View Full Version : I'm Confused

11-02-2001, 06:25 PM
I am using the smooth side of Canson pastel paper with Rembrant pastels plus Carbothello pencils for detail. I just use enough pastel chalk to get the color and texture I want.

I have a friend who is taking a class in pastels and has been told that you have to use sanded paper so that you can put layers and layers of pastel down. My friend is putting down so many layers of pastel that she looks like she is working in a sand box.

Which is the correct way to go??? Or are the both right.

11-03-2001, 01:39 AM

Great question! Here we go...

There is no right or wrong surface to work on, just better or worse. Which paper you select is based on many criteria, these are just a few:

- the final effect you want
- whether your pastels are extremely soft or somewhat soft
- longevity- is the work for permanent display or practice
- how much muscle you apply to the pastel

Just using these few for starters here is my opinion on your question. Sanded paper is wonderful for layers of paint that will give a more oil painted appearance. Of course you can do sketchy things as well, but it is best used for either a heavy application or blended look. Sanded paper however, is made of paper and glue and is not archival for the long-term. Better to make your own sanded boards with conservation products and save the sanded paper for practice. There are some more advanced papers now on the market, perhaps your friend can try one of these.

Nothing wrong with using Canson (I recommend using only the "felt" side). It is 66% rag and is therefore better suited for long-term work than standard sanded paper. It is true, tons of layers cannot be applied, however, you can apply some, and with a few tricks even more. Experiment for yourself to see which works best for you. Remember too, that the rougher the surface the more pastel will be used as well. While just learning to use pastel, this can become an expensive endeavor.

I started out on Canson, moved to sanded paper, back to Canson, then finally to making my own sanded boards. These are the best for me as I can control the tooth as well as color of the surface.

Anyway, again, no right or wrong here. Any instructor that demands that "this" or "that" is the only way to do something is doing students a disservice. Options should be presented with the pros and cons and the artist himself/herself should choose.

Hope this helps:)


11-03-2001, 01:42 AM
well i have never used sanded paper but from what i have read many layers can be used if desired.smooth paper is normally done the way your doing it with a littlie pastel to start with and building it up as you go but some use very little on paper period ,like dennis frost.if you start out with nupastels they wont clog the paper and then you can go over them with softer ones to.you can e-mail artistry our moderater and she can help you for sure.

11-03-2001, 09:57 AM
Thank you so very much. I am fairly new to pastels and thought I was doing it all wrong. I really enjoy the medium.

11-03-2001, 02:41 PM
Oh thank you Stealth!!!! I thought I was doing something wrong by using Nupastels as a sort of underpainting, then to the Rembrandts. :D:D Worked for me!


11-05-2001, 04:03 AM
I echo Stealth, you're doing just fine. If you need more info on the various papers and pastels, do a search in the pastel forum for 4Vincent and for Artistry. They're both tops in the field. Also, Roan had a nice data base on her website... it might be awhile before it's updated again though, (she just had a baby).

11-05-2001, 10:03 AM
Take every bit of advice Diane gives - she is a wonderful artist and always seems to be right on with what she answers to any question. Best advice she gave is the one about a teacher telling a student there is only one way. There are many different ways to do pastel and you should try them all.

I also teach pastel classes and have my students start on Canson - on the smooth felt side. But, later I have them try the other side just to see the difference the texture makes. I also carry sanded papers, cut up into 11x14 pieces for the students to purchase (cheap way to try it).

The reason I teach students with Canson - it holds only a small amount of pastel and this is a great way to get students to think before putting the pastel to the paper. And - it is much cheaper than the sanded pastel papers - so you don't worry as much about what you do.

Keep on using the Canson - it is a wonderful surface. I use it about half the time and sanded papers the other half. You might also want to try using the Arches Cover stock papers, too. Another good felt-type paper - love the black paper!

Try them all!

Marsha --
Marsha Hamby Savage Art (http://marshasavage.artistnation.com)

11-05-2001, 11:49 PM
Thank you Marsha. I feel that I am getting some real good advise from all of you.

11-06-2001, 02:41 AM
One of the commercial sanded papers you might like to try is Colourfix by Art Spectrum. archival and nice to use.
Also just because you feel things are not going right, please do not go near Talahasie Bridge LOL.
Billyg:D :evil: :angel: