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Friday, July 21, 2017

Friday Fun: Embrace Paper that you Hate

'Discovering the Magic'       9x12      pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $145
Hate is a strong word. I try not to use it. Maybe I should say strongly dislike but when you are painting on a paper that you struggle with it is easy to say the 'H' word! I am often asked about my pastel paper preferences....my likes and dislikes. I try to be diplomatic with my answer because everyone has their own preference. If I hear a student complain about a paper brand I usually try to encourage them to find a way to make the paper work....try another pastel type for example. 

But I am going to share a deep dark secret......I do have a paper that I strongly dislike. I today I thought it would be fun to confront my aversion and make it work. And in the end I discovered something new.....I don't really dislike the paper at all!

my reference photo
Usually when we don't like the way a paper is performing it is because we just don't have enough experience working with it. Remember the first time you tried your favorite paper? Was it love at first mark? Did it take some time to discover the idiosyncrasies of the paper? Often we give up on a paper before we discover what works best with it.

For today's Friday Fun painting I decided to try a piece of my nemesis.....Art Spectrum Colourfix. It has not been a favorite of mine and so I haven't bought any in years. I was recently given some paper and pastels (more on this soon) and there was a pack of Colourfix in the pile.  It was time to revisit this paper. Scroll down to see the progress on this light blue piece of colourfix 9x12.

Now it is your turn. Do yo have a paper that you strongly dislike? Maybe you have a piece or two hidden away somewhere. I challenge you to have some fun and try painting it this weekend. You might be pleasantly surprised as I was. Colourfix wasn't as challenging as I remembered it.

*****The response to my question about signing your work has been fantastic. I will need more time to compile all of your answers. Thank you so much for your response!


Judy Felsen said...

When I first tried Pastelmat I really didn't like it. Not for plain air or in my studio.Many months later I painted a small floral that needed good blending. It worked well for me. I usually use Sennelier LaCarte and MiTientes Touch. I also like Ampersand pastelboards.

NancyO. said...

This is so beautiful !! Love it !

robertsloan2art said...

I love Colourfix. It was one of the first sanded papers I ever tried. The one that annoyed me most was Wallis, which was too coarse and of course will sand your fingertips off if you try finger blending. Of course now I can work on it because I don't always finger blend, but it used to give me a really hard time. That and I rarely layer enough to really take advantage of that coarse a texture.

I've come to enjoy nearly all pastel papers. I avoided getting Sennelier La Carte though, because of its sensitivity to moisture. A sneeze, a heavy breath, a sweaty hand and oops, there goes the coating sliding off of it. Don't think I could really overcome that.

But nothing in pastel papers compares to the way I feel about trying to use watercolor on Yupo, where I really can't get edges to shape up or control what the brush is doing. Yupo is weird and nonabsorbent, anything painted on it comes up rough and crude but not in any way painterly. It does come up bright, but it won't give me fine detail or anything but uncontrolled hard edges. It's been extremely frustrating since I liked the idea of it, but anything I ever did on it came out looking like a child's efforts. The only thing that might possibly work is trying dry media on it, colored pencils or something.

Jane Anne Robertson said...

Yes colourfix takes some getting used to! When I first tried it, in my naievtè & coming from the miteints & in those days being a blender (!) I had to stop and put the painting away for a while because I rubbed the skin away😀 however I do now quite enjoy it.

Kath Pearson said...

This is such a great post, Karen! I love love love Colourfix's texture and colors of sanded paper that are available. I like the way you encourage us to experiment with things, teaching us that there are no rules. I want to experiment more with making my own pastel paper using gesso. I love what you did with this painting. It hardly looks like a challenge to me!

Shahar said...

As always, Karen, I appreciate you sharing about your process.

I'm quite challenged by Colorfix too, and the only thing that has slightly improved my opinion of it has been sticking to my harder pastels - nupastel, mount vision, unison, and even rembrandts. (I've been reluctant to use my ludwigs and soft d townsends on it too much) It gives me fits with softer sticks like great American, sennelier, or schminke. I do realize if I used it more...and more...and more I might reach a plateau from which I could achieve predictable results.

It's all a learning process, isn't it? And the journey can be so rewarding, and fun!

Love your blogs and seeing you on instagram. Thank you!

Shahar said...

Karen, What are the adaptations you have found to enable you to use Colorfix paper more enjoyably/successfully?

Karen said...

Thanks everyone!
I found that my softer pastels worked great and If I used workable fixative in between layers I got more tooth and texture.