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Monday, December 14, 2020

A Tip for Working on a Textured Surface with Pastels

                         ' City Sidewalks'          10x8            pastel            ©Karen Margulis     $250

I am working on a winter cityscape series and I am hooked on this surface!  I have used these home made boards in the past and I love them but I am finding them to be a great choice for these cityscapes. I made the boards by using tinted clear gesso on Canson art boards. I tinted the gesso with some mid value warm brown acrylic paint an applied it with random brushstrokes onto the board. I also prepped some boards with acrylic micaceous oxide paint which is a gritty dark gray paint. 

After working with these textured boards for awhile I have discovered some techniques that work to make paintings on the boards more successful. It can be a challenge to paint on the rough surface. Not only does the texture eat up pastels faster than smoother surfaces, the texture can be frustrating. It is difficult to get fine detail. This is one of the reasons I love the texture but if you are used to painting with fine detail the boards just don't allow it!

One of the ways I overcome this texture issue is to use hard pastels for the first few layers of the painting. I like to apply a layer of Nupastels and rub in this layer into the surface. This starts to fill in the grooves of the surface making it easier to apply subsequent layers of pastel. The texture will still come through in the final painting but it will be subtle and will add interest. The subsequent soft pastel layers go on the surface easily without getting used up as quickly!

Here is a photo of the surface before any pastel is applied. I used a variety of Nupastels to paint the first layer. I then use a piece of pipe insulation foam rub in this first layer. I love this surface and this technique and can't wait for my next painting!

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