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Moises Menendez
08-07-2017, 09:36 AM
Several years ago I decided to start on pastel painting so I decided to purchase all kinds of surfaces including a large velour paper. Last weekend I decided to try it for the first time. It was terrible to use the hard pastels to begin the rendering of the portrait. It did not take very well so I tried with some semi-soft pastels and it worked better. I thought the portrait was ruined so I decided to use the super soft pastels like Unison. To my surprise it worked beautifully! The soft pastel looks like I was painting in oil and the finish is great for the medium size areas but it is not so good, at least for me, for the fine details. The portrait is almost complete but I tried the background and used all kinds of tricks to make a smooth painting but the rendering is blotchy and irregular and the worst is that I cannot blend the pastel onto the surface. I tried panpastels and its applicators but no luck.
Any ideas how to create a uniform or smooth background?

DAK723
08-07-2017, 10:39 PM
I have used velour a bit over the years and I guess I would have to agree - it is not the type of paper where you can get a nice smooth, even background. Or, at least I don't know a way to do it.:confused:

Because of that, I often use a different type of background approach with velour - sometime letting the paper color show through to varying degrees. One approach is to use semi-transparent glazes for a different type of background, where one color can be glazed over another. I find velour is the only paper that I can do this type of glazing. Here's an example of a more typical (at least for me) velour background:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Aug-2017/82335-smaller-autumn-light.jpg

Perhaps others have had more luck with smooth velour backgrounds.

Don

Moises Menendez
08-08-2017, 08:45 AM
Don,
Thank you for the information. I believe that technique is the logical thing to do since the application of the pastel on the canvas is so "permanent" that it is very difficult to blend. However, to my surprise the application of the pastel for this portrait (face) was great and now I understand why this paper is still current despite this problem with the background.
BTW, your work looks great altogether.

stapeliad
08-10-2017, 10:26 AM
I have limited experience with velour, super soft pastels seem to work better on it, but I can't vary my edges which is not ideal.

But the biggest thing is I have an irrational fear that all the pastel I apply to the velour will just fall off in a sheet of dust. It doesn't, but i can't shake the worry... :eek: :lol:

DAK723
08-10-2017, 02:09 PM
I have limited experience with velour, super soft pastels seem to work better on it, but I can't vary my edges which is not ideal.

But the biggest thing is I have an irrational fear that all the pastel I apply to the velour will just fall off in a sheet of dust. It doesn't, but i can't shake the worry... :eek: :lol:
The fear is unfortunately not irrational:eek:. People using velour have mentioned that if they slap the back of their painting as folks sometimes do to knock off excess dust, that it knocks off too much pastel from velour.

I have had this happen only once or twice, so my experience is limited, but I always believed this was more likely to happen with the softer brands of pastel. I tend to use medium to harder pastels on velour so that I am pressing the pastel particles into the velour "fabric' as I use the sticks - and the particles are not just floating on top. Either way - using harder or softer - I always burnish the painting periodically and when finished by covering the painting with tracing paper (or glassine, I suppose) and using the palm of my hand, press down over the entire painting. I suppose one could use a tool, such as the back of a wooden spoon for the burnishing task. I don't press that hard, only hard enough to push the pastel particles into the "fabric' of the velour.

So, yes, velour can be tricky, but - in my opinion - you can create a look and effects that are not possible on any other paper.

Don

stapeliad
08-10-2017, 03:10 PM
Don-- :eek: :eek: :eek:

Moises Menendez
08-11-2017, 07:38 PM
The fear is unfortunately not irrational:eek:. People using velour have mentioned that if they slap the back of their painting as folks sometimes do to knock off excess dust, that it knocks off too much pastel from velour.

I have had this happen only once or twice, so my experience is limited, but I always believed this was more likely to happen with the softer brands of pastel. I tend to use medium to harder pastels on velour so that I am pressing the pastel particles into the velour "fabric' as I use the sticks - and the particles are not just floating on top. Either way - using harder or softer - I always burnish the painting periodically and when finished by covering the painting with tracing paper (or glassine, I suppose) and using the palm of my hand, press down over the entire painting. I suppose one could use a tool, such as the back of a wooden spoon for the burnishing task. I don't press that hard, only hard enough to push the pastel particles into the "fabric' of the velour.

So, yes, velour can be tricky, but - in my opinion - you can create a look and effects that are not possible on any other paper.

Don
You are right about this surface can create a look that is not possible on any other paper.
I am working on copying Lady Agnew's portrait done by JSS, and the rendering of very soft pastel was great for the face but the background proved to be very difficult at best. So far I am still trying to cover and improve the background using all kind of tricks. Oh, yes, I learned that velour should be treated with fixatives for obvious reasons.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Aug-2017/1071012-lady.jpg