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Saturday, December 03, 2016

When Are You Good Enough for the Good Paper

'Making Tracks for the Big Hill'               18x24              pastel             ©Karen Margulis
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While I am in Chicago I am sharing favorite posts from the archives. This post dresses a question I am asked often. Enjoy!

The Good Paper sits on the shelf waiting for the right time. It sometimes seems as if this paper is as precious as gold. I contemplate using it and then I hesitate. I need a better painting idea. I don't want to mess up and waste it. So it sits and gathers dust. 

What is Good Paper and when is the right time to use it?

Good Paper is different for all of us. It depends on our preferences. For me the Good Paper is my small stash of Wallis paper. It has become precious to me since I can't get it (hopefully that will change soon) For those new to pastel the Good Paper is usually any of the sanded papers. Because the sanded papers are more expensive than unsanded papers such as Canson, they become precious.

" I am not good enough for the sanded paper" " I'll wait until I am better" "I don't want to mess up and waste the sanded paper"  So often I hear this from new pastelists.  I have some advice and I am taking it to heart myself.

Good Paper will help you become Good Enough.  If you have tried a certain paper and you like it but you feel you aren't worthy of it, go take it out or order some more and USE it!  It will make you feel good and you will often have less struggles.....painting becomes more enjoyable and so you paint more and the more you paint the better you get.......Good Paper helps you become Good Enough!

close-up detail of the sledders on the Big Hill

I took my own advice today. I have a few sheets of Wallis white paper. I don't know what I am saving it for but I decided I would use the whole sheet for a painting.  The paper isn't going to get better with age so why not enjoy it. I did enjoy it!

TIP:  If the cost of sanded paper is a concern keep in mind that sanded papers and boards can be washed off, wet down, sprayed. They can take all kinds of abuse.  If you don't like what you have done....reuse the paper and start over. In the end it is actually more cost effective than the less expensive unsanded papers. 

My palette for today's painting
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robertsloan2art said...

I agree with this 100%! So true! It helped me to stock up on the Good Paper and have lots and lots of it around.

When it's sanded paper, it can also help to get a cheap 140lb watercolor pad and some Colourfix primer or Golden Pumice Gel so as to make sanded paper copious and cheap. Or reuse the primer over failed watercolors, giving colored sanded paper. If Colourfix is your favorite sanded paper, the primer comes up exactly like the printed Colourfix in three thin coats in all its colors. There is no sense in wasting good paper.

But the main thing is to actually use the sanded papers and boards. It took me a while to find out which ones I liked best anyway. Colourfix is still high on my list because of its colors, comes close to Mi-Tientes in how I feel about it because I can do a royal blue sheet or a black or a rust or anything I felt like. Paper color inspires me. Paper variety inspires me. The best way to get over being good enough for sanded paper is to get so much of it that I really don't worry about it. Then keep the promise to self to get more!

You will really laugh, but there was a stage when using colored Canson Mi-Tientes instead of sketchbook drawing paper was The Good Paper, Special For Pastels. I didn't start getting it regularly till I started selling pastels in New Orleans. From there it became a staple and stopped being too good to use.

I know that wouldn't work with discontinued Wallis, but that's more a grieving process since it was one of your favorites. I'm glad it wasn't one I liked best, I still have some but am not scrounging around looking for people who resell theirs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this advice. :D

Karen said...

Great points!!! I always love to read your helpful and instcomments!!