PanPastels: Dabbling

One of the downsides of small communities (it’s an upside too) is that everyone knows everyone. The Fedex Driver is a friend of DH and generally arranges his schedule to accommodate a short chat. While they were chatting, I snuck up behind DH and snagged my package.

I cut index-card sized pieces from my chosen fabric, a cotton decorator fabric in a rose woven-jacquard design.My fabrics are all pre-washed. No stabilizers to hide the true characteristics of the fabric or, in this case, keep the decorative element from adhering. To apply the pastels, I selected both round and flat brushes all under 1/2″ and added a 1″ foam brush for playing.  Thought I had some makeup sponges, the wand kind, but I hate those so much that I have managed to discard all of them. So I hunted until I found the very small – and usually worthless stencil daubers.  These are about 3/8′ and 5/8″ in diameter.  (I’m sure some creative person would find them wonderful, but me  not-so-much.

I specifically wanted the PanPastels because of my experience and final thoughts about my Inktense Pencil project.  At the end of that project I lamented the ache and soreness which my wrist and arms were feeling. I felt that the pencils would best be used to add details and something else should be used to cover large areas before detail work commenced.  My hope is that PanPastels will be a superior experience to the Inktense blocks. IOW I want to work in my easy chair without spilling water or color all over me, my chair and living room.

My first experience was SHOCK! I looked at the top of the first pan and assumed there was a printed label beneath the lid and I would find the color beneath slightly different (just due to media).  To my surprise the lid was clear and the color I was seeing would be the color I would be using.

I planned 3 samples or tests. One would be a control. Nothing would be done to this test other than playing with the various brushes and the 4 purchased colors (Red Oxide, Red Oxide Dark, Red Oxide Tint and Titanium White).

Not surprising, my 1″ foam brush spread colors nice and fast. Wonderfully, there’s not a lot of dust. I did not get dirty (a pastel stick experience). My clothing, chair, work all stayed wonderfully clean. But it was hard to develop detail. I went down to a size 2 flat and used the corner to develop any detail at all.

Test 02

Truth is pastels, even these PanPastels, are soft and spread slightly. Crisp lines, at least using a brush, are difficult to achieve. In the sample above, I started layering details using Inktense Pencils.  It is a wonderful mix. The PanPastel covers quickly. Titanium white not only mixes easily with the basic hue to form tints, but it can be opaque and cover up previous layers.

The much touted eraser did not work on fabric.  It smudges and lightens but does not completely remove PanPastels from fabric.

I’m working dry-into-dry i.e. my fabric is dry and so are my paints. No water added. No water needed and none spilled at my chair.  While there wasn’t much dust during my “painting”, I knew that an unfixed work will eventually smudge — and no telling how much.  I did one sample in which I simply brushed the PanPastels in a line and then sprayed with Krylon, Clear, Satin Finish.  I am pleased to say that the colors were unaffected by the fixative:

Test 03

You might not realize it but that is one of the big concerns of “real” artists.  They’ve spent their time carefully crafting and don’t want it spoiled today or 500 years from today by a fixative.  Fixatives should stabilize and project not add or change color.  So I’m really happy that my colors were unchanged by the application of the Krylon Fixative.

But that’s not the end for me.  I know that I will be making items of apparel either garments or accessories. Now for a purse or something similar, the Krylon might be sufficient for the life of the item. For clothing,  I’ve found Delta Textile Medium is my salvation. So far DTM has worked with acrylic paints, Inktense pencils and blocks but I wasn’t 100% sure it would be equally effective with PanPastels.  I tend to think of pastels – any pastels- as a fugitive medium. So I took the Test 2, added some details with the Inktense Pencils and coated it with DTM.  I let that dry overnight and then into the wash it went. The result?

I slopped DTM over and beyond the edges of each design. The DTM moved color slightly and by itself discolored the plain fabrics.  The Inktense pencil colors were, of course, made much more brilliant. anticipated and OK, as far as I’m concerned.  I do like the final Inktense penciled details.

As an experiment (because how do you know if you don’t try) I colored with PanPastels, coated with DTM and allowed the DTM to dry. Then I added details with Inktense pencils and coated them with DTM.

I like the end result but I don’t think it is necessary to make 2 coats of DTM; one carefully applied to only the added color is good…. and enough.


So there will be a sewing project coming up.  I need more colors and have decided to invest in the tools. There could be a chance of the tools creating the detail for which  I needed Inktense Pencils to achieve.  However the project is weeks if not months away.  I wrote these posts now because I wanted to record my experience immediately while I could remember it.   Sigh, getting old is not for sissies.