View Full Version : problem with suede board

07-30-2012, 03:05 PM
I recently did some work on a piece of grey suede board, the mottled kind, the sort you get as mount board, but it feels like velour and it is possible to paint on...Alicia Sutherland and others do, I know.

I did a small pic, about 6"x6" which I have posted this week on my blog, together with this warning.

I have worked on this surface before, usually using harder pastels. This time, I used soft pastels throughout, and built up quite a few layers in the light areas. When I picked up the board to cut the image off, to my horror I noticed that the lightest pastel FELL OFF THE BOARD, crumbs were sliding off when i tipped the board to one side. I have never seen this before, other than with velour which I avoid like the plague as a result..........so was shocked.

Anyway, I sprayed with fixative, and again, to my horror, discovered that every mark stayed as a dark spot. I had to work over the whole pic again.

I think it is OK now because of the fix....but am now eyeing the remaining boards I have with a VERY jaundiced eye.


07-30-2012, 03:38 PM
That's horrible Jackie! :( So sorry you had to experience that. I've heard other people say velour is very hard to paint on and the suede sounds similar.

Just to clarify, you are working on actual suede, right? Not the Colourfix "Suede" paper which is similar to Pastelmat.

07-30-2012, 04:11 PM
Jackie, Sorry to hear of your troubles. Your experience does sound similar to working on velour - and since suede is almost identical, that is not so big a surprise. On velour, I normally avoid using any pastel as soft as Senneliers - usually sticking to medium soft (like Girault or Rembrandt) to hard pastels. Even so, I normally cover the painting with a sheet of tracing paper when done, and press down over the entire painting to press the pastel into the fibers. Some people use a wooden spoon or other tool to press the pastel into the paper. but I just use the palm of my hand.

So, while it is often advised for people to gently tap the back of their pastel painting to knock off the excess pastel, this is definitely to be avoided when working on velour or suede. Don't tap at any time!

At least on velour (not sure about suede) if I avoid the softies, I usually don't need to use fixative. The few times I have, I had no problems with one exception - and that was using Spectrafix, which left a few spots that I needed to paint over. This has happened a couple times on other papers with the Spectrafix, so not sure if it had anything to do with the velour, but perhaps it did.


07-30-2012, 04:57 PM
I am sure you are right Don, about the use of harder pastels being ok. It was my lovely soft Schmincke creams and whites which fell off. I shall take your advice, and before framing, will burnish with something to ensure that the pastel stays put.

In general...think I will stick with my beloved Canson or a sanded paper. No problems then using fix, or having my darn picture fall off!


07-31-2012, 01:57 PM
exactly how things went for me as well. I had worked allll morning on a smaller painting, and this was when the living room doubled for my work space. so I had to pack it up for the day and poof! the air was green but my work just had this mottled stained 'leftover' look. I tossed it. and never again used any fuzzy papers for pastel.

I know leslie harrison also uses it but how she doesn't ruin every piece just by framing is beyond me.

if it can't withstand a tap, no way is it going to hold up to dragging it to shows, galleries, etc. and I don't think pastel needs any reasons to be kept out of those venues!

however, give colored pencil a try on it, it looks very pastel-ish! and it sticks! it does mat the nap down a bit, but it works very well, and with those nice colors, I just let the paper be the background, doing smallish vignette type pieces on it. least its a way to use it up.

07-31-2012, 11:16 PM
I've used it without problems. Found out early on it doesn't like a lot of layers. Part of the beauty of it is to let that suede texture show through.

To the person who asked if it was real suede...? I guess you mean leather suede? The answer is no. It's a velour type matboard used in framing.

08-01-2012, 03:57 AM
I agree............far fewer layers, and actually, using hard pastels i had no problems.

So irritating tho, it is a really quite nice picture.