View Full Version : Large Pastel paintings

10-13-2013, 07:36 PM
Have been using Wallis paper in 9X12 (Teacher's favorite). I wanted to do a large pastel but opted for an acrylic painting to get the size I wanted since the prices of large sheets of pastel surfaces " scared me". I am very much a novice at pastel, attending weekly classes, and often just set aside a painting that I feel wasn't successful. The painting I am doing is 24X36. I understand I can order Wallis in rolls, but I really only wanted to do this one painting for a wall in my family room. (I mentioned the other day to my husband that it would be nice if one day I could sell some art to pay for the art supplies and he advised me to sell the art supplies :lol: )

If you do pastels in large format, could you share with me what you use and if you feel it is a surface open to corrections? Thanks Pam

10-13-2013, 08:31 PM
In my opinion, you made a good choice! 24x36 would be a fairly large size for a pastel. I have often worked larger than average, but never have gone beyond the size of many pastel sheets - roughly 18 x 26 or so. Lots of papers come in sizes that are in that range including Canson mi-teintes, Sennelier La Carte, Pastelmat, Uart, etc.

Many of these papers can take a bit of abuse - some can be wiped off and used again - hopefully others will chime in about that.

The biggest issue in my mind when working large is cost and the weight of framing. If you are looking to frame with glass it can be quite heavy. You can go with acrylic glazing, but some folks prefer glass. The cost - especially if you want museum glass would be quite a lot! Things to think about when going large!


10-13-2013, 09:02 PM
Thanks Don. I do volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity Restore (Thrift store) and could get a frame with glass and matting pretty cheap. In fact there is one piece of art currently for sale with a beautiful frame, non glare glass and matting with a picture I would pull out. It's an odd size so I was thinking of doing a pastel to fit but then went to the acrylic instead. Now I just have to hope someone donates a frame for the acrylic. :lol: (Would you believe we had the owners of a mansion on Long Beach Island NJ donate framed art work to our store when they sold the home - while not original art - I was drooling because the framed prints were really large, double and triple matted with non-glare glass in absolutely gorgeous frames. - I would have brought them all if I had the space on my walls - just too big. Many sold for $50 to $75 dollars and people complained - I directed them to art.com for actual costs!) Pam

10-14-2013, 05:10 AM
Wow! That would be a big pastel painting. My largest ever is 22x16" and in it's frame with mount it is definitely big enough for my walls and very heavy too.
I often work at 12x8 or 16x12 these days as they fit into standard frames and are easy enough to transport to and from exhibitions. It would be great to let loose and work a really large pastel though.

10-14-2013, 08:56 AM
Wallis makes sheets 24"x36" if you are interested in painting a pastel that large. Good luck finding a sheet right now though, there seems to be yet again another shortage..... I just recently stocked up on my Wallis because I saw suppliers stocks were getting low, many sizes were out...yeesh... makes me crazy.

I agree it would make for a very heavy painting when framed. I've always wanted to do something that big for myself... just because..... (I have one sheet of 24"x36" Wallis saved, I do have an idea though I admit I am a bit intimidated by the size....) My largest pastel is probably 11"x17". I'm currently working on something 15"x14". I think the larger paintings are easier, less noodling with details.

As for brushing off and reusing paper, I do know Wallis, Uart and ArtSpectrum Colourfix can be wiped of and reused. They can take the abuse. I would think the Canson Touch can be wiped off as well, though I've never used it. Canson MT can be wiped off to a point, but it is not as forgiving as the sanded surfaces, there is a point where you just have to give up if the paper gets too abused. I've heard Pastelmat is a tough paper also, though I've never worked with it. LaCarte makes me nervous, when I use it I am very carful, it's much more delicate. I don't think I would abuse it much, the surface is easily affected by moisture (and who knows what else). It's a beautiful paper (I love it), you just have to be careful with it.

I was at the PSA show in NYC recently, and there were some very large pastels shown. I have to say they were wonderful, to me it seems worth the effort because of their inherent beauty. Yes, I am a pastel addict :lol: ... I think they are beautiful.....

Edited to add: I just saw on Blick that Uart makes a sheet 27"x40", wow... that's large..... I wonder if they roll it when shipping....

10-14-2013, 09:32 AM
I did a portrait on 19.5" x 27.5" PastelMat - by far the largest pastel piece I've ever done. I'm a huge fan of PastelMat, so I definitely recommend it. There was a part I had to redo entirely - I used a sponge brush to brush away the bulk of the pastel in that area, then I used a kneaded eraser, and I had no trouble at all doing that over. You'll never completely erase anything off of this paper, but the tooth was totally restored. Couldn't tell at all that it had been erased or redone once it was covered again. Anyway, you can buy the large PastelMat in individual sheets.

I encourage you to get different kinds/brands of pastel paper in smaller sizes before you do the large piece so you can get a sense of what you like, and which work best with the pastels you have. You may find you have a preference between coated surfaces and sanded surfaces. I bought the famous Ludwig Eggplant, for example, since people said they love it so much. But I was surprised at how hard and scratchy it was when I tried to use it on PastelMat, which is non-abrasive (which also means it won't eat your pastels :)). My pastel pencils, which are hard, work just fine on the surface, though (beautifully, in fact), so go figure. So do my Rembrandts, Mount Visions, Great Americans, and Senneliers - they all work wonderfully on PastelMat. Just that Ludwig didn't like it at all, but that pastel worked fine on a sanded surface since it is literally being scraped off onto the surface. Have fun experimenting.

10-14-2013, 10:58 AM
This doesn't address your question but I thought I'd share it. A few years ago at the annual landscape show at a local gallery, open to all mediums and dominated usually by oils, a pastel won first prize. And what a pastel - 36x48. This web image doesn't do it justice.


10-16-2013, 11:47 PM
Just a suggestion if you want artwork to fill a large space but are worried about framing a large pastel. Do a diptych or triptych. I needed a painting for a large blank wall on a stairway. I originally designed a 24 x 30 abstract landscape which I painted on a prepared piece of mdf. After realizing how heavy the frame/glass finished art would be (I should have thought of that first, of course), I had my husband cut it in two and then finished the painting. Thankfully the design worked well for that (see below - just after cutting in half and then framed.



Framed it out at 15w x 24h each but, hanging together, it covers more wall. Framing might have cost a little more for the two but it worked great. I plan to do a diptych realistic landscape for another large space (painting each separately this time).

I would love to paint a large pastel (one piece) someday when I can afford the framing! :rolleyes:


Terry Wynn
10-17-2013, 05:33 PM
I did a large pastel painting (24 x 36) for a donation to the State's Master Gardeners Convention. I used Wallis paper, bought my frame without glass using Hobby Lobby's 1/2 off weekly special and had conservation glass cut for it at my local glass place. It worked out very well for them and I was very happy with how it came out.

All the paper I have purchased from Dick Blick's has been shipped flat. I happened to be at the Blick Outlet in Galesburg several years ago and they had full size sheets (I am guessing at least 30 x 48 or so) of Wallis paper that had knicks or blemishes on the corners for $1 a sheet. Needless to say I purchased all I could find but I like using other papers and home made boards.

Looking forward to seeing your painting.


10-17-2013, 07:54 PM
Thank you all for so much information and suggestions. Pam:wave:

10-17-2013, 09:23 PM
That frame sounds fantastic. I know I used to do that, buy framed prints that I didn't like that were going cheap at thrift stores or flea markets so I could reuse the frame. If you've already got the big frame and nice mat, go for it!

One way to work that big might be to get gatorfoam and use a sanded primer on it or get the Richeson pastel surface that's basically sanded primer on gatorboard. The stuff will last but be much more lightweight than MDF and thus less of a problem in the heavy frame where the glass is so heavy anyway.

I have some archival foam board so if I ever got hold of a huge frame like that, I'd try working huge and plan for it to fit the frame size, whatever that is, maybe mat to use up some of the space.

Also your husband's comment was cruel - you might well get some money for paintings on eBay - the trick is to make sure to get some feedback (buy a few small supplies first and reciprocate feedback to get positive feedback so you're not going up with zero feedback) and then to price according to what similar works in medium, size and skill average. Whoever loves your painting will buy it, but very often for minimum bid. Setting that too low will oddly give the impression it's not worth much - art prices are subjective and emotional, the person who bought it will love yours better than all the rest and isn't looking for a bargain.

Lady Carol
10-18-2013, 11:57 AM
I do large but I use Stonehenge paper, my paper of choice with Pans. I find the coverage very easy and fast.
Here are some of my pieces

10-18-2013, 05:42 PM
Thanks Robert and Carol. Carol - I have about 20 pans and had no idea they can produce such beautiful detail as you have in your paintings. I guess I really need to practice.


10-18-2013, 08:09 PM
Carol, thank you for reminding me that Stonehenge is a good paper for Pans! I might just try that sometime.

10-18-2013, 08:57 PM
Carol, I followed your link. The hydrangeas are awesome! The water lilies are not too shabby either....:) I've never used pans, but you peak my interest.