I have a found a few things over the years that make painting in pastel a little easier. I thought I would take the next few weeks and show you some of my favorite helpful “friends of pastel” tools that may help you as well.ย ย 

I started painting plein air in pastel around my town of Greenville, South Carolina and one of the first challenges is to pack lightly. Carrying a ton of pastels and heavy things to a painting site is no fun, so I have a few tricks up my sleeve to help out with that.ย  It is always best to limit as much excess as possible.

I like working with pastel pencils and in my studio I have them sitting in a bunch of heavy cups. This is not practical for traveling to teach a workshop or for painting plein air, so I found I need to be smart about what I carry.

Years ago I was in a second-hand store and saw that someone had taken a cotton, Vera Bradley placemat and stitched it up into thirds, added a few ribbons and created a cool way to store and fold up pencils. (I am assuming it was for pencils) So I bought it for $3 and it has become a constant travel companion. It cushions the pencils when it is all folded up so I think it is a better option than a plastic container to travel with since the pencils are more protected and don’t bang around. Once on site I just flip the top flap underneath the pencils while sitting on the tray of my French easel and they become all lined up and ready to go.

It would be so easy to make this, so if you are looking for a way to transport pastel pencils in a light and easy way, this may help.

More tips and tricks and “friends of pastel” next week.

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