Thursday, August 6, 2009

Loew-Cornell Style Stix - for Sue

Some time ago, Sue from PencilPix had asked me about some tools from Loew-Cornell that I had picked up and started using for pastel blending. I promised that I would tell her how they held up on sanded surfaces once I'd had a chance to try them on one.

Well, I'm about half-way through a painting on Colour-Fix (about 9 x 12 inches in size) which is very rough in my opinion and I've also used these on the WIP painting of the Lab that I show here on my blog. The Lab is being painted on PastelMat which is not really a sanded surface but is still an abrasive surface which would certainly test these blenders also.

The Style Stix are actually made to be used for painting and not blending pastels but they work beautifully for blending in my opinion. I purposely left one of the Stix unused so you could compare it to the others. The Style Stix come 4 to a package and in this instance, they are cone-shaped which is great for getting into tight spaces. I haven't been exceedingly rough in my blending but I haven't taken it easy on them either and they seem to be holding up very well. If I'd used a paper tortillon, it would be nearly shredded by now.

I don't know the exact material these are made from, but it seems to be a very dense foam-like substance. Even though they do stain, I can wipe the excess color from them and don't get any unwanted transfer from one area of the painting to another. And they can also be washed when they get really dirty.

Because they are cone-shaped, these haven't been used over large areas. I've mainly used them to blend in corners or other small areas and I've not needed to be very aggressive with them. There are other shapes available from Loew-Cornell also. You can go to their website to check them out - just scroll down the frame showing the product line and they're right after the yellow "Sponge-It" tools.

You can click on my photos above and enlarge them to see how the Style Stix have handled the abuse I've given them to date. I don't think what I've done so far is much of a test, but, as I said, a paper tortillon would be fairly well shredded on the end by now. I don't know how long these will last but they weren't exceedingly expensive (about $6/$7 for the package) as Loew-Cornell is known for making inexpensive products for artists. Because of the low price, I have doubts that they'll last forever, but for me, they're certainly a good thing to have on hand.


Teresa said...

Hmmm.... they look interesting. Wonder how they'd do with cp's? I've been using toilet tissue to blend! Hey... don't laugh... it works great!

Jan said...

I think they'd be fine but I wonder about keeping them clean with cp. The pastel just wipes off since it's a dust but cp has that waxy/oily binder that may cling. They're certainly cheap enough to experiment with though.

Hey, I've used tp before with cp - it does work well!

Oh, these Style Stix were at Hobby Lobby if you want to try them. Michael's probably has them too since they both carry a lot of the Loew Cornell products.

sue said...

Hi Jan
Sounds as though these are worth buying then - as you said, they are cheap enough for it not to matter if they don't last forever. Thanks for sharing your findings.