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Sunday, May 24, 2015

How To Prepare Pastel Paper for Plein Air Painting

'Dreams of Zion'                5x7          pastel           ©Karen Margulis
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I love to experiment with paper. Not always though. When I go on a plein air trip I want to be sure I have my favorite paper with me. Plein air painting is challenging enough. Especially when visiting an unknown place. We are dealing with different light, different weather, new scenery. It is easy to get overwhelmed. Throw in a new paper and it is a recipe for frustration.

I always pack plenty of my favorite go-to paper for plein air. It used to be Wallis Belgian Mist paper. I loved the gray brown tone of the paper. It worked perfectly for quick plein air studies. I didn't have to tone it or do any underpainting. I didn't have to worry about the light bits of paper peeking through my pastel layers. The nice brown tone unified my paintings.

Last time I checked Wallis wasn't available. Last fall Kitty Wallis was taking orders for seconds and a new warm mist paper but I don't know if that is still available.  So I have decided to make my owned Belgian Mist toned paper!

I start with a full sheet of my favorite paper....UArt 500 grade sanded pastel paper. I cut it into the sizes I want to bring. I only will bring 5x7 and 8x10. I use a ruler and scissors or utility knife.
Alternately you can tone the entire sheet first and then cut it to size.

I am using sample cans of latex house paint that I found in Home Depot in the 'oops' section. Someone couldn't get the color they wanted but it was the perfect color for my paper. You could just find a color chip you like and have a sample can prepared. A sample is usually under $5.

I diluted the paint with water so it was thin. I don't want it to clog the tooth of the paper. If I can see the paper through the paint than it is thin enough. I also use a cheap brush. You can use a roller for a smoother application.

When the paint was dry I cut my paper to size. Here is my paper ready to be loaded into my portfolio folders.  You can see I have tones Uart, regular Uart and some Pastel Premier Italian Clay paper. I am still too new to Pastel Premier to make it my only choice. I need to work with it some more.

Loaded and ready to go! You can read about how I carry paper and store finish paintings HERE.

Today's painting is a plein air study done on tined Uart at Zion National Park.


robertsloan2art said...

Now that is so cool! Yeah, I can see how latex house paint thinned enough could really work as it'd go on smooth and stay evenly toned. A transparent color wouldn't do that.

However, a gouache tint mixed thoroughly and applied smoothly with cheap brush or roller might.

Love those Itoya Profolias. Got to put some small ones on my next Blick order. So convenient.

Margretta S. Perry said...

I loved the Wallis Belgian Mist paper and ordered some of the "warm" paper--not my favorite. A friend of mine used an alcohol wash with pastel on her new "warm" Wallis and the paper got brittle and split. I'm afraid to try anything like that now on that paper.

Adriana Guidi said...

Nice I love your tip using house paint! Thanks Karen!