Visit my Patreon Page for more painting instruction and Paint Along Videos!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Quick an Inexpensive Way to Make a Pastel Surface

'Morning Glory'          5x7       pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $95
I don't like to waste materials. That is why I have such a collection of stuff in my storage room. I came across a box of mat board drop outs and I can't wait to put them to use. I have a cheap and easy way to use them for pastel surfaces. I blogged about it a few years ago but it is worth revisiting the post. Read on!

Making my own pastel surface 

  I enjoy painting on my own home made surfaces but I don't like to prepare them. I don't like the mess of mixing the pumice and gesso. I don't like waiting for them to dry. So I don't bother making my own supports. Until now!

I was introduced to this method by a student who worked at a frame shop. She had a pastel artist customer who told her about using clear gesso on paper or boards. The clear gesso alone makes a wonderful surface. It has a small amount of grittiness which is just right for pastels. I tried it on these two small paintings.

'The View Towards Abiquiu'    3.5 x 3.5      pastel
 I am using scrap pieces of mat board.  I used Liquitex Clear Gesso. I simply brushed it on the mat board with a 1 inch brush. I made some smooth like linen weave and some with more random brush marks.  They dried quickly though I didn't paint on them right away.  I also applied some of the clear gesso on some Somerset white paper. I have some BFK Rives that I also want to try.

I am very happy with the amount of tooth that the clear gesso provides. I don't think I'd want it any rougher but I could add some pumice if I wanted to. I could also tint the gesso with liquid acrylics if I wanted toned supports.  But that would defeat the purpose of quick and easy!

If you are interested in other methods of creating your own pastel surfaces you might like to read my older post on home made surfaces.


Anonymous said...

I love the clear gesso method too! So far, clear gesso on Canson pastel paper is my favorite!

Sandy Askey-Adams said...

Karen...I have a lot of archival watercolor paper that I used when doing more watercolors. I would like to use some of it for doing pastels. Is that possible and a lasting surface for the pastels?
Or should I prime the paper?

Karen said...

Sandy watercolor paper is great for pastes but it doesn't have much tooth. Using the clear gesso would be a great solution!