Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Tip for Choosing Pastel Paper

'Daisy Fantasy'         11x14            pastel  on Canson            ©Karen Margulis
sold. other daisy painting available in my etsy shop
It is that time again. I am running very low on paper so it is time to pace an order for supplies.  I usually place a big online order every few months and wait for a coupon code and free shipping. We do have a couple of local art stores and while it would be a good thing to give them my business they aren't really close and don't always have the quantity I want. It is more cost effective and a time saver for me to buy bulk online.

Whenever I order paper I always order my favorite 'Go To' pastel paper which is UArt 400-600 grade sanded paper. I order 20 sheets of 18x24 which I will cut to size as needed.  But I always choose to order another brand of paper. I alternate brands or look to try paper I haven't used before or in a long time.

 I like to change it up sometimes. 

Pastel on Uart paper with a watercolor underpainting

    Paper really does make a difference in the look and feel of a painting. A pastel done on Canson will have a very different look than one done on sanded paper...even if the exact same pastels are used. (see my daisy paintings as an example)
  • I have a rule of thumb when it comes to pastel paper. I never say I hate or dislike a paper. Instead I remind myself that if I am not having success with a paper it isn't the paper...more likely I haven't found the right technique or pastel for it. If I revisit the paper after a break from it I may discover something that suits it. Never say never!
  • Another rule of thumb is that I encourage my students to try new papers...but they should stick with one paper at a time until they feel like they really know how it behaves. This is especially important to those new to pastels. If you are using a different surface every time you show up at the easel, it is difficult to get to know how the pastels behave. Stick with one paper for a wile, then experiment.
  • When trying a new paper be prepared to do at least 5-10 paintings on it before you decide if it suits you. One try with a paper isn't really giving it a fair shot. Be ready to get to really know it (even if you don't really care for it)

Paper really does make a difference in the look and feel of a painting. A pastel done on Canson will have a very different look than one done on sanded paper...even if the exact same pastels are used. (see my daisy paintings as an example)

Both Blick.com and Jerrys Artarama are having coupon sales with free shipping now through August 1st. Time to get some new paper!

Painting notes: The top painting is on Canson Mi-Teintes paper and the bottom painting is on Uart both with a mix of pastel mostly Terry Ludwig.

2 comments:

ART-TRAVELLER said...

Your paintings are always so wonderful !!!
Wish you beautiful springtime !!!

robertsloan2art said...

Oh yes! I love doing this. I like the papers that come in a variety of colors, but Uart has that wonderful variety of grits. The more variety, the better. Each paper has its favorite pastels and gives very different results. I even like Sennelier La Carte's surface very much, and some of its colors are gorgeous... but I have to be careful about any moisture near it, even breath, so I haven't actually done much on it or ordered much of it. That'll really wait till my studio is built where I may have better paper storage. Might be able to convince my son in law to make a flat file for me someday... or find something like your baker's tray to stack different papers on.

I do use the big plastic bags that Blick sends full sheets of paper in to store them. I keep them too so that I've got them around to store large paintings as well later on. Or different paper that I got somewhere else. The boxes it ships in are also good as mat cutting surfaces, laid on the floor or on a table.

I've gotten my folding table! Bought that for Gulf Wars but when they get my studio-cottage built I'll keep it clear, either by folding up when I'm done with it or just clearing it off rather than working on it steadily. It'll be good for everything from mat cutting to cutting fabric to laying out multiple pastel sets while painting. I just need to keep in the habit of clearing it off when I'm done or it'll turn into The Place All Pastel Sets Live, Stacked...