Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Choosing the Right Paper for a Pastel Painting


'Bulldog Canyon'         5x7       plein air pastel          ©Karen Margulis

Choosing paper is like choosing your painting spot in a class. If you have ever attended a painting class or workshop you know what I am talking about.  So often we get set in our ways once we pick a spot or favorite paper.  Have you ever noticed how a group of artist in a class will go to the same spot week after week?  It's comfortable. It fits.  We don't like to change seats!  I remember when my teacher Marsha Savage made us change our painting spots each week. We rebelled and went back to our regular spots!

So how is this like choosing pastel paper?  I find the same thing happens. We discover a paper we like and we are often reluctant to try other papers. I think it is important that we do spend enough time with a paper to get to know how it performs. But is it also important not to get into a paper rut.

Paper does make a difference in a painting. Different papers lead to unique results. Take the tow plein air paintings in today's post. They were painted within 30 minutes of each other but they appear very different. It has a lot to do with the paper. The top painting is on Pastelmat. I find this paper to give me very smooth marks. I tend to paint with chunkier bolder strokes on Pastelmat.  The paper below is Uart 240 grade which has been toned a medium brown. This is a toothy surface and you can see how this created a rougher appearance to my pastel application.

Paper choice matters!

'Morning in the Canyon'         5x7       pastel          $50

So my advice is to avoid a paper rut by trying samples of the many papers we have available. When you find one you like buy more and get to know it. But then change your spot....add a different paper to your routine and see how you can get it to work for you. Sometimes it is just a matter of discovering the right pastel brand or underpainting technique. It is all a part of your pastel journey and through play you are adding to your miles of paper!

1 comment:

Doris said...

Great blog, I love trying different papers. Getting away from using Wallis, I love Pastelmat and UArt (different grades) or anything new to try. Love making my own surface. Also Fisher 400, but Its like UArt 400.
Keep blogging, I read with coffee every morning!