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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cheap and Easy Way to Make a Sanded Pastel Surface

'Storm Along the Turquoise Trail'    3.5 x 3.5    pastel     ©Karen Margulis
available in my Etsy shop  $35
I don't like to waste materials. That is why I had such a collection of stuff to go through in my studio renovation. I came acre a box of mat board drop outs and I can't wait to put them to use. I have a cheap and easy way to use them for pastel surfaces. I blogged about it a few years ago but it is worth revisiting the post. Read on!

'Yucca'      3.5 x 3.5  sold

  I enjoy painting on my own home made surfaces but I don't like to prepare them. I don't like the mess of mixing the pumice and gesso. I don't like waiting for them to dry. So I don't bother making my own supports. Until now!

I was introduced to this method by a student who worked at a frame shop. She had a pastel artist customer who told her about using clear gesso on paper or boards. The clear gesso alone makes a wonderful surface. It has a small amount of grittiness which is just right for pastels. I tried it on these two small paintings.

'The View Towards Abiquiu'    3.5 x 3.5      pastel
 I am using scrap pieces of mat board courtesy of my student. (it's great to have a framer as a student!)  I used Liquitex Clear Gesso. I simply brushed it on the mat board with a 1 inch brush. I made some smooth like linen weave (top painting) and some with more random brush marks. (bottom painting) They dried quickly though I didn't paint on them right away.  I also applied some of the clear gesso on some Somerset white paper. I have some BFK Rives that I also want to try.

I am very happy with the amount of tooth that the clear gesso provides. I don't think I'd want it any rougher but I could add some pumice if I wanted to. I could also tint the gesso with liquid acrylics if I wanted toned supports.  But that would defeat the purpose of quick and easy!

Making my own pastel surface 
If you are interested in other methods of creating your own pastel surfaces you might like to read my post on home made surfaces.

Mystery Painting Giveaway continues this week! Purchase a painting from my Etsy shop and receive a mystery painting free! 5x7 painting get a 5x7 painting of my choice. 8x10 or larger get an 8x10 of my choice. See al available paintings here :


Catherine S said...

Being also a watercolour artist, with a lot of mat board laying around, I also do this same thing Karen. But so far I have coated the mat board using GOLDEN Acrylic Ground for Pastels. It works great!.

I also used this same acrylic ground on top of Canson paper that came glued to a backing board. Since I don't use the highly textured side of Canson paper, but that was forgotten until it arrived, I also coated them with the same Golden Acrylic ground. It also works really well. I can still see the different colours of the Canson paper through the transparent ground when it dries.

Unknown said...

I have a lot of trouble with the expense of the papers as well. I love Uart 500 grit but if I could only afford it by the roll. I've only been pastel painting for a year or so and my paintings are not always ones I'd want to sell!

I began mixing my own gesso and pumice and water to make my sanded paper but i do had trouble getting a smooth surface without lines. I found spraying water on at the end helped to smooth things out as well as using a fine brush, not hog bristle. But I still wasn't satisfied.

So today I am going to try again with a roller. I will spread it on and roll it out with my smooth ink brayer to see if this works. If it is too slippery I may just go to the hardware store to find a really fine paint roller. Wish me luck I will let you know how it turns out.