View Full Version : Testing - Alcohol and OMS on Pastel Premier and Fisher 400 papers

Moqui Steps
04-06-2015, 09:29 PM
Pastel Premier

First off, the 320 grit "feels" and looks almost exactly the same as Wallis museum grade. Excellent news for me and my wife since she just used her last sheet of Wallis last week. We definitely will be using the 320.

I set out to try various techniques on the Premier and found that regular rubbing alcohol (isopropyl), which I have used with no problems on several other sanded papers, applied to the Pastel Premier makes it turn sticky almost instantly. This indicates it is softening something in / on the paper. On one spot where I put quite a bit of alcohol and rubbed it fairly well, most of the the grit came off the surface. After drying, it left a more shiny surface that looked like it had been varnished lightly. As long as it was not rubbed very hard or very long, the grit stayed in place and the stickiness went away once it dried.

Next test, OMS. Hardware store Klean Strip odorless mineral spirits did not soften the surface at all. Nor did the Mona Lisa brand of artists OMS. I didn't have any other brands to test, but the Klean Strip is pretty aggressive. I prefer the alcohol as the fumes bother me less than OMS, and it dries quite a bit faster, but I guess I can live with OMS when using the Pastel Premier.

So, be forewarned. If you do use rubbing alcohol on Pastel Premier, be sure not to get too aggressive while it is saturated and don't soak it down too much.

Fisher 400

I REALLY like this paper. A bit smoother than Wallis museum grade or the Pastel Premier 320 as is to be expected. Easy blending, holds a lot of pastel material, pretty tough surface that is very resistant to rub-outs using chamois.

I totally forgot to test my samples of Fisher 400 with rubbing alcohol and I am out of sample sheets (handed out too many by mistake). Have any of you tried regular rubbing alcohol on the Fisher 400? If so, was there any softening of the surface?


Moqui Steps
04-07-2015, 02:25 AM
I remembered too late after posting the text above that when I first got my Fisher 400 samples several weeks ago, I did test them with alcohol and OMS. Neither one caused any problems. The solvents made no change that I was able to observe in the way the paper accepted the pastels other than you had to wait quite a while for the OMS to completely dry before the paper returned to "normal".

It won't let me change my original post so I had to do a follow up / correction.


04-07-2015, 09:28 AM
We've had some previous threads that mention the Isopropyl alcohol can take the surface off some surfaces - such as PastelMat. In some cases, the 70% rubbing alcohol worked OK, but there were problems with the 91% alcohol. I'm not familiar with Pastel Premier paper - do you know who makes it?

It is always good to test out the surface before hand if you plan to do a wet underpainting. Of course, water is one of the best and most reliable things to use, but even water doesn't work on all surfaces.


Moqui Steps
04-07-2015, 12:08 PM

I used 70% isopropyl for all my testing. I did forget to mention that water worked quite well on both of them for me, and yes your advice to test first is excellent. When I was first starting out I picked up what I thought was the lowest (student?) grade of Wallis and proceeded to hit it with some water. The grit literally floated off the page leaving a smooth white paper surface! There were no markings on the back of the paper so I am unsure as to what brand it was, but my wife says the only sanded papers she ever bought were Wallis.

Pastel Premier is a product of Global Art Materials / Hand*Book Paper, and is currently sold by most of the art supply sellers on the web as well as on pre-made panels by ProArtPanels.com

It is a fairly new paper that I believe was developed to fill the gap left by the absence of the Wallis brand.


Pastel Premier is a truly unique 100% Cotton/Archival Quality pastel paper. It is double primed and coated with an aluminum oxide created for Pastel Premier to produce an ideal surface for pastel painting. A final seal coat makes this paper extremely durable and able to withstand almost any measure of scrubbing or reworking. The paper works with a wide range of media as an underpainting and accepts as many as 25 layers of pastel.

Heavy 145lb. / 310 gsm paper
3 surface types
Archival Quality
Available in sheets / rolls / pochettes
Made in USA
Interestingly, the printing on the packaging reads differently than what is on the web site shown above, though no liquids are mentioned by name, the packaging text does use the word WET.
The paper works with a wide range of wet media as an underpainting and accepts as many as 25 layers of pastel.I based my testing on what Dakota says about the paper on their web site. I am waiting for a reply asking if there is some other type of alcohol that does not break down the surface.
The paper works with a wide range of wet media (water, alcohol, mineral spirits, etc) for under-painting. Fisher 400 from the source - no mention of alcohol or OMS, though they do say you can use oils on it, so my assumption was OMS would be OK and that proved to be true in my testing, along with alcohol and water.
Suitable for soft pastels, oil pastels, coloured pencils, acrylics, mixed media and oilsConclusion - Despite the issue with 70% isopropyl alcohol on the Premier, my wife and I both plan on using Premier 320 and Fisher 400 for most of our work. They are both excellent papers.


Moqui Steps
04-08-2015, 01:12 PM
The folks at Dakota were already aware of the alcohol softening the surface of the Pastel Premier and they have changed the wording on their web site to reflect that issue.


"The paper works with a wide range of wet media including water, mineral spirits, and alcohol (heavy use of alcohol NOT recommended - may soften surface) for under-painting."

I was also told that they are introducing three new colors this summer which is great news.