View Full Version : Primer vs ground for pastels

06-27-2008, 06:10 PM
I'm so glad WC is back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've been looking at Dakota for some type of coating to purchase. Their site has three differents kinds. Could someone explain what the difference is and which is the best to buy?

AS pastel primer
Golden acrylic ground
Golden pumice ground


Donna A
06-28-2008, 01:07 AM
Hi! I have all three and experimented with a good bit. I found both Golden brands to be rather course, as much as I have esteem for most Golden products. I have found the Art Spectrum to be so versatile and is very quick-drying, as well. I can sand it down to a more suede-like surface, too. Great choice of color, but the Clear can be very versatile and can be tinted or colored over (as can be the two Golden products.)

The Art Spectrum Colourfix Primer is great for a base for re-working frames, as well! I have a number of the different colors. It is also great for 'fixing' some very serious problems on a pastel painting done on Colourfix. I am so impressed with the overall 'system' they have developed.

I really do have a lot of regard for Golden, but their primers were not so necessarily made for pastel painting.

Now---if you do like a much coarser grit---then you may prefer the Golden. It's been so long since I experimented with them that I forget which of the two was the more coarse. Sorry. Best wishes with what you eventually decide to use! Donna ;-}

06-28-2008, 03:07 AM
Thanks Donna! Sounds like the AS is the way to go. Can it be used on mat board? I have a lot of scraps of white mat board and I was thinking of trying the ground on that.

Thanks again

WC Lee
06-28-2008, 07:34 AM
AS will work great on mat boards and a variety of substrates.

06-28-2008, 07:54 AM
My take on this is a bit different. It probably depends a lot on what style and subjects one prefers. I use Golden fine pumice primer and the pastel primer, which has silica in it, and like both of them. I would equate the silica primer with UART's 600 paper, the fine pumice maybe a tiny bit less course. For comparison, both of them are much finer than Wallis paper, which seems even courser than UART 500 (I even prefer the texture of UART 400 to Wallis). (Golden's course pumice primer is way too course for pastel!)

I haven't used Art Spectrum's primer, but I do have some AS paper, and it seems approximately equivalent to UART's 800, but with a softer feel to it, almost suede-like. I like that fineness if I am doing a portrait or something that requires a delicate touch. For most of the things I do, I prefer either of the Golden's (which apply well to just about any surface).

I also sometimes use plain acrylic gesso, with or without a thin coat of pastel primer over it. It can give a really interesting texture to landscapes. I've used matboard, hardboard, various watercolor papers, Canson, Fabriano, and all of them take the primers well.

I've actually have had almost no problems with warping on even large sheets once they are dry-- if there is some, I just put it under my paper box for a few days and it flattens right down. I usually gesso the back thinly anyway, though, just to prevent buckling down the line from atmospheric humidity.

I don't bother tinting the primer. I sometimes use watercolor underneath, or sort of scumble pastel lightly without trying to cover the paper. Brushing on a clear ground with a foam brush softens and spreads out the pastel color, but leaves it with variations in tone. I am finding that that gives a nice visual texture that's more pleasing in the finished painting.

Dayle Ann