Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Great Surface for Animal Paintings ...My Review of Sennelier La Carte

Four Cats Mini Pastel Paintings each one is 2.5 x 3.5 "
paintings are available by auction at Daily Paintworks HERE

I love to paint cats. Every once in awhile I like to take a break from landscapes and paint some cats. When I want to paint cats I turn to my favorite surface for animals...Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card. It has just the right feel and tooth that allows me to get a soft painterly look in my animals. I can get fine detail if I want or soft dreamy edges. La Carte paper does have pros and cons but it is definitely worth trying.

La Carte is a sanded surface made by hand application of vegetable flake and cork to a 200lb card stock. It comes in 14 colors. The surface is very uniform and is able to accept many layers of pastel. I got 50 layers on my test. I would never even come close to applying that many layers.

The paper does have some drawbacks but for me the benefits outweigh these issues. It is important to know that the binder will dissolve in water so this paper cannot get wet. That means no wet underpaintings and you even need to be careful not to blow or even sneeze on the paper. Make sure your hands are dry! The vegetable sanded surface can be rubbed off if you brush it or rub too hard so I prefer not to hand blend and let my pastels do the blending. It can also be easily dented so if you press too hard with your drawing tool then you may have indented lines. I use a Nupastel for my drawing and I use a light touch. I find that I prefer to use my softest pastels for this paper and I never do an underpainting.

I don't want to scare anyone away from this paper because I actually really love it. Give it a try and see what you think! Read on below to see how I paint a cat.

'Naptime Again' 2.5 x 3.5 pastel

'Siamese at Rest' 2.5 x 3.5 pastel

'Siamese Beauty' 2.5 x3.5 pastel

'Purring in the Sun' 2.5 x 3.5 pastels
For these little painting I can't get a lot of detail so I am thinking about big simple shapes and implied detail. I start on brown La Carte card with my softest pastels...an assortment of Terry Ludwigs and Great Americans. I block in the dark shapes first with a few layers of dark values. Then I block in the lightest areas. The rest should be middle value. I continue to work all over the painting adding the brightest lights and whiskers at the end. I will plan to do a more detailed animal demo soon.
To see another painting on LaCarte along with a step by step demo see my Butterfly post HERE

5 comments:

Sherri Jones said...

Lovely....just lovely. I feel calmer just looking at these paintings. Also, thank you for your generosity in sharing valuable info from your years of painting. I haven't got out the pastels yet, but when I do, your blog will be a wonderful resource.

Karen said...

Thank you Sherri! I appreciate hearing that you are enjoying my blog! It keeps me motivated:)

Nora MacPhail said...

Your cat series is just fantastic. Lovely!
Happy Painting,
Nora

Karen said...

Thank you very much Nora!

Tracey Travis said...

These are just gorgeous.