Friday, November 01, 2013

Never Say Never....Pastelmat Review

'Autumn Dreams'           5x7          pastel       ©Karen Margulis
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 Feelings run strong when it comes to our pastel supplies.  Have you ever found yourself saying you LOVE a certain pastel.....or maybe the opposite?  Sometimes we get very polarized about the pastels and papers that we use.  I know I have. There are certain papers that in the past I have gone so far as to tell people I hated them. Hmmmm.  But do I really HATE the paper?  Maybe I need to give it another chance.
New students will tend to try a variety of papers and every so often I will hear the 'hate' word when it comes to a paper they've tried.  I like to pass on some advice to them...

It isn't the paper you hate....you just haven't found the right combination of pastels and technique for the paper.


Pad of Pastelmat paper
Take Pastelmat paper by Clairefontaine of France for example.  It is an interesting paper. It feels soft like velour but it is a sanded surface made of cellulose fibers so it holds many layers of pastel and can be used with wet media. It takes a bit of adjustment though. It grabs onto the pastel and it is not easy to blend until you have a few layers down.

I haven't used it for awhile but when a student came to class this week and shared a bad experience with the paper I decided I needed to revisit it. I painted the two marsh studies in this post on yellow Pastelmat. The top painting was done with Terry Ludwig pastels and the bottom painting was done with Diane Townsend soft form pastels.

'Greening of the Marsh'         6x6         pastel
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Conclusion: I loved how the slightly gritty DT pastels worked on the pastelmat. It grabbed the pastel so well that I didn't feel the need to add layer upon layer although past tests have shown just how many layers the paper will hold.  The TL pastels worked well also but I did feel the need to layer more....and as I added layers the pastel started to blend themselves.  I think I will enjoy this paper using the DT pastels. For me it was the preferred combination. Read my previous review of Pastelmat here

My student found it difficult to blend on the Pastelmat. We have been working on a block in technique where we blend in the first layer. It's hard to push pastel around on this paper unless you have built up a few layers. So it isn't really the paper...it is finding the right pastels and technique for the paper!

SO....Never say never....or never decide you hate a material. If you avoid it you may never discover the ideal combination that will make you really enjoy it!   Here is a challenge for you this weekend.... Take out a piece of paper that you have disliked in the past and try it again. Try something different...another brand of pastel or another technique. See what happens and have fun with it!

2 comments:

robertsloan2art said...

Thank you! That's how I feel about different papers and surfaces. Every paper has its favorite pastels and techniques. I love PastelMat with hard pastels and pastel pencils, especially with Pan Pastels or Pans and a combination of other pastels afterward.

So there's technique and a different set of favorites for PastelMat.

Now you're tempting me to try the Diane Townsend pastels, get a set of them. If I looked at them in person to put together a set from open stock that might work better. I look at the photos of the sets and they always seem to have a lot more muted colors than pure hues, when I like to have the spectrum and tints rather than more neutrals than anything else. It's a different palette and for me, an awkward one. But if I could cherry pick them that might be different.

loriann signori said...

Beautiful! PastelMat seems to keep the marks clear and crisp.