View Full Version : Colourfix and watercolour underpainting

10-27-2010, 03:42 PM
Hi everybody :wave:

I started painting in watercolour a few years ago and have been wanting to try pastels for some time now. I got a Schmincke Indian Summer set last year for christmas and now's the time to capture those beautiful fall colours.

I'm planning to do an underpainting in watercolour for the sky, clouds, landscape and then do the trees and foliage in pastels. I have some Colourfix clear primer which I want to apply over the watercolour painting. It says on the tin, it should be applied with a damped brush. But will the watercolour stay in place when brushed over? Or should I apply a layer of fixative first? Will that even work?

Also, I've read that some of you do a watercolour underpainting on ready-made Colourfix paper. How does that work? Does the paint sink through the "sanding" into the paper? Does this work with other sanded papers? I know that Schmincke's Sansfix should not come into contact with water. How about Pastelmat and Sennelier's PastelCard?

Thanks for any input and sharing (and letting me learn from) your experiences.


10-27-2010, 04:13 PM
You will get a chorus of people warning you not to let water get anywhere near La Carte. Even a sneeze will disintegrate the surface. I personally don't do watercolor underpaintings, but I do know that it works on Colorfix paper just fine. Others will have a lot more input on this.

10-27-2010, 04:58 PM
Hi, In my limited experience you can indeed do a watercolour underpainting on colourfix. It does sink in a bit and can be rather dull. Now pastelmat is a different kettle of fish. If you have some try watercolour on it....be prepared for it to spread rather like on silk! The tooth is not affected at all so the pastel still goes on great. Sennelier La Carte...as Carol says don't sneeze near it and don't blow on it!!

10-27-2010, 05:34 PM
Yes, you can do a watercolor underpainting on Colourfix paper. Be warned, though, that you need to securely tape it down first, as it does buckle. I find it doesn't dry quite as flat as I would like it, so I don't use it much.

I have used clear primer on watercolor paper over a watercolor underpainting, and I found it didn't change much at all. I prefer the hotpress paper for this process, as I'm not always a big fan of the bumps of cold press. Others like coldpress, and I have also gotten good results on it at times, so it's definitely worth a go. Also tape the watercolor paper down, then prime, let dry, then pastel. (use a disposable foam paint roller, a small one, to apply the primer in a criss-cross fashion, it works well. You can save the roller wrapped in a wet papertowel in a little baggie in the fridge and use it again and again.) The watercolor paper takes moisture much better than Colourfix, as it is made for that purpose. I think Colourfix paper is on cardstock, which is why it buckles. You can do it, I'm just a pill about any buckling, especially when I have to pastel over it.

Wallis Pro sanded paper also buckles, but the museum grade does not (that is a sanded surface applied on watercolor paper).

10-27-2010, 05:51 PM
The Wallis Museum also has an extra coating of gessso on the front as well as one on the back (making for less tooth).

10-27-2010, 06:47 PM
The Wallis Museum also has an extra coating of gessso on the front as well as one on the back (making for less tooth).

Thanks for that tidbit of info Mike!:thumbsup:

10-27-2010, 07:29 PM
Hello Julia,

Welcome to pastels!

The colourfix clear primer works great on watercolour. I've tried it (with W&N artist grade wc, but I can't paint with wc...) Here is the underpainting, on a piece of matboard:


And with Colourfix clear primer over it, in two layers I think:


It sort of got slighly 'milkier' (to the left is some glare from the light), so I'd advice you to not apply the primer over the parts you want to leave as watercolour.

Hm, I think Schmincke Sansfix does take water (but I don't like it for pastels, you certainly need fixative for it), but Sennelier LaCarte (pastel card) just get the grit dissolved. However, there is a new LaCarte that is said to be able to take water, never tried it.

Do show us the result!