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"Terry Ludwig Pastel Q&A"
by Terry Ludwig

Are pastels toxic?
Depending on their ingredients, not all pastels are toxic. The most dangerous of ingredients in pastels, CADMIUM, is a known carcinogen. For this reason, Terry Ludwig Pastels DO NOT contain cadmium.

COBALT, which is used to make certain shades of blue pastels, is a heavy metal, however the LEAST POTENT of the heavy metals. Heavy metals tend to accumulate in human organs and cause a variety of health issues. In order to prevent poisoning by cobalt, adhere to the following directions for managing and avoiding dust.

Another health concern regarding the use of pastels is DUST. Inhaling too much dusts causes "silicosis" which can lead to a number of lung ailments.

How do I deal with pastel dust?

  • First, learn to love dust. It comes with the territory. Additional recommendations for managing and even preventing dust are the following:
  • Protect yourself from dust by wearing disposable gloves, such as latex medical gloves. Also, wear a dust mask, which is particularly important for anyone with asthma or other lung ailments. Both gloves and masks are available at your local pharmacy or drug store.
  • Work on an easel that is slightly beveled forward. This will allow dust to fall directly downward.
  • Do not BLOW on pastel paintings, which is a tremendous temptation and will send dangerous dust into the air and into your lungs. Instead, blot at excess dust to remove.
  • At the base or your painting, layer masking tape, sticky side up, to catch dust as it falls downwards.

How permanent are pastels?
Pastels are the most permanent artists' medium, if properly created and protected. For best longevity, do the following:

  • Create your pastels on an archival surface, which is free of acid.
  • Cover your final work with a glass surface.

How do I protect my pastels paintings from mildew?
For pastel paintings made with pastels that contain organic materials, mildew and mold are a problem, particularly in humid and damp climates. To protect your pastel paintings, be sure to use pastels that contain a preservative or a mildicide. Ask your art supply dealer for recommendations. Terry Ludwig Pastels contain a binder formulated with a preservative, which provides some protection against mold and mildew.

How do I fix a broken pastel stick?
Fixing your broken pastel sticks is easy! Follow these simple steps:

  • Remove the labels and any other paper from the pastel.
  • Place the broken pieces in a small dish.
  • Add 1-2 teaspoons of distilled water (use distilled water only, tap water contains chlorine, which will bleach the pigment in the pastel, and well water contains minerals which will also interfere with the pigment).
  • Mix the pastel and water into a thick paste.
  • Form the paste in desired shape.
  • If the paste is too wet to form, blot it with a paper towel until a manageable consistency is achieved.
  • Allow pastel to dry 3-5 days before using.

Why are Terry Ludwig Pastels Square?
While more difficult to make, Terry Ludwig designed square pastels for the following reasons:

  • No rolling: A frequent complaint of pastel artists is that their pastels roll off of flat surfaces and break, sometimes even shatter. Terry Ludwig Pastels stay in place!
  • Variety of strokes: The square corners of a square a pastel allows you to create fine lines, and the flat edges produce smooth, broad strokes.
  • Ease of travel: Square pastels pack better into tight spaces, do not roll inside travel cases and generally are easier to travel with.
  • Greater control: Square pastels fit better in your hand and are easier to control than round pastels.

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