View Full Version : Help a dingbat

06-03-2003, 10:19 AM
Ok, I need your experienced help. I have been painting and drawing commissioned portraits for 9 years, but started this pastel business less than a week ago, so I am really in the dark about how to do a few things. So pardon the elementary questions..any guidance is very much appreciated.

1) Is there a trick to avoiding smudging your work while working on it?..I was just drawing on a drafting table, but do I need to be working straight up and down on an easel and use a Mahl stick like when painting?..If so, how do I do this?..find a peice of board as the back on the easel? then what...tape? Tack? it to the board

2) Matting- I have ZERO framing tools, I can not afford to run every thing I do to the local frame shop. I would like to do one of two things..just mat it...is there a good place that I could order some inexpensive acid free precut mats? I noticed they do not come with backs...so what do I used and If it is not going to go in a frame how would I mount/attach it so that it is secure til the client could take it to get it framed. ....and/OR some inexpensive frames to pop it it. I do NOT want to be responsible for framing commissioned peices, but they do need to be in SOMETHING..I don't want to just hand a peice of paper to someone.

3) SIZE..Most of my oils are pretty sizeable, at least 24x36 or bigger. How do you do this in pastel? I have scoured the art supply catologs and all I can find is paper approximately 22x30.

4) AND last...What is the deal with 9x12?? Im always seeing/have 9x12 sheets of paper so it is obviously a standard size..well, Those pastels of Liza I did are that size..I thought it would be easy to run out and find a precut mat and cheap frame to stick it in.. WRONG. The little plastic frames come in that size, but it seems NOTHING else does~~~


Mikki Petersen
06-03-2003, 10:29 AM
I find it much less expensive to cut my own mats than buying pre-cut. Also by cutting my own, I don't have the problem with sticking to standard sizes.

to work on my easel, I mount my support onto acid-free foamcore board using Photomount, also acid-free. I make the foamcore larger than the support and it then becomes the backing for the mats when completed.

Mikki Petersen
06-03-2003, 10:35 AM
Oops! Didn't finish the questions. I have been doing so experimenting with other surfaces because I, too, get asked for larger paintings. So far I have found that I can work on the smooth side of masonite (hardboard) by first priming it with Art Spectrum Pastel Primer. This makes a wonderful work surface. I have also done a couple of pieces on canvas primed with the pastel primer. This gives a whole different look to the work because the canvas is a rougher surface.

BTW, you can purchase an inexpensive mat cutting tool that is hand-held at most craft and hobby stores. You do not have to invest in an expensive system.

Good luck!

06-03-2003, 10:59 AM
Be careful, you might well get addicted to pastels, as are most of us here.........LOL. Welcome to pastels!

For your questions.......look in the hall of fame and do a search. Most of your questions have been dealt with before. Mikki already gave you excellent advice.

Smudging while working: you've GOT to put your piece vertical to let the dust drop and to avoid your hands or sleeves smudging the paper. Use an easel with any board as a support. I just use a piece of plywood. I tape my paper to it with masking tape or I use clips.

Matting.....I would not hand any pastel paintings to paying customers unframed, because the risk of damage is too large. If you don't want to frame them, you can mat them ( careful that the the painting or your fingers do not smudge the mat!) and then carefully put them in glassine paper or tissue paper (smooth side) and then pack them more securely.

Size.....do what Mikki suggested and get some heavy paper/board in the required size and prep it with gesso, pumice, Art Spectrum colour fix pastel primer or something like that. I don't know any pastel paper that is larger than 20x25 but it might exist........

9x12.....I know........annoying isn't it?

Hope this helps!

06-03-2003, 01:56 PM
I work from my lap..... I use a piece of hardboard and use clips to secure the paper ... if I want to work further on it, to stop it smudging, I use a piece of glassine paper to cover the area so my hand rests on that

06-03-2003, 05:22 PM
Thanks so much..what is glassine paper and where can I get it?

06-03-2003, 05:59 PM
I actually order mine from Dick Blick ........ a number of online art suppliers and stores stock it I believe

06-04-2003, 01:43 AM
Just a word on paper size - I have seen Canson Mi-Teints in big rolls, about 20-30 inches wide. I was waiting to get rich enough to buy one but I've gone off Canson since I learned there are other surfaces that don't have those annoying dimples. Now I'm waiting to be rich enough to buy Wallis.

06-04-2003, 02:08 AM
Originally posted by angecald
I was waiting to get rich enough to buy one but I've gone off Canson since I learned there are other surfaces that don't have those annoying dimples.

I thought I was the only one that found those dimples annoying! Is that the side you're supposed to use? And what with the 'Canson' imprint at the bottom of the sheet? :rolleyes:

I'd like to experiment with a new surface, but it has to be durable. I have clumsy hamhands and tend to slug it out pretty good with my surface. What's this wallis paper all about?

- Greg

06-04-2003, 03:41 AM
I don't like the dimples at all!! Bleh! I've got some sheets and sometimes use the 'other' side, but I prefer Colourfix pastel card or my favourite, Royal Sovereign Pastel Card.
Dunno about Wallis.....not available in the UK.....:(