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Old 10-07-2011, 06:13 AM
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Julie Z Julie Z is offline
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Question The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

I've been using Art Spectrum colourfix paper for ages now and I've decided to experiment with coating my own boards. The question is, what is the best
substrate to use? I've read that you should use something that is acid free,
is Gatorboard acid free? I know that mdf isn't but a lot of artists seem to use
it. I also want a board that is lightweight.

What is your favourite board and what do you use to coat your boards?
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Old 10-07-2011, 10:58 AM
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the drover's dog the drover's dog is offline
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

Julie, whatever you use will need sealing on the underside to A) Keep moisture out and B) Undo the warping that occurs if you only seal one side with the Primer if using something lighter weight like matboard - which works well as a pastel surface. I really can't see that it makes any difference whether your substate is acid free, because you are completely sealing it with an acrylic seal whether it be the sealer on the back or the Colourfix Primer on the front. You are effectively locking the lignin in the wood or wood fibre paper product by coating it in a plastic that is absorbed a little way into the substrate as well as forming a barrier on the surface. I always seal the edges too, for good measure.

Personally, I use mat board sometimes but mostly I buy the very thin MDF that has the shiney white coating on one side. It's not much more expensive than the one without any coating. I designate the white side the back. I get the hardware store to saw the sheets into three pieces and then I can further break their sizes down myself, or use the bigger pieces as backing boards on my easel. I then only have to seal and add Colourfix Primer to the front and seal the edges.

You can use an acrylic Folk Art sealer as it is specifically designed to prevent any dicolouration of paintings by lignin or other natural tanins seeping through from a wood substrate. Jo Sonja paints actually have a sealer they call a Tanin Blocker for use on pine that weeps all over the place for years I often wonder if it really is stronger and/or different as it appear to be no different to their ordinary sealer or a mat medium.

I always seal before I start adding the coats of Colourfix as it saves the more expensive Colourfix and makes it go further. I always let each coat of sealer or Primer on a wood product dry for a couple of days between coats or hit them with a hairdryer until quite hot. It's easy to permanently seal moisture in to the wood you are painting, particulalry if you are sealing the edges too. If you are not too fussy, then you can use cheap old Bondcrete or Aquadhere to do the same job of sealing wood and the cost per 5 litres is about the same as you'd pay for 250 mls of artist's sealer and you are covering your working surface with three or four coats of archival grade Colourfix Primer anyway, so you have double indemnity. Masonite as a pastel surface is too heavy and hurts like h..l if you drop it on your toe. Besides, it's too thick to frame with mats and glass. Our three plys in Australia are rubbish and it would be too time consuming and costly to try and take the irregularities out of the surface with fillers, sanding etc.

By the time anything might happen to cause deterioration of the surface, the museum which owns the rights to your masterpiece, will probably have a 100% digital display. All those dust attracting originals that are so costly to restore, will probably have been burnt in the interest of complying with budget constraints. Their displays of art will magically appear on the huge screens in the viewing galleries. As each new digital technology comes along the museums will only have to convert their master digital images to the new format.

And in case you are wondering.........yes! I have been drinking!!!!
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:27 AM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

You cannot beat Multimedia Artboard with acrylic matte medium and aluminum oxide grit used to make a sanded surface. Easy, fast, no mounting, no buckling after wetting, washable up to five times (so far for me). Perfect.
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:28 AM
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Potoma Potoma is offline
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

I have stumbled upon great sales on gessoboard (not the Amperstand version) and I often use that.

Foamboard is a great option. Found this link at Blick, although this isn't exatcly what I've used in the past. (Went in on an order then and do not remember the supplier.) It should not have ripples in it.

http://www.dickblick.com/products/el...ree-foamboard/

I have experimented positively with canvas boards - with several layers of Colorfix. The support is cushier, which feels different, but I've gotten good results.
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Old 10-07-2011, 11:42 AM
Barbara WC Barbara WC is offline
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

I've used matboard coated with Golden's Acrylic Ground for pastels (thinned a bit with water). I like that it is lightweight, and can be framed without much trouble, although I've never had a good enough painting on that surface yet to frame

If you use mat board, be sure to seal the back and sides- I use gesso for the back of mine.
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Old 10-07-2011, 06:31 PM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

I've sketched directly on mat board, something that I'm trying to shift entirely over to archival mat board in part because I know I do that with the mat scrap. I also bought a box of archival foam board from Blick. That stuff is lightweight and cool, it does need a primer because the surface is too smooth.

I love the Ampersand boards but they're hard to mat and frame because the MDF weighs so much. Recently I got some Richeson boards that I like too.

It's hard to say what's the best. I like boards that come already sanded because it's physically easier for me than gessoing and priming a raw board. I keep saying I'm going to prepare some of my foam board but never get around to it. That body energy would better be spent painting.
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Old 10-10-2011, 06:40 AM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

Dale thanks for your detailed reply and no, I didn't realize that you had been drinking. I thought that you were being very helpful as usual! I hope that you enjoyed yourself! I've seen the mdf painted on one side here in Bunnings, I'll pick up a piece and experiment.

Thanks Sherry, I'll also try out the multimedia artboard.

Bonnie, I use foamboard as a backing board for colourfix paper on the easel because it's really lightweight but it doesn't have a really hard surface. I've got a few dents in all of the boards that I've got so I wasn't sure if it would be suitable. Do you use it regularly for your paintings?

Barbara I've never thought of using matboard, you say that you've never had a piece on it that's good enough to frame, what are the problems you've come up against using it?

Robert, I like papers that are already sanded as well. I'm plain lazy, I usually just can't be bothered spending time preparing my own surfaces but lately I'm interested in seeing the effects that I can get by coating the boards using different thicknesses of the coatings and using differing the direction of the brushstrokes. I'm also thinking about using different things to coat the boards with such as silver, copper or gold.
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:08 PM
sketchZ1ol sketchZ1ol is offline
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

hello

i suppose if i was to paint a masterpiece for the ages ,
i'd spray the back of rag paper with acrylic
and when dry use a water soluable glue to attach it to foamcore ;
if the piece needs to be remounted
the acrylic is a moisture barrier and the glue can be softened with water .

Cheers Dog !

Ed :}

ps. there are canvases made with synthetic fiber .
and clothes , and sails , and so on ... hmmm
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:28 AM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

I have 300# cold press Arces watercolor paper and it is so thick it is really more like a board. i coat the back with gesso and give the front a coat of gesso too and then use either colorfix primer or golden fine pumice gel with extra pumice and you can color it too with acryllic paint thinned with water. i also use liquetex clear gesso as a primer as it has a nice grit to it. I often use that on used pastelbord that has lost a lot of it's tooth in the process of wiping off the painting that didn't work. And I also have some gesso boards that could just be primed with whatever you want to use. I currently have pumice to add to whatever i'm using but i would like to get some aluminum oxide grit and use that. With the pumice i tend to put a lot of extra in because I like a really gritty surface. Plus i'm using the FFFFpumice and it is just too fine for me. If i buy more pumice i would like to find some FF. that is what Doug Dawson uses and i know some other pastelists use it as well.

Sara
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:12 AM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

Julie, I forgot to mention that Colourfix now have Plein Air Boards that are just heavy enough not to need a backing board. They use 500 gsm rag watercolour board as the substrate for the screen printed sanded surface. Limited size though. The ones I have are 16" x 20" which I find a good size but then I can't work small to save my life. If you wanted texture, there's nothing stopping you from applying texture on top of the sanded surface on a Plein Air board by painting on it with more Colourfix Primer.

One problem I did find when framing works on these boards, is that the rabbet on any frames I can find or most framing timber profiles here in Australia, are not deep enough to accommodate glass, double mats, spacer mat, painting on Colourfix board and the thinnest of MDF backing boards (which I seal on the inside to protect from acid or discolouration. I had to settle for a piece of thin old mat board or I wouldn't have been able to get the points in the frame. As it was, the whole packages bulges in the middle. I slapped on brown paper and tape and it doesn't look too horrible.

I like something firmer on the back such as the MDF, because so many of these tin pot art shows do not hang carefully, or try their best but have accidents and often puncture whatever is on the back of your painting and potentially could puncture the painting too. A lot of them use hooks made from short bits of fencing wire hung on weldmesh screens covered in hessian! The paintings need a bit of protection by way of something quite solid as a backing.

Dale
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Old 10-19-2011, 09:54 AM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

Robert... did I understand that one can use leftover mat board (I mat /cut for my paintings and have lots of centers) that I can cover with the Golden sanded finish or a home mixed sanded surface ? Thanks
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Old 10-19-2011, 01:06 PM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

you are all talking about masterpieces lasting a long time, and that they should BUT the foam inside the foam core has a very limited life......it will be gone way before the coated paper on either side of your masterpiece.....don't think coating the ends is going to help....it will help a little but it's not archival.....

better putting those masterpieces on linen mat board.....they should last about 2000 years..... cotton mat board should be good for a lifetime........
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Old 10-19-2011, 03:10 PM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

Sansea, yes, the centers of mats you cut make good pastel surfaces once they're primed. Just gesso the backs to prevent them warping or don't prime all the way out to the edge. I'm lazy and sometimes just mark off a picture area with a couple of inches of border so I don't have to gesso the backs.

The foam board I bought was on clearance, it was archival foam board. I think it was Bienfang. I bought a big box of it and still have seven of the giant sheets. I'll be using that as substrate as well as backing boards because it sounded good. I also switched to getting archival mat boards a couple of years ago.
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Old 10-20-2011, 08:51 AM
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Re: The Best Substrate Boards For Pastels?

Thanks ,Robert for the advice! I will be gesso and putting the Golden sanded product on those leftover mat boards today.sanse
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