View Full Version : Canvas boards for pastels?

05-30-2008, 10:56 PM
i was just wondering if you can use canvas boards that have been primed with gesso, for soft pastels. I have some from when i was trying acrylics,they are for either oils or acrylics,, and come 3 or 4 in a pack,
and i just wondered if the surface would be ok with pastels. Or even if stretched canvas would work..
k be back later,, thanks everyone:wave:

Paula Ford
05-30-2008, 11:00 PM
I've tried canvas boards before and they are so hard and the canvas is so textured, it was next to impossible to use.

05-30-2008, 11:26 PM
if you must use them up, you can prime them again with some art spectrum primer, it will put a good surface on for pastels. but as paula said, they will still be hard; some like that, others like me, do not. i like my heavy papers, and paint with a well padded board behind it. but its worth a try if you have them. or sell them on our swap shop forum, and go buy some colorfix!!

Donna A
06-02-2008, 09:28 PM
Hi! Ditto, chewie---except for my not minding a hard surface. I've used the Colourfix Primer and also the Colourfix SuperTooth Primer on canvas (stretched in both cases) to use for Pan Pastels, one a portrait and the other a landscape---and it was rather fun to have the canvas texture flickering thru the pastel painting graced by the Cfix Primers (either, tho the SuperTooth does have more tooth, as suggested by the name---something more like Wallis---at least the way W used to be before they had to change the 'recipe.' )

But if you are not after the texture of the canvas, chewie has a great idea to trade them with others who might be wanting the boards in particular. But you certainly could have great fun with your pastels (stick or otherwise) if you use the Cfix Primer (which is such a wonderful thing to either roll or brush on to any surface you want to paint with!) Best wishes! Donna ;-}

eagle owl
06-03-2008, 05:45 AM
Coincidentally I'm about to try a canvas board with Colorfix primer. I'll post my results.


06-03-2008, 06:07 AM
Like Chewie, I've used the Art Spectrum primer on canvas boards. I also place it on watercolor boards from Frederix. I find these easier to carry for en plein air painting.

Donna A
06-03-2008, 03:25 PM
And just to make sure everyone is aware---Colourfix Primers, papers and boards are made by the Art Spectrum company! So, sometimes the primers or the papers and boards are referred to as Colourfix and sometimes as Art Spectrum or AS. All the same material! And excellent! Donna ;-}

06-04-2008, 09:55 AM
I tried using once a canvas on board to paint pastels. I initially used gesso, the pastels were not adhering very well. I primed on top with Art Spectrum pastel primer, and I tried again, just to see what happens.

I used Pan Pastels quite ok, but I didn't enjoy it. It really bothered the sofft covers of the blue tools.
I tried to accent with pastel sticks, and they don;t catch very well, but most upset I was for how fast they were wearing down. The wave of the canvas really bites into the sticks and creates lots of falling dust.

Ill post my experiment here, I dont like it but it might give you an idea of how it went. Personal opinion, I would not recommend it.

06-04-2008, 09:58 AM
sorry, image didn't attach

06-05-2008, 07:23 PM
Wow, those berries are *gorgeous*. Sure looks like a fabulous attempt on canvas board to me

Well I tried it once too. I was looking for a more sturdy and solid support than the Canson paper I usually use - something like the Amepersand boards, but something I could afford. Yet everything was so beastly expensive it was way out of my range for using on a regular basis. I went to the local art supply store and looked at everything they had. The canvas boards were so incredibly nice and CHEAP! They were the only things that were. Everything else was mucho bucks. So I bought a couple canvas boards, about $1.77 each (as opposed ton about $10 for a similar-sized Ampersand board), and can of Colourfix primer.

I coated the first board with three coats of primer, and then tried a pic. I was not very happy with the result. Even with the coats of primer the surface felt rough and lumpy and the fabric weave was very apparent, and I could not blend in my normal fashion. It was messy and the colors seemed to get muddy easily. I still have two boards and might try it again, maybe doing 4 coats of the primer. But it didn't become my support of choice, alas, as I had first hoped it might. But this is the one picture I did attempt on it.


Paula Ford
06-05-2008, 07:36 PM
Adiro, Debbie, You guys did those on canvas board??? WOW! :eek: They are wonderful!

06-05-2008, 09:35 PM
I suggest you try "gatorboard" with the colourfix primer. the gatorboard is as thin as canvas board and extremly light. Its a foamcore but the surfaces on it are VERY hard and dont dent easily. IMO these are THE base for almost everything from my oil paintings, coloured pencils and pastels. I have them cut to a standard size, a quick coat of colourfix and Im good to go in 1/2 an hour. Ive realy abused these boards in my sessions with sandpaper, knife scrapings etc and the surface stays beautiful with no sign of denting or tearing.

anyway back to the painting :)

Maureen Grantham
06-05-2008, 09:44 PM
I've tried priming canvas with Art Spectrum primer (at least 2 coats). I didn't like using it, but have seen it successfully used when I belonged to the Pastel Society. A lot depends on what you want to paint, if your painting can stand a textured background all is ok.

Donna A
06-06-2008, 01:25 AM
Hi, everyone! There are surely different experiences that we've all had with particular materials. When I worked with the AS Cfix-primed canvas, it was with the Pan Pastels---and both the 'regular' Primer and the AS SuperTooth Primer. Liked the SuperTooth better on the canvas surface. One I brushed on and the other I rolled on. Think it was the 'regular' that I brushed on---and I did like the effects I was working with---both quite well.

Richard makes great points. Probably a flatter surface for many would be preferable. But---that's not what this thread is focused on. So---those of you with canvas boards primed with AS Colourfix might try lightly sanding down the surface. Lightly---with a fine or medium grade of hardware-store sandpaper. I've done this with the AS Cfix papers when I wanted a 'mellower' surface. On a flat surface, it gives a result not unlike LaCarte---but is very sturdy and waterproof!

For the canvas, it would 'mellow' out the surface a bit, but still provide tooth. And it would work for those who rub in the pigment a lot. I prefer the richness of the strokes of pastel, but there are those who use rubbing in some of their strokes to wonderful effect!

So---maybe something to try! Experimenting is wonderful---and I do think it is a mistake to think that every piece we do must be a 'finished piece' rather than something solely for the purpose of exploring and learning more about our materials and how we might work with them and our own creative spirit! Best wishes! Donna ;-}