I am always impressed by those artists that try so hard to keep their pastels squeaky clean. They post photos of dust wands full of feathers that they use to collect dust across their trays of color or jars full of rice or cornmeal that they lovingly bathe their favorite sticks in before using or traveling with them. Some even vacuum their trays to make sure they are all so bright and colorful.
I just can’t seem to bother.
I am fussy about having a clean “strike” when I hit my painting with a stick, but I have learned that pastels just get dusty and dirty. So I don’t worry about it except when I grab that particular stick. Some colors can go years without being used, so I can’t be bothered with how pretty they all look in my drawers. NO time for that for me. I would rather wipe each stick off as I go along, then I know each stick is freshly cleaned.
I love these handy and very soft microfiber clothes. They don’t take much pigment off of the stick (unlike paper towels) and leave the pastels nice and clean. If you have seen me paint during a demonstration, you know that I throw these microfibers over my shoulder and wipe the sticks off on them as I go along.
If the cloth drops off my shoulder and I forget that it is no longer there, I then make my clothes more colorful.