Today is the day. I'm returning to the pastel easel to start getting ready for the pastel half of my summer season. But after several months of working with relatively tidy oils, my dust-covered pastel easel and surrounding areas were looking pretty gross. My "working palette" tray contained bits and chunks of pastel representing the working palettes of about the last thirty-seven pastel paintings, and everything was covered in a film of grey. Unable to bear the thought of starting new work in these surroundings, I began cleaning. If you have ever worked with pastels and are not an obsessive clean-as-you-go sort, you know what I am talking about. It is a seriously not fun job. Seriously. Cleaning up the dust is one thing, but the worst part is trying to figure out which broken-off, wrapperless bits and pieces of pastel go with which set and where. So frustrating. But I persevered, and few hours later was ready to start on my first pastel painting. Within a few minutes I found myself dealing with a problem I encounter fairly often, which is the lack of a particular tone of dark bluish-green. As I turned a longing gaze toward my oil palette across the room, I remembered that I had two brand-new boxes of Terry Ludwig pastels sitting in front of me. Opening one, I found the perfect shade of green. At last! But to get to the pastels I had to move a piece of white paper that I had somehow missed noticing before.
[singlepic id=188 w=320 h=240 float=left]I turned the paper over and discovered that it was in fact a blank color chart, printed with the numbers of the colors in the box below empty white boxes. If you have ever tried to figure out what color an unlabeled pastel is from a printed color chart on the side, you know how utterly useless those charts are. I've tried to make my own handmade charts, but end up starting too late in the game when the colors are all mixed up and missing labels and I invariably run out of steam within a few minutes. So this simple, inexpensive but incredibly thoughtful little touch absolutely made my day, a day half-wasted with the organizing of pastels!
So, Terry Ludwig, you are my new hero. What can I say, it's the little things.