Pastel Surface, Painting Experience, and Final Results

Midday Sage     5 x 7 inches     pastel on paper

midday sage

air soft as a feather

full sun overhead

combine to create

visual pleasure 

pastel selection for this painting

This little painting seemed to paint itself as I created it early this morning.  Afterwards I thought of how I seem to paint differently depending on the surface I'm working on.  This one is on UArt 400 sanded paper.  When I paint on this I tend to use more lines and the final effect seems to have an overall lightness to it.  Sometimes this can mean a washed out look that might not be good for a darker subject.  Sennelier pastel card is similar to UArt 400, but it has more grit so that when I drag a flat pastel over it, it glides smoothly, so I tend to use more broad strokes.  It comes in a variety of shades - I've only used brown and orange and these work well for darker subjects.  I've created two of my own surfaces - Arches cold press 156 lb. paper primed with clear Art Spectrum pastel primer, and linen laid on wood primed with Art Spectrum primer as well.  I've mentioned both of these previously.  The Arches paper has a less uniform surface and seems to work well for multiple layers and an impressionistic look.  The linen surface is very rough.  When I create on it I feel it meets me half way.  In a way it pushes me to work harder and sometimes that is helpful to keep me from falling into monotonous habits.  I probably apply the least amount of pastel on the linen surface, bit to me, it ends up having the richest look, with a slight darkness which helps set off lights and the linen texture creates interest.  Therefore, it is good to try a selection of pastel surfaces to determine what works best for you, the way you work, and what you hope to achieve.     

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