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Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Pastel Support I Love to Hate

'Take a Walk in the Meadow with Me'           8x10          pastel           ©Karen Margulis
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I hate it until I love it. It happens every time I use it. It's that kind of surface for me.
 I am talking about Multimedia Artboard or the pastel version Pastel Artist Panels.  I was first introduced to this surface at a workshop with Bill Creevy at the last IAPS convention. The workshop was about pastels and water. It was a lot of fun layering and layering pastels and water. We needed to use a surface that would take a lot of abuse. The Multimedia Artboard was perfect. It stood up to whatever we could throw at it. Bill joked that it would probably be able to withstand a bath of sulfuric acid!

But I have a definite love-hate relationship with this surface. My usual technique with pastels just doesn't work well on it.  The boards are very different. They are thin like paper but rigid like a board. They are flexible but can snap if bent too far. They have a resin thermoplast coating and are acid free, won't yellow or buckle when wet. They can be used on both sides. The Multimedia Artboard doesn't have any grit but the Pastel Artist panels do have a sanded side for pastels. You can use both for pastels and I sometimes add my own layer of pumice mix for grit.

close up detail of my painting done on Multimedia Artboard
I have found that this surface is at it's best when I want to build up multiple layers and especially when layering with wet media or fixative in between layers. I don't usually work this way so my paintings done with a light touch and few layers don't look finished for some reason. But all I need to do is take out some water and spray it or brush it and work at it and layer......the result can be exciting. I am able to build up interesting texture and I never have to worry about the paper buckling or not taking any more pastel. It just takes some time and TLC and I dislike it until it starts working then I love it!


Harriet McDonald said...

One of my favorite surfaces for painting oil is the Multimedia Art Board. I put on a layer of gesso and it's wonderful. Never considered using it for pastel, though. I'm excited about the idea, though, & will guarantee I will be purchasing some of the sanded board right away! Thanks for this post on this wonderful product!

HappyPainter212 said...

Oh yes! I quite agree. The pastel board seems to eat up pastels better than my art demons! But if I stick with it, it often works. Never thought about using liquids in between layers. thanks!