View Full Version : Matt board value pack

02-16-2013, 04:44 PM
I was wondering if anyone uses Matt board for oil pastels? I picked up a cheap value pack of 50 8x10 remnants in assorted colors. For $3.99 I figured worst case I could use the with conte pencils for small life model sketches but they seam perfect for oil pastels. I'm new to oil pastels. Does anyone have experience using them on this surface? Do I need to coat them with anything like gesso or crushed marble to increase tooth?


02-16-2013, 06:52 PM
Hi Lostjedi:

I have not used Matt Board, they only need to be heavy enough to accept clear gesso for tooth and you'll be good to go. If you are going to apply any medium support (turpentine, etc.) to make the Ops spread more easily I don't know if the matt board will be a good support in the end.

Doesn't hurt to try at least one by applying some Liquitex clear gesso to see how it reacts. My recommendation is to apply Liquetix clear gesso - this has a good mix of sand in it and gives a really nice tooth. Regular Liquitex gesso doesn't seem to have as much sand in the mix and as a result the tooth is not very good. Be sure to use the Liquitex clear gesso.

Some artists will use heavy card stock with OPs and it seems to handle well. So it all depends on how heavy the matt board is.

02-16-2013, 10:50 PM
Thanks again Flycatcher. It is good to find a community like this where I can ask questions without feeling like the odd man out.

02-17-2013, 11:20 AM
You're welcome! This site has been invaluable to me, it's where I got the most incredible support, guidance and help - in just about every area w/re to oil pastels.

Don't hesitate to ask your questions, we all support each other on Wetcanvas it's what makes this artist online community the best out there.

02-20-2013, 10:28 PM
Flycatcher, I took your advice and so far it looks good. :clap:

Here are a few pics of the process I used.


02-20-2013, 10:32 PM

1. Liquitex clear gesso
2. Small gesso brush
3. Small plastic bowel
4. Matt board remnants

02-20-2013, 10:33 PM
Coating the board up and down.

02-20-2013, 10:36 PM
Rotate and coat across the board.

02-20-2013, 10:38 PM
Rotate and coat diagonally.

02-20-2013, 10:39 PM
Sheets drying flat.

02-20-2013, 10:41 PM
Close up of one sheet as it dries.

The boards initially started to curl, but started to flatten out as they were set out overnight to dry.

02-25-2013, 08:58 AM
Sorry Lostjedi didn't see your post here. Looks like the matt board took the clear gesso, that's great. Sometimes you never know if a surface can hold a wet liquid being applied. At least your matt boards won't go to waste.

Now you have lots of surfaces to paint on - looking forward to seeing your art.

02-27-2013, 09:31 AM
Thanks Mary!!

The Floral picture was the first I have done on this surface. Other than the initial warping, the boards work great and they are pretty cheap as long as I can get remnants.

I am working on an abstract flower picture where I am testing out the use of solvents to blend and soften O.P. I will try to post it soon.

03-05-2013, 12:00 AM
Just a quick update...

I have used all of the initial samples that I made and will post a few of the pics. One thing to note is ht thickness of the clear gesso. A couple of the boards had too much texture. I made a new batch tonight and this time I used less gesso and I brushed away excess to create less texture.

03-05-2013, 12:04 AM
Sample drawings.

03-05-2013, 12:05 AM

03-05-2013, 12:06 AM

03-05-2013, 12:07 AM

04-07-2013, 01:19 AM
Something I wanted to add was to use a smooth paint roller to apply the gesso if you dislike the brush strokes. Several people on this site have made this same recommendation and after I tried it I like the smoothness.

04-07-2013, 01:22 AM
Picture done with roller gesso coat instead of a brush..

It was very smooth compared to the brush. It just depends on what kind of finish you are looking for in your painting.

02-13-2014, 03:52 AM
I puchase such remnants fairly regularly. I use them for quick studies and plein airs, in a variety of media.

I find that for pastels and oil pastels if I prep them with a either Goldens absorbant medium or pastel medium works like a charm, and if the basic matboard colour is a bit hideous, I can tint away with acrylic for a more serviceable undercolour. Sometimes I use just 4F pumice or marble dust in gesso. The former is a nice warm neutral grey the later a warm white.


02-13-2014, 08:32 AM
Hi Andrew, thanks for the information. I haven't used either product and looks interesting to give them a try. How do you like the grit? Is it heavy, medium or light? And do you apply with a brush or roller.

MAS - Mike, I'm so sorry never looked at the thread again so I didn't realize you have posted samples of your work on the matt boards. Wonderful examples of subjects and what you can do with the boards - the geese are really nice.

Interested in hearing your opinion - what texture do you like better: brush or with a roller. I'm split on the roller for my prepared hardboards, for scenes where I'm looking for a smooth surface it works well. But in some scenes it produces a fuzzier appearance and doesn't do well if I'm looking for crisp and clean look to the piece.

My artist canvas boards have slightly warped during these past two months because of how dry - low humidity (22%) in our house (even running two humidifiers w/minimal results). So however slight, the boards are rendered useless in some of my frames that are smaller inside. Two of my recent 7x5 snow scenes are victim to this - so disappointing.

02-13-2014, 09:44 PM
Hi Andrew, thanks for the information. I haven't used either product and looks interesting to give them a try. How do you like the grit? Is it heavy, medium or light? And do you apply with a brush or roller.

There are mediums that have a fine, medium, and course pumice, which I have yet to try. The Pastel medium creates a surface much more akin to the UArt or the Colorfix paper. The Absorbant ground is, to me, much like traditional (not acrylic) gesso, only a much more flexible. Another primer I like, for a mutitude of media is the fiber ground, also by Golden. It creates a surface much like cold press, 100% rag watercolour paper. Which is also fabulous with OPs.

The gesso I mix with 4F pumice is much like the traditional sanded paper that I recall using back in art class in the late 70s and early 80s, for charcoal and pastel. It is has a soft almost velvet like finish, but with a surprising amount of tooth. I don't know what has replaced it since, Wallis perhaps. The only down side, for some, would be the warm grey that is the undercolour. Unlike the using marble dust, that you can readily tint, but the pumice seems to take much more abuse. So there is some give and take choosing between the two.

I use a basic house painter's brush, for large pieces, and a trim or sash brush for smaller supports. I haven't ever given a roller a thought honestly.


02-14-2014, 09:07 AM
Thanks Andrew, your explanation was really helpful. Another avenue to explore for oil pastel surfaces and preparation.

Appreciate it!

02-17-2014, 12:45 AM
Thanks Andrew and Mary for looking at this old post.

I agree these are great for quick studies, practice and plein air. my only concern is how log they will last. I still have most of these painting except for the birds which I gave to a friend. Yo can't save everything. I look at them from time to time an so far they are hoofing up.

I think the texture is a choice that is up to the artist based on the final look you are looking for. For sketches I like lots of texture but for something like the bird picture I wanted a smooth almost oil paint look so I used the roller. Oddly enough I used a textured paint roller to apply ink tinted gesso to the canvas panel I used for my swing set picture. The texture worked great to pick up white spots for the snow.