Friday, February 05, 2016

Choosing Paper for Pastel Painting

'Meadow Light'          13 x 18      pastel  on Uart        ©Karen Margulis
available  $175

Paper choice does matter. Pastels perform differently on various types of paper so when you are starting out it is a good idea to try out a few and then stick with one you like until you are comfortable with it. I don't mind unsanded paper like Canson Mi-Teintes and use it often but my current favorite paper is Uart.


I love paper. I have a big assortment of all kinds or art paper. Fortunately I have a great paper rack to keep it on. I can't resist buying a new kind of paper or trying paper that another artist recommends. But if I had to downsize and keep only one brand of pastel paper I would keep my UArt paper.

If you haven't tried Uart let me give you 10 good reasons in no particular order.

1.  It comes in a nice color. All Uart is a manilla color. Kind of like a pale creamy yellow. I like it. Sometimes I find the middle gray papers a bit too dark. The Uart color isn't as bright as white paper but allows for nice luminous under paintings with watercolor and oil. It doesn't look as distracting when it isn't completely covered up. White paper showing through can be distracting.

2. Choice of Grit.  Uart comes in several grades of grit.  It is a sanded surface and unlike some brands Uart gives you a choice in grittiness. You can get a rough gritty paper in 240 and 320 grades. These papers hold many layers of pastel and stand up to more aggressive techniques. 800 is the smoothest paper able to handle fine detail.  I prefer 500 and 600 grade paper. It is a nice middle ground....not too rough and not too smooth.

3. Choice of size.  Uart gives you a choice of paper sizes including rolls!  I like to order 18x24 sheets and cut them to the size I like. I tend to paint small so 18x24 is big for me!

4. It stays flat!  This is a big selling point for me. Uart paper tends to stay flat with no waving or buckling when I do a wet underpainting. Every once in awhile I get it too wet and I have to flatten it but most of the time it dries nice and flat!

5. Good Price. Uart gives you choices in sizes which helps the price. I can get an 18x24 sheet at online art stores for around $6.50 with coupon. Cut into pieces it is just pennies per painting.

6. It comes Mounted as well as unmounted.   If you like working on boards, you can get Uart mounted to conservation board. You can also mount it yourself using a variety of methods.

7. It has a Uniform surface.  The sanded surface of Uart is nice and even....no areas where it is rougher or smoother.  You always know what you will get. AND it tales all kinds of pastel with ease from the hardest to the softest.

8. It is reliable. Like #7 it is uniform in grit and always the same. I did once get a 'bad' batch that had a diagonal grit which I actually liked. Uart offered to replace it though. I would like the diagonal grit as an option!!

9. It is archival.  Uart paper is PH Neutral and Acid free so your paintings will last forever.

10.  You deserve it!  You don't need to wait until you think you are 'good enough' for sanded paper. Using Uart will actually help you become a better painter. You should always use the best materials that you can afford and Uart is the best paper for my money!  Give it a try with a sample pack form dakota Pastels!



2 comments:

robertsloan2art said...

Uart is wonderful! I stocked up with big sheets in all the grits because I like variety, really enjoy being able to choose what fits that painting in particular. I like other papers too but Uart is fantastic. I prefer it to Wallis, which was too coarse for me. I don't layer enough to really take advantage of Wallis texture and don't often work so large that the coarse texture gives enough detail. Middle grits like 400-500 are fine though, and once in a while I do want that coarse texture.

Judy Baker said...

I love Uart too! Could you do a post on how to mount Uart to foamboard? Thanks for all the information you share. I look forward to opening your blog post every day--a highlight of my day! Thanks a bunch!!!