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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Have You Tried Pastelmat Yet? 6 Reasons Why You Should.

'Taos Meadow' 8x10 pastel on Pastelmat with alcohol wash
purchase painting with paypal $145
Last week it was Canson MT Touch paper this week it is Pastelmat. I am having so much fun trying out new pastel papers. Pastelmat isn't exactly new but I haven't had the chance to use it much. This week I devoted myself to discovering all I could about Pastelmat. What did I discover? Like any surface it has pros and cons but what my work for my style may be perfect for yours so I encourage you to give it a try. Pastelmat is acid free, archival, lightfast and water resistant. It comes in 8 colors. It is a cellulose based surface that feels velvety but really grabs pastel.

Putting Pastelmat to the Test
I painted several paintings on 3 colors of pastelmat using a few different techniques. It is definitely worth giving it a try and here are 6 reasons why:
  1. It feels smooth but really grabs pastel. I only got 15 layers before I lost tooth which is quite a bit less than Canson Touch, Uart and Wallis but plenty for me. It is actually surprising how many layers it takes since it feels so smooth.
  2. Since it really grabs the pastel there is little dust and you don't really need fixative if you usually use it. But this also makes it hard to get big blended areas. You can blend but you can't spread the pastel with fingers. It stays put. You can easily blend by layering so it really isn't an issue for me. Love the NO DUST feature!
  3. The soft velvety surface is great for Pan Pastels. It won't destroy the blending tools like other rough sanded paper can. Also easy on the fingers if you are a finger blender. See a demo of Pan Pastels on Pastelmat by Deborah Secor
  4. Easy to correct problem areas. I had no problems making corrections. I was able to brush off a painting several times in a row with a stiff brush without removing the surface. I also was able to spray workable fixative in between to add texture.
  5. LinkUse it for Watercolor Underpaintings: The paper absorbed the watercolor like a sponge so there was little dripping and blooming. This can be good if you want control however I like the unpredictability of the wet underpainting and found that I wanted more drips and runs. The colors did dry nice and bright on the white paper. Drying time was 8x10 watercolor took at least 1/2 hour to dry. GOOD waving or buckling. The paper stayed flat and dried flat.
  6. Use it for Alcohol washes: Same results as watercolor...there wasn't much in the way of drips. Very controlled if you like that. Love that it doesn't buckle or wave.
  7. If you like to paint details you will be pleased with the ability to create nice crisp detailed lines on this paper. I found it easy to draw detailed lines on top of several layers of soft pastel.

How do you like Pastelmat? I welcome your impressions and tips!


C Neidhofer Art said...

I love PastelMat! I bought my first pad of it over a year ago. First thing I did when I opened the package was dump a glass of iced tea on it! It did leave stains, which was ok because they get painted over anyway. It stayed flat and I'm still using the sheets. I just ordered another pad of it because I did a painting on Colourfix, which has been my previous favorite, and I couldn't believe how much dust was generated! So yeah, PastelMat is my new favorite. Thanks for the review on it!

Karen said...

Thanks for your comments. I'm impressed with your iced tea test! That's good to know!

Unknown said...

I have just stumbled across this page whilst looking to purchase some more PastelMat. I am a self taught artist and I discovered pastelmat in 2012. I love it! I do mainly animals and I love the way you can layer up the base colours and they stay put. Then I use pencils to get the fine details on top and as it is so smooth the details look really fine. I am so hooked, I probably won't go back to using anything else. I will have to have a go with some of the techniques you mention on here :)

StonefeatherFineArt said...

PastelMat is pretty much my "Go TO" surface in Pastels! I love the way it works! Contrary to your comments about not being able to blend with your finger on it, I find it easily handles this technique! Perhaps I press harder or something!!?
I love the colored surface, but I'd love to see them expand on the available spectrum! I'm currently undertaking a series - "Eagles of the World". I'm researching surfaces that will render the affects/effects I seek for my next Eagle - the Bateleur! I need to build layers of luminous color on top of each other to show the amazing beauty of these birds & their iridescent coloring. I'm debating as to whether I'll use Pastel or Colored pencil, but I want a watercolor underpainting. I know either dry medium will work well on PastelMat. I haven't tried CP on it yet, however, & since I get tighter detail in that medium, I'm leaning in that direction. I like using alcohol with Colored pencil to blend & obtain rich/vibrant colors in great fine detail. I feel PastelMat will be ideal for the dry media, but I'm nervous about the wet techniques I'm hoping to achieve! Here goes! One doesn't discover answers by being "safe" ! Amazing results are the product of risk taking!