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Sunday, January 18, 2015

How to Create Texture on Sanded Pastel Paper

'Hand Over the Apple and No One Gets Hurt'            12x12          pastel             ©Karen Margulis
I needed her to be shaggy. I was using a piece of Uart sanded paper and I just wasn't getting the fluffy scruffy look I wanted for my Icelandic sheep. She was too smooth and silky. This was not a silky girl. She was a sheep with an attitude and a scruffy coat to match.  We met her at a roadside pullout somewhere in Iceland. She stared us down and actually followed us around the parking area. We finally figure out she was interested in our snack. As soon as we threw her an apple all was well!

So how could I get a textured look to my painting? Sure I could have used a surface prepared with clear gesso or a pumice mix and gesso. Both give a rougher and more textured start to a painting. But I had already started the painting on the Uart paper. I didn't really want to start over and I didn't want to wait for gesso to dry!  I had an idea.

layering darks before spraying

I had already layered the dark pastels for the undercoat of the sheep. I took out some workable fixative and sprayed the painting. It darkened the fur but also fixed the dark layers.

tools for texture

Once the fixative was dry I added more pastel. I began to add the lighter colors in the coat. After a few layers I used the edge of a bankers clip and the end of a brush handle to scrape into the pastel layers.

First pass looks like a mess. keep going!

 Repeat the spray, pastel layer and scraping. Each time these steps are repeated adds to the texture and roughness of the pastel. I repeated these steps at least 4 times in my sheep. By the fourth time I was really able to dig through the layers to expose the darks. I was happy with my scruffy coat!

Now it is starting to get rough. This is fun!
It took a little time to add layers this way but it sure was fun. Now I have to try it on other subjects.


Rolina said...

What a super technique - the result is perfect!

robertsloan2art said...

Wow, thanks for a cool technique! I love the effect and your sheep's wooly, ragged coat is wonderful. Sounds like the best techniques come from immediate experiments.

That is cool about the fixative to keep the underlayers from moving. I wouldn't have thought of that since I don't usually use fixative on sanded paper. I love how it darkens sometimes though, this totally makes sense!