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Laura Shelley
06-08-2004, 12:24 AM
I got a bag of marble dust some time ago, and have been using it along with acrylic medium to make my own pastel grounds. However, I do it a little differently than most demonstrations I've seen, because I like more tooth than the standard recipes give. If you dilute your medium or gesso with water and stir the abrasive into it first, it will brush out nice and smooth, but that's not my goal. If you want a rougher ground for pastel, here's a suggested procedure.

Materials and tools:

100% rag museum board. This dries nice and flat after you apply a ground, and is archival.

Acrylic medium. I use Liquitex matte.

Marble dust, or any other powdered abrasive such as pumice.

A small foam paint roller, available from hardware stores.

A plastic picnic plate or sheet of foil. You want something non-absorbent.

Water.

Procedure:

Put a few tablespoons of marble dust onto the plastic plate or sheet of foil.

Dip the foam roller into water and shake out the excess. Roll it on both sides of your rag board to thoroughly dampen it. This is to keep the board from curling, and from absorbing too much of the acrylic medium. You want that to stay on the surface for the marble dust to stick to. Get the board good and moist all over, but if you have shiny puddles of water on the side you mean to coat, blot it up with a paper towel.

Lay the board flat. Squirt a good amount of acrylic medium onto the surface, zigzagging it over the whole board rather than dumping it all in one spot. Roll it out evenly with your damp (not dripping wet) foam roller. Check to make sure you have hit every spot. You want a coat a little thicker than painting a wall, but not so much medium that it's running off the board and making your roller skid.

Take your medium-soaked roller and roll it in the marble dust to get a uniform coating. Now roll the dust onto your medium-coated board. Keep dipping the roller in the marble dust and rolling it on the board, and make sure to even out the thick spots as you go. The roller will leave a stippled, granular texture when you have enough marble dust on the surface.

Let the board dry thoroughly. If the texture is uneven--it took me a couple of tries to perfect it--just apply more medium and marble dust with the roller. The surface is impervious, so you can use anything on it from watercolor to turpentine.

Dyin
06-08-2004, 10:09 AM
I like doing the gesso/water thing...and get enough tooth to file my fingernails if I want :p I know it'll take knuckle skin for sure :eek: Isn't the medium more expensive than the gesso? I haven't gotten to check it out yet, but also heard using wood glue/water/marble works well. I put on 3 coats, each in opposite directions...one coat is still pretty slick, but 3 is all the tooth I could want...but still may try this and see how it works some time. So thanks for sharing!

Khadres
06-08-2004, 01:44 PM
Thanks for the description of the technique you use! Could you maybe post a close-up of a painting you've done on this surface? Sounds fascinating, if a bit messy...suppose one could do it out on the patio where a little grit sprinkled around wouldn't matter?

Laura Shelley
06-08-2004, 06:40 PM
Actually, it's not messy at all! I do it inside and don't have much cleanup afterwards. The dust clings to the wet roller and doesn't drop onto the table.

Yes, you can certainly use acrylic gesso in a similar way. Personally, I prefer medium; its adhesive qualities are greater, and the surface isn't as stark white as gesso. For a 16x20 board, I use three or four tablespoons of medium at most, because of the pre-wetting. Without moistening the board first, it would sink in and I'd have to use a lot more. One coat of this treatment is usually plenty, since the surface builds up so much texture with the dry marble dust.

The girl with flowers was done on that surface--here's the thread: http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=189185
You can take advantage of the granularity for looser work, as in the background, or fill up the tooth to smooth things out, such as in her face.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/08-Jun-2004/21887-texture_detail.jpg

jackiesimmonds
06-12-2004, 06:51 AM
This is most interesting. I may have to write an article shortly, about preparing one's own surfaces for pastel painting, and if anyone has any other methods they have discoveed, and might like to share, perhaps they could let me know? Thanks.

Jackie

Kathryn Wilson
06-12-2004, 07:21 AM
This is most interesting. I may have to write an article shortly, about preparing one's own surfaces for pastel painting, and if anyone has any other methods they have discoveed, and might like to share, perhaps they could let me know? Thanks.

Jackie

Good idea Jackie!