|'In the Mood' 9x9 pastel ©Karen Margulis|
Like many artists new to pastels I started out using Canson Mi-Teintes paper, some NuPastels and some Rembrandts. And like many I struggled with this combination. I couldn't get the rich colors that I admired in pastel paintings. Mine were muddy. Once I discovered sanded paper and softer pastels I stopped using Canson. Over the years I have revisited Canson and now I love it. What I discovered is that I had better luck when I developed a lighter touch and when I used softer pastels. If you are like me and don't enjoy Canson, let me share what I like about it and perhaps I can convince you to give it another try!
- It is inexpensive and readily available even in local craft & hobby stores.
- It comes in many colors so no need to tone your paper
- It is versatile with a bumpy and smooth side. Use the bumpy side if you want texture. I prefer the smooth side.
- It has a wonderful soft feel which is so nice to work on.
- It is easy to blend areas if you like blending. I like to blend in my first layer to give me a 'ghost' image underpainting. It is harder to blend on sanded paper since it grabs the pastel.
- It is a great teacher...it teaches you to have a lighter touch and to make each stroke count.
Yes it is true that Canson holds less layers of pastel than sanded papers but you may be surprised at how much it can hold. I did a layer test and got 11 layers of soft pastels vs. only 7 layers of NuPastels (harder). Some artists sand their Canson to raise the nap but 11 layers is enough for me! Yes it is true that you can't do wet underpaintings on Canson but I can do a soft, blended dreamy underpainting which is wonderful.
It may not be as forgiving as sanded papers in that you can't wash off a painting but you can brush out areas and use workable fixative if you want to make corrections. I do love the choice of colors but my favorite color is Moonstone which is a warm medium gray. It works for everything. I will certainly use sanded paper when I want to do wet underpaintings but no longer will I hesitate using Canson. In fact I just ordered some more!
In case you were wondering how to pronounce Mi-Teintes and what it means. I looked it up and it means 'Mid Tones' in French and it is pronounced 'Me Taunts'
|The beginnings of the painting....blocking in the darks|
|Adding a layer everywhere before blending in the first layer.|
I did use Blair workable fixative to build up layers in the ground but none in the sky.