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Tuesday, February 04, 2014

A Quick and Easy Way to Tone Your Pastel Paper


'Distant Dreams'            5x7           pastel          ©Karen Margulis
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It feels like cheating. It is almost too easy but I am all for getting a head start on a painting.  I sometimes forget that simply toning my paper a solid color can have a huge impact on how the painting develops.  Often we don't give much thought to the color of the paper we use. We are missing an opportunity to add color and mood to a painting with a simple thing as choosing the paper color.

I love Uart paper but the creamy color is often too light for me. I don't always like when the paper color peeks through my pastel layers. Toning to the rescue.  I like Canson Mi-Teintes paper. It comes in colors which is good but it also has a bumpy side which can be unwelcome....toning to the rescue.

I use pipe foam to fill in the divots on Canson paper

When I want a quick, easy and colorful start to a painting I will tone it using pastel and a piece of foam Pipe Insulation.  If you haven't tried this wonderful pastel tool head out to the hardware store and get a pack.  It is available in single pieces or in packages of several pieces.  I just bought this pack at Home Depot for under $3. I got four 3 foot pieces. I will cut them into smaller pieces. After I cut them I will often tear them into smaller pieces. This stuff goes a long way! 

Not only are the foam pieces durable (they won't crumble on sanded paper) they are machine washable!  They are useful for blending pastels but I like to used them to spread pastel over a sheet of paper to give a nice even tone. It is so much better than using your fingers!

A Great and Inexpensive blending tool
 What do you use to tone your paper?  Next I will blog about choosing the color for the toning!

'Dreamscape'          5x7        pastel
click here to purchase $50
Today's paintings are both 5x7 on Uart paper. They were toned using pastel and pipe insulation foam.

5 comments:

Donna T said...

Hi Karen, I've been playing with vodka since you blogged about it. I toned a piece of Somerset paper by rubbing in the pastel and then misting lightly with vodka. As long as I don't get the paper too wet it doesn't buckle. Thanks for the vodka tip - I like it much better than isopropyl alcohol.

robertsloan2art said...

Today's first painting is so amazing! I love that sky, the whole painting is so rich and subtle. Well done!

Great method of toning Uart paper. I have a foam brush that I use for the same thing on Wallis or any sanded paper that's a plain white color. I like the paper peeking through if it's black or colored but like you, white does not do it for me on that.

Very cool about pipe insulation spreaders. Didn't realize it'd be so good for toning.

Tim Moore said...

usually dont tone the whole paper just use watercolor in areas,then dry with a hairdryer...i can see how the pipe would give a better ,even spread than using fingers...now ,for that playing with vodka bit...

Liudmila Suhorucov said...

Hi Karen! I like reading your blog, it is so amazing, and many things to learn!
You have mentioned you don't accept the bumpy effect of the Canson. It is a bad mistake for a pastel painting? Personally, I use colored Conson, especially I choose those colors of papers (usually dark and intensive) that I don't have in my pastel palette. So, I leave the paper clear in the place of shadows.
What do you think about it, Karen? Thank you

Karen said...

Hi! Thank you for your comments. I don't mind the bumpy side of Canson. It is not wrong! it is actually the correct side. I also love using the colored papers!