View Full Version : canvas or a mat board or?????

11-14-2003, 10:08 AM
Hello Group,
I'm sure this has been posted somewhere but......
I'm wanting to try a new surface for my pastels. I normally use Canson, Velour, or a sanded paper, I'm wondering how it would be to use a gesso'd canvas? Or would this be a bad idea and I should use a mat board instead. (Now that I've begun to type this I remember reading a post a day or two ago about types of papers people like.) I was thinking of maybe applying pastels to a still damp gesso'd canvas or board to see if it had a different type of effect!? I guess what I'm asking is, has anyone done this? And how did you like your results? I would love to hear other ideas/thoughts. If I've been redundant in asking this(which I'm sure that I have), I apologize.
Thanks to all for any further information.

11-14-2003, 12:25 PM
Okay, I found some info on the canvas idea. I might try it un-primed and primed with gesso mixed with marble dust(thanks to Jackie!)I'll post results when they come in.:p
It's time to play!!!!!!!!!!!

Marc Sabatella
11-14-2003, 01:07 PM
As I think I mentioned in one of those other threads, matboard is my favorite surface - a very soft 4-ply acid-free museum board, comes in any color you want as long as it's white :-) I'm not even sure who makes it, since it has no name stamped on the back - there isn't even a clear front and back.

This matboard is so soft I can't cut it cleanly with my Logan matcutter - lots of burrs along the cut edge. I started painting on it, frankly, because I didn't know what else to do with it. First I tried priming it with the gesso/pumice mixture that I had otherwise used on Rives BFK paper and on masonite, but the board is just water-soluble enough that the texture it got messed up from this - burrs on the surface. So in desperation, I tried oil pastel on it, and decided I really liked working on white. At first, I attributed this to the translucency of oil pastel, but then one day for the hell of it I tried soft pastel on it and discovered I loved it. But it's actually not all that different from the back of Canson. Slightly more veloury (would be more so if you sanded it, I'm sure).

Canvas should work fine, but I don't like that grid texture. I hated the one time I tried working on a grid-textured matboard that had been gessoed.

Applying pastel to a still-damp gessoed board sounds like a mess - maybe don't lay into it with your most expensive pastels until you see if you like it. I have done some paintings where I do a rough block-in and then brush it with water. Usually I wait for the water to dry before proceeding (and I know others use mineral spirits or alcohol for this reason). But sometimes I don't. I like the way the pastel goes down on wet paper, but it really destroys the tooth on the surfaces I've tried it with. I think as an approach this may be best suited for a painting you intend to execute very quickly - like the whole thing in twenty minutes.

11-15-2003, 12:48 AM
I use matboard a lot, especially for plein air studies. One, because its not so expensive, and two, it can be covered with a pastel ground for a more sanded like surface. I do usually lightly sand the smooth side to raise the nap a bit. I buy the large sheet of 30x40 and cut it into quarters or half sheets.

Recently, a workshop instructor told me about working on wet unprimed canvas. The wet canvas does eat up pastels fast....so I am using nupastels and rembrandts. I have a lot of rembrandts that I don't use any more! Working into the wet canvas stains and imbeds the color into the fiber of the canvas, so that you don't have to frame it behind glass. In fact, it looks a lot like an oil painting, but without the texture.