View Full Version : How large?

10-04-2012, 02:45 PM
I have been thinking that it would be nice to do a little bigger pastelpainting
than I usually do. Therefore I would like to ask you

- How big is the largest pastelpainting you have done and how did you mount it??

10-04-2012, 09:48 PM
One thing to consider with painting large is that pastels have to be framed under glass so the bigger size the heavier it gets. You can get plexi glass but for the standard for framing it gets very expensive. 18x24 would be big. I think 'blue paints large and he may be able to help you.

10-04-2012, 09:54 PM
I used to routinely work on full size sheets of Canson mi-teintes or velour which usually are about 18" x 26" or so. Now I usually work smaller. I don't frame a lot of work, but have framed a few that large. Usually at that size I will use acrylic glazing (plexiglass), and on one occasion used museum glass for a show. I had no particular problems at that size.


10-04-2012, 09:55 PM
The largest I have done is a 24 " x 36 " a full sheet of Uart 400.
I mounted it on a sheet of 4'x4' plywood with some newspapers between to do the painting. After I removed and taped to a piece of cardboard that the uart came in and covered it with glassine paper for storage. I found out that the cost of framing larger paintings is a bit pricey unless of course you have a commission. As far as mounting the painting to frame I usually leave that to my framer,he is much better equipped to handle the larger sized paintings .

10-05-2012, 02:31 PM
Thank you Jan, Don and David for your answers.

I have consider the heaviness of the glass, and I asked about that in anothe
thread and the plexiglass came up, very good that you mention that.

The thing I am thinking about is how large you can go with for instance
with double side tack. I read that Deborah and Paula used Grafix double tack
and you can cut it in the size you want.

I will check if there are framers here who can frame pastels hehe, I have
not seen one pastel painting in the galleries here, not recently painted anyhow, just someone old and it was a small one.

The thing is that when painting landscapes is it not nicer to have a little
larger painting, if you paint a landscape where the view is a long distance.
(hope you understand my english) If you have a great landscape it can
make a bigger impact on you. It depends of course what landscape it is.
I have not done many landscapes so I dont know so much about that, how
are you thinking about that?

10-05-2012, 05:27 PM
I agree that a large landscape can make a very nice impact! I have done a 20 x 40 (that was shipped elsewhere to be framed). The largest I have done and framed myself (so far) is 16 x 41. In both cases I made the panels myself using birch plywood and my own mixture of marble dust, gesso & acrylic). I framed the large piece with museum grade acrylic and it's not unreasonably heavy.

This is the 16 x 41" painting:


Another way to make a nice, large, impact is to do a triptych. The one below is of 3 24x18's which can be individually framed with thin frames, then framed in one large frame.


Thanks for this thread, AnnaLisa - it makes me want to get out my "Big" gear again! :)

10-05-2012, 07:06 PM
Hello Sandy!!

I have been to your website some time ago and these pictures make me want to go back as soon as possible:) You are sooo good with pastels!!

Yes the large painting makes you feel like you stand there on the beach,
its a whole different feeling with a large painting if the motive is with a
view like that. The 3 in 1 paintings is also a solution. I have not seen it like
that, it is smart with 3 thin frames and then fram the whole thing, thank you
for your info.

I tried to make a board with masonite and blended gesso (galleria) with small
marble 'stones' or what you call those. We didnt have the powder here so I had to crush it in a thing we have in the kitchen (dont know the name in english) it was such a hard work,
then when dried it was too gritty, to big things on the surface, maybee I can
take a sandpaper and knock it down.

It was great to hear that the acrylic glass was not too heavy, very good!!

Do you use the gesso receip from here on WC? Someone wrote it in a thread, I dont remember where.

Do you prefer to use panels or do you paint on paper as well?
How large is the largest paper you have mounted successfully?

10-06-2012, 03:57 PM
Thank you, AnnaLisa, for such a nice compliment!

If it is available to you, you might try mixing some sand in with your gesso. Your recipe will vary depending on what you find to mix into your gesso. You may also try looking for "whiting" or "calcium carbonate" which would work as well as marble dust. Whichever you find, start with the gesso and add about 1/2 as much water as you have gesso. Then start adding your grit (about the same amount as the water) until you get a thick paint consistency. You'll need to test this and adjust it for your own liking. If you want a more even layer, then add a bit more water so it will level out. It will take a bit of experimenting but will be well worth getting your own recipe for your particular surface and ingredients. Of course, there are always the commercial products that have the grit already in them but I like making mine own so I can determine the structure of the surface.

Also, I have found with the larger pieces, I like the surface to have more grit. Oh, and I also find that I have to step back from my easel even more than I usually do (which is a lot) with the larger pieces.

When I paint 18x24 and smaller, I generally choose La Carte and dry-hinge it to foamboard so I don't mount paper, per se.

I hope you'll do one of the big ones - they are quite the challenge and fun!

10-06-2012, 04:52 PM
The largest I've made is 50x70 cm, and that works fine with glass. Frame has to be a bit sturdier, like, 5 cm wide moulding.

10-06-2012, 05:56 PM
Thank you Sandy for your info! I guess you have to step away from your
easel quite a few times hehe. Your painting are sure looking superb in real life. I like the light in your paintings.

Have you seen this guy doing his gesso mixture...hm he is using the thing
we use for making milkshake haha

I will look for the calcium carbonate. The marble dust is quite difficult to find here. Do you use real sand?

Ok, so 18x24 is ok. Just to tape like a T form on the back side I guess.
So larger than that we maybee has to go to a framer...

I have some Sennelier la carte, I first didnt like it, then I tried much softer
pastels on it and what a difference it made!! So I think I can use it for my
Schmincke I am planning to buy.
Today I ordered a pastel board from fineartstore for the first time to test.

It will be fun exprimenting with the gesso-marbledust thing. Next time I will
use powder hehe not small stones to crush, hehe.

Hi Charlie!
How did you tape the paper on the backside, with double side tape?
Was it sanded paper?
Good to hear that one can use glass on that size.

10-06-2012, 08:29 PM
Sanded paper, Fisher 400. Tape? Eh, I just popped it into the frame. While painting, I clamped the thing to a foam core board (kapaskiva). In our climate, where indoors is very dry during most of the year, I do not feel a need for a mat or a spacer. As I sometimes use old frames, from the Salvation Army (Myrorna), I've seen pastels more than 50 years old which have been framed directly against the glass with no trouble at all.

10-07-2012, 04:06 PM
Hi Charlie!
You are bold, both with your lovely colourful painting and framing.

There is a rather old pastelpainting framed without a mat that my mum has,
and I just se a little little pastelpowder on the glass. It depends maybee on
how careful the person was when framed it.

So you dont have a lot of Schmincke then, when you frame like that?

We others who are not that bold can maybee tape like Carmella. She has a dubblestick tape. That would be good when mounting on the backing.
I would like to test the spacers. This tape looks rather strong so maybee I can even use larger paper than 50x70 cm.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvnYDt8GtY8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvnYDt8GtY8)

I want to test the gesso thing again, when painting large it would maybee
be comfortable using masonite but I guess they would be pretty heavy.
Smart to buy from Myrorna if you find a good frame:thumbsup:

Sandy I wonder if your 16 x 41 plywood is very heavy. There are ofcourse
different thickness. Wonder how thick you need so it will not buckle.

Hope this message come through because my lasts posts didnt

10-08-2012, 03:32 PM
David I see that you painted on a big pastel paper!

So there were no problems using tape then! That was good.:)
I never heard of the newspaper thing but I suppose you used them
to get a softer backing.

10-09-2012, 10:09 AM
Hi Annalisa. I have never had a problem with the tape not holding though I do use a regular masking tape which has a stronger hold have to remove very carefully. You are correct on the use of the newsprint.
I am hoping Sandy B. is keeping track of this I am curious to find out about
museum grade acrylic.

10-10-2012, 12:33 PM
Thats good David!

After you remove the paper when the painting is finished, do you use
the same sort of tape when taping to the backing when framing the painting?

Yes me to want to know about the museum.

Do you think that one can use pumice instead of the marbledust. And if yes,
should we use the same amount as the marbledust when we want to make
our own primer? Which is best if you compare the two?

I had to order pumice powder from overseas because I didnt find it here.


10-10-2012, 02:29 PM
I believe pumice is more gritty than marble dust. i tried marble dust and the surface felt similar to bone adn not enough grit for me. if you are wanting to do large pastels, I highly suggest a roll of paper, like uart. I have 500 and 600 grit rolls and love the choice. I took a piece of luan board (use for doors), which is thin, light and cheap. I put a piece of foam board on it with glue, and painted it with floor finish polyurethene. this way I can tape to it without ripping my foam board. this goes on my easel, I no longer must use a new backing, or re-set my easel, it just goes on this board.

you could easily make luan for a solid backing board to frame iwth as well, I would seal it but it is thin and more rigid and would work super.

I used a full sheet of board, so this drawing board is 32x40. this is also the largest pastel I've done yet. did 2 of them. a gallery asked me to do them, they will frame them. I did hinge them to foam board for transport.

it was very fun to work so big! and I know the paper, being consistant, was a big help in my final work.

10-10-2012, 04:45 PM
Sorry for the delayed answer AnnaLisa - I've been outside painting at the beach. We are having a wave (pun intended) of lovely weather and I am taking full advantage of it.

Yes, I have tried that mixture (the youtube link you mention) but it is a little thin for my liking.

I don't use real sand because I am able to get the marble dust and that works well for me because I can adjust the mixture depending on how much texture I want for the piece I am going to work on (I usually mix thicker for larger pieces).

Because it was birch, the board I used was not very heavy. I coated both sides with white acrylic paint (to keep it from warping) before I put the gesso mixture on it.

Also, as an aside, when I tape the Sennelier for framing, I use self-adhesive hinge tape and tape the Sennelier to foamboard before placing it in a frame. The museum grade acrylic works well for larger pieces. I don't know if you want to ship to exhibits, and you may already know this, but many require acrylic in lieu of glass. The museum grade acrylic is non-reflective and has a UV protection, unlike the acrylic you might pick up in a hardware store.

I hope you will enjoy your pastelbord!

Happy painting!

10-13-2012, 03:53 PM
Thank you Chewie for your good information.

I have never heard of luan board and that you can use floor finish!!
That was very smart. I have only foamboard that I tape my papers to, and
I really dont like that I ripped them off every time so I have to order new ones now and then.
That was a big painting!! I have been thinking of the roll of paper because then I can cut to the size I want. And I think I will love the uart since I have used ersta before.
It was nice to hear that there were no problems with that size.
I wonder how they framed it, if they used a large frame or if it was not necessary (dont know how to spell that word)

Thank you Sandy for your good info too.

I understand that you want to be on the beach!!! Ooh boy, that sounds so nice, and here it starts to get cold, and no beach.
Good that you mentioned about the acrylic paint before using gesso.

I have ordered a new gesso brand that I have not tested before, and I saw
that they have a 'super heavy gesso' and that sounds interesting too.

I have to look up what hinge tape is hahaha. When you use Sennelier paper
dont you find it eats up the pastel fast?
As we can not make a wet underpainting on that paper do you use a more
cheap pastel in the first layer? The harder pastels are cheaper but maybee
dont work well with that paper.
Its good that it works with tape on the large Sennelier paper, and its smart
to tape it to a foamboard.

About the bone feeling and grittiness, I wonder how the outcome would be
if we mix the pumice and marble dust in the same gesso, hehe we would have a new surface to work on.
I will go out and buy me a masonite now to try the gesso thing. I found pumice and I will also try marble dust later. (I am waiting for products from UK) If marble dust is not enough gritty, I can maybee use it for oil sticks. Fun to test.:)

10-14-2012, 07:40 PM
I don't know if you have access to them, but I generally use Diane Townsend and Unison on the beginning layers of the Sennelier paper. Sometimes, I will do a rough-in with the NuPastels or use them for "glazing" over the other, softer pastels.

Let us know how your experimenting goes!

10-26-2012, 12:20 AM
I work in a commercial faming shop south of Chicago. We are currently workin on framing a pastel landscape that is 42 by 60 inches. The artist wants museum glass, as he has had issues with plexi attracting pastel dust through static electricity. There as a new non static plexi, but it is very expensive, about 3 times museum glass.
Museum glass comes in a 48 by 68 inch size, but no larger. As the artist wants a 4" mat, we'll cover an inch top and bottom of the painting. We'll back the painting with acid free foamcore, and hinge mount it with linen tape. There are anumber of challenges with this project. It's a lot of fun.

By the way, you can get whiting (calcium carbonate) through online stained glass suppliers like Delphi Stained Glass or Whittemore Durgin.

01-05-2013, 01:53 PM
Hello and Happy New Year!!

I am sorry for not being here for a while, not answering your posts.
When the devastating things occured on the eastcoast of usa I didnt
feel for painting and now the time has gone so fast.

I hope the work with the big painting, that Bullfrog was working with,
went well!!! Someone told that you can clean the plexi with something
that makes it anti static.

Sandy, I have one stick of Diane T haha and it is nice. I have found out
that Pan Pastel works very well on the Sennelier paper!!!

I bought masonite and covered with gesso on one side and on the sides.
On the first layer I didnt put any pumice in it.
I put some acrylic paint in the gesso/pumice primer but it needed a lot of
paint!! (because of the white...)So I will paint with an acrylic underpainting if needed instead.

I tried the Super Heavy gesso, but I prefer the acrylic gesso of Galleria because it is more gritty. The super heavy gesso only left texture on the masonite, not gritty tooth.
It takes some time to do the work... and I was thinking that its sure nice
to buy nice pastel paper and just tape it to a board. But on the other hand
you dont have to think about the mounting thing with the masonite.

Does anyone using something to cover the backside of the masonite after
framing? The backside its not pritty maybee to show. Then do you cover
with acid free paper? Do you gesso on the backside of the masonite?

There are a few things to think about when painting on paper.
You have to mount it on acid free board, with acid free tape. And then
maybee cover it with something else acid free.:)

I think I saw someone writing about uart paper coming mounted on board
now. Will have to look that up.