I am interested in starting a discussion of pastel portraits.

I do portraits of canines and people in soft pastels. My website is not up to date with all of them, but you can see some there now www.bestofaaron.com . I have tried many different papers and boards, and am now using Fisher 400 paper. I mount my paper on Elmer's self adhesive foamboard prior to painting and it gives me a good solid feel when painting. I use pastel pencils extensively and have recently started using Pan Pastels and Sofft tools for blending.

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Hi Ebb, Just took a look at your page of pastels. I think they're all wonderful. ROCKY is my favorite. I'd like to ask you how you keep from smudging up your work in progress. I'm having a terrible time smearing finished areas. When I cover it I seem to lose my focus on the picture I'm trying to create.

Judith

I use a Mahl stick, actually the EZ handrest I bought from Jerry's Artarama when I was doing oils. I don't attach it to anything, just hold it against my drawing board with my left hand when painting with the right.

You can make your own Mahl stick with a piece of dowel from home depot and wrap one end with a piece of chamois (home depot). Some people use a wooden walking cane, cut short to fit the size of your work.

Not only does it protect your work from smudging, but it provides a solid hand/finger rest and gives you much more control over your work.

Judith Holz said:

Hi Ebb, Just took a look at your page of pastels. I think they're all wonderful. ROCKY is my favorite. I'd like to ask you how you keep from smudging up your work in progress. I'm having a terrible time smearing finished areas. When I cover it I seem to lose my focus on the picture I'm trying to create.

Thanks for the great idea. I will definitely try it. :)

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