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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Best Grade of Uart Pastel Paper


'Listen to the Marsh Music'         18x24         pastel  on Uart 600     ©Karen Margulis
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 Choices are great. But sometimes too many choices can be overwhelming. I love Uart paper and one of the reasons is the variety of grits that are available. Whether you like a rough toothy surface or a smooth velvety one,  Uart has a paper for you.

What if you don't really know what you like? If you haven't tried all of the grades of Uart paper how will you know which one is best?  I decided to put the paper to the test to find out the best grade.

The answer?  I like them all!  I recommend you give this little test a try so that you can experience them all for yourself. The best grade is the grade that gives you the results you want!  My test can give you an idea of what you might expect.  (click on photos to enlarge them)

Uart Paper Grade Test
 For the test I cut small pieces of each of the 7 available grades of Uart paper. You can get a sample pack of papers at Dakota Pastels.  For the control I decided to paint the same scene with the same pastels on each sample. I chose one of my personal favorite marsh paintings because I wouldn't mind painting it 7 more times!



  • The lower the number the rougher or toothier the surface. So 240, 280 and 320 are the roughest grits. For those of you who like Wallis paper these lower numbers have the closest feel to the grit of Wallis.
  • The lower the number, the grainer the pastel application. Click to enlarge so you can see the textured look to my marks.



  • The middle numbers 400, 500 and 600 are still toothy but not as rough as the lower numbers. 
  • 400 is a good compromise between rough and smooth.
  • These 3  are my preferred grades. I personally don't notice too much difference between these three so I am equally content using any of them. I would say that 400 and 500 are my favorite if I had to choose. 



  • 800 grade paper is quite smooth and velvety although it is still sanded paper. I noticed a much smoother application of pastel with little feeling of texture. If you need fine detail, this grade is your best choice.


I also decided to do a layer test. I wanted to know which paper grade held the most layers of pastel. I did the test on 240 and 800 grade. I was quite surprised to find that each grade easily took 21 layers. I expected that the rougher paper would take more layers than the smooth but this was not the case. They actually could have handled more layers without filling the tooth but I stopped at 21....that's a lot of layers!

I enjoyed discovering the subtle difference the grit could make. Overall I would be happy with any of the grades. Uart is my go-to paper. I find it to be very versatile and always gives me good results. (and takes a beating when I have to fight for those results!)

Read more about Uart paper on their website here.http://www.uartpastelpaper.com/default.asp I just bought my first roll and will soon blog about how I am flattening the rolled paper.

8 comments:

mi fasola said...

this was so helpful!

Sandi G said...

This was a test I did recently an came up wit similar results so I ended up after purchasing the sample pack ..which I cut into 7x7 squares to paint ordering 240 and 400 grit . I will choose one based on type of painting .
Fantastic paper and can take an underpainting.
Thanks for all your info .Sandi

jytte said...

Dear Karen

Nobody is selling uart paper in Europe and SAA in the UK only sell the sample pack for customers outside Britain. (sigh) So I am working on Pastelmat which is excellent too. :o)

Janine Aykens said...

Hi, Karen! Would you be able to comment on which grade is closest to Sennelier La Carte? Thanks!

Karen said...

Good question Janine! I would have to say the middle grits 400 500 but really they are not at all alike so it is hard to compare. LaCarte is a much 'softer' touch hard to explain but I don't get the ams effect on any grade of hart as I do on Lacarte. You just need both!

Janine Aykens said...

Thanks for responding, Karen! It's true, there's not often a direct substitute for these materials...I just wish La Carte was compatible with washes. I know some folks use alcohol or turp with it, I've found that ANY liquid takes the grit off mine. Anyhoo, happy painting!

Unknown said...

What grade do you think would be best for portraits? Thanks for all the great info!

Karen said...

I don't paint portraits so I am not sure. I would imagine a smoother grit would lead to softer smoother looking skin tones.