several paintings.  Worked well and cost three bucks.  (I bought two palettes of eye shadows for more color choices)

There are many pastel options out there and many ways to use this wonderful medium.  I hope you’ll join me in breaking out a very old, but reliable, art supply.


As you know if you’ve been with me for awhile, Scott and I have traveled across the country with our trip out to the SouthWestern part of the United States.  Over the past several days we’ve traveled to Kentucky for the Truck Expo (for Scott’s job) and are now on the way home again.  We stopped for the night in Columbus, Indiana.  Before we settled in and would be to tired to head out again, we went for dinner.

We went to the Texas Roadhouse in Columbus.  Many may be surprised by this, but we have not ever been to a Texas Roadhouse before.  The hostess seated me and asked if I had been there before-which I hadn’t.  She said because it was our first time we would receive a free appetizer.  We choose a Cactus Blossom, which was scrumptious!  It comes with a delicious horseradish cream sauce dip and was absolutely delicious.

The bakery buns were also melt-in-your-mouth yummy with creamy cinnamon butter.  We ordered prime rib with a baked potato and salad.

The manager arrived and told us about Texas Roadhouse.  They cut all their own meat, except the ribeye on the bone (I think), have fresh salad and their own bakery.   Again, why don’t we have this restaurant near us?

We discussed it and we think this was the best meal we have had in our travels, both on this trip and our trip to Arizona, and we’ve had some really outstanding meals.  So if you’re in the neighborhood of Columbus, Indiana give the Texas Roadhouse a try.  Exceptional service, outstanding food and a charming atmosphere.