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Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Pastel Paper for Quick Studies

'Autumn Glory'          5x7            pastel               ©Karen Margulis
It's time to get outside and paint! I admit that I hibernate in the studio in the winter. But when the weather gets nice I want to be outside. I have a planned a full schedule of plein air trips and workshops and I am taking time this week to get my gear tuned up and ready!

I have a new plein air set up which I will share in an upcoming post. I need to load my new box with pastels. I also need to get my paper ready. While Uart paper is my favorite paper for studio work, I have a need for a different paper for the way I work outside. I need a sanded paper that is a middle value gray. Why you ask?

Dakota Pastel Premium Sanded Paper
When I am painting on location I prefer to work fast and small. I do several quick studies rather than working on one larger painting. I am taking notes. I need to find a way to paint more efficiently so I can simply respond to my scene. If I can work on a toned surface I don't have to worry about doing an underpainting. A medium value gray tone works well to unite my painting.

In the past I have relied on Wallis Belgian Mist paper. Due to the current unavailability of this paper I have been looking for a substitute. I have toned my Uart medium gray with success but when I saw Dakota Pastels offers a new sanded paper by Handbook Paper Co.  I wanted to give it a test run.

I tried the gray paper called Italian Clay. It is a medium fine 320 grit. I was pleased with it on the first try. As with any new paper I will need to work on it more so I can learn what to expect. But this first try has me thinking I will be able to use it for my quick plein air studies. I will report back after I put all of the grades and colors through their paces. Here is some information about the paper from Dakota. 

Sanded Pastel Paper from Handbook Paper Co.
Origin: USA
Colors: 2
Weight: 145lb / 310gsm
Premium Qualities:
100% cotton
Acid-Free & Archival
Superior Durability
Multiple Layers of Pastel
Made in USA
Introducing a new Archival Quality paper for the pastel artist - Pastel Premier! Made in the USA, Pastel Premier is produced on 100% cotton, acid-free paper. Made exclusively for Pastel Premier, the unique surface is created by double priming the 100% cotton base paper, then coating with an aluminum oxide abrasive. This produces an ideal, evenly coated surface for pastel painting. A final seal layer is applied to the primed and abrasive coated sheet to make the surface extremely durable and able to withstand almost any measure of scrubbing and reworking. The paper works with a wide range of wet media (water, alcohol, mineral spirits, etc)
for under-painting. 
Pastel Premier is available in three surfaces: Medium Fine, Fine and Extra Fine. The Medium Fine (320 grit used to make the Italian Clay) and Fine (400 grit used to make White) have a very similar aggressive gritty feel to the surface. The Extra Fine is a 600 grit surface that is much smoother and available in White only.
The Medium Fine and Fine surfaces accept as many as 25 layers of pastel. The Extra Fine is a less aggressive surface for lighter work and more detail.
Pastel Premier comes in White (slightly warm) and Italian Clay (warmish neutral gray).
Pastel Premier is available in Pochettes (packets of unbound sheets), Sheets and Rolls:
Pochettes: 9" x 12" (8 sheets) & 12" x 16" (6 sheets)
Sheets: 20" x 26" & 


M. J. Joachim said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. It is always nice to go out again after being cooped up for too long.

robertsloan2art said...

I got to try it and I love that Italian Clay color. It's a nice warm mid-neutral and it's just right for going up and down in values. I need to order a pack of it in the medium grit.

For some reason I'm drifting away from very fine grits but that's okay, might just be where my head is right now. It's good to have that as an option. This is good paper and I can see the point because outdoors you're working out values. Light or dark winds up skewing values while working but if you make light and dark marks early in the process, values will fall right into place fast! Unfinished areas won't distract by too much contrast.

Meanwhile in studio your alcohol wash value sketch on light paper also creates good values. It's just a matter of what's faster!

Randall Smith said...

Thanks for the heads-up on this new paper. I been wondering about it.

Have you tried the gray and brown Pastelmat? It works great for me outside for quick sketches!

Prodriguez said...

Do you cut your sanded paper to the size you want? I asked once at an art store and they said the sanding would crumble. Does it? How do you make mini pastels with it otherwise? I'm going on a cruise and am excited to take pastels with me.

Karen said...

Thank you all! Yes I do cut my own sanded paper with scissors and with a paper cutter. I never had problems with it crumbling!