Friday, March 15, 2013

Tips for Painting on Canson ...Sunflowers on Blue

'Sunflowers on Blue'         8x10        pastel       ©Karen Margulis
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Every once in awhile Canson Mi-Teintes paper calls out to me.  I tend to forget about it in favor of the sanded papers. Recently I came across a pad of Canson paper in different colors and decided to work on it.  I really enjoy it very much!  It is a different feeling to paint on this soft paper. What used to be frustrating is now enjoyable.

I've blogged about it before but I've decided that we are often turned off from Canson when we are learning to paint with pastels. We struggle with it. We can't seem to get the results we see in other pastel paintings. I think for the most part this is due to our inexperience and our tools.  We often are using hard or cheap student grade pastels. And we are very often heavy handed in our pastel application....this isn't a good combination for Canson.


  • Canson requires softer pastels if you want nice juicy marks. 
  • It also requires a light touch to build layers 
  • Since it doesn't hold as many layers of pastels you need a plan. Know in advance your value plan and color palette so you are not experimenting and filling up the tooth of the paper.
  • Try to get more tooth by lightly sanding your paper with fine sandpaper. This raises the nap of the paper giving more tooth to grip the pastel.
  • I don't do wet underpaintings on Canson but I do know some artists will liquify pastel with a bit of rubbing alcohol which dries quickly.
  • Experiment with the Canson colored papers. The middle gray papers work well for any subject. The warm reds, oranges and browns are nice for landscapes. The color of the paper will effect the mood of the painting so keep this in mind!

5 comments:

Joke Klootwijk said...

I fully agree with this post, the canson paper is fine paper for the portrait and model classes to do a la prima painting. Thanks for sharing al your knowledge !
Cheers from Holland

David Patterson said...

Very beautiful, Karen! Love your impressionistic style!

Karen said...

Thank you Joke and David! I appreciate your comments!

Adriana Guidi said...

Lovely sunflowers Karen! Oh ...the latest issue of Patel Journal shows an ad for Canson "Touch" paper..looks much like the Art Spectrum Colourfix..wondered if you saw that...

pattisjarrett said...

Love the colors, that blue background is striking, and the perfect complement to the sunflowers.