Saturday, October 26, 2013


After the great pastel workshop with Stan Sperlak a couple weeks ago, I was gung-ho to get back in my studio and start creating. But I kept procrastinating. I work full time, and by the time I got home and figured out dinner, I had no ambition to do something creative. Besides, my studio was a wreck and I didn't have any space to start something new. 

This morning, I had some time to get in there and try to clean it up. I have a habit of piling stuff on top of stuff and then you always need to thing on the bottom. I thought I had a good setup for storing my studio pastels, but then I've been buying some new, expensive handmade pastels lately and wanted a better way of organizing them. Although my Great American pastels come in a lovely wooden box, I never seemed to use them. The Terry Ludwig's come in nice padded boxes but they were on to the top of the pile and ready to get knocked off.

So, I started thinking about a new way of storing everything so they would all get used. In the past, I have made my own trays out of foam core (the bottom layers here show two of these trays), but I really wanted something better with covers - so when I needed to pile stuff up, at least they would be protected. 
I searched online at the usual pastel supply companies, but I didn't want to spend big bucks on wood cases. I thought about what I might be able to re-purpose. It dawned on me, that restaurant full sheet cake pans would be a nice size. I live only a couple miles from a food service supply company that sells to the general public so I hopped in the car to see what they had. 

I found two sizes - the full sheet cake size is about 18" x 25" x 1" and they had clear plastic snap on lids! Just the ticket! The pans were about $9 but the surprisingly, the plastic lids cost more than the aluminum pans at about $12. I had originally thought I needed two large trays to hold all my pastels, but when I looked at them in the store, they seemed HUGE, so I only bought one full size and one 1/2 size set. The half price set was on special at $5 for the tray and $7 for the lid.

I used to be a quilter, so decided to cushion my pastels with some cotton batting I had stored away. This brand is Warm and Natural and it has been needle punched to make it more like felt than cotton wadding. 

I got busy filling up the pan. I decided to snap the Great Americans (on the left) in half and leave some in the wooden box.

I also had some Mount Visions I added last, which helped to fill in the missing colors in the 'light' end of the colors.

Pretty much filled up the tray! I am sure this will make it easier to use all the brands and a better way of storing them all. 

I wasn't sure what I would use the smaller sheet pan set for, but luckily, all my hard pastels fit nicely without taking them out of their boxes.

Now, I need to finish up getting the studio cleaned up so I don't have anymore excuses! Now that the plein air season in Ohio is pretty much over with, I will have lots of Saturday mornings open now. In the colder months, I do work much more in the studio.


Catharina Engberg said...

Oh my god thats ALOT of pastels!!!

Nancy L. Vance said...

Ha - Catharina - yes, it is alot! But there is a wide variety of quality and degree of hardness. Which to use all depends on the process, the paper and the goal. I'll admit that I am addicted - pastels are my favorite medium!