Monday, May 22, 2006

What type of surface do you use?

When it comes to pastel painting, the type of surface you choose makes an enormous difference to how the finished painting will look. I first tried out pastels in the late 1990's having seen a lovely portrait of a man playing a saxophone in a local art shop. I had always thought of pastels as a dirty, dusty medum only useful for impressionistic works but this painting changed my opinion.

A few days later I found myself smudging away with newly aquired pastels doing a portrait of a boy I had seen in Africa. I was a little dissapointed in the end, it looked quite nice but compared to the oil paints I was used to using it just didn't stand up. The pastel just seemed to sit on the surface of the paper and was very easily smudged away. I was put off by the fragility of the work and returned to my oil paints.

About a year later I came across a surface made by Colorfix, From Australia I believe. The surface was like smooth stone and in one of those 'eureka' moments I realized that this might be ten times better than paper for using pastels.

I decided once again to try something, and thought the Statue of Liberty would make a perfect subject. I had always been fascinated by her beauty and this seemed like an excellent excuse to have a rest from my wildlife painting and paint her.

This painting opened my eyes to the potential of pastels as a serious medium. It was indeed ten times better at holding onto pastel than paper and allowed the colours to be built up in layers much like the painting techniques I was used to.

A short while afterwards, I discovered Royal Soverign pastelcard. A surface specifically designed to hold in pastel. It's texture is like ultra fine sandpaper and it's an absolute joy to work with. Broad sweeps of colour can be instantly applied, it is wonderful for fine details and it holds more layers of pastel than any other suface I've tried.

My first wildlife pastel painting was done on this card, a painting of a Lioncub that I had seen in Zimbabwe the year before. It was a great success and sold quickly. All my pastel work since then has been on Royal Sovereign Pastelcard. I've tried other surfaces such as velour, but to me, nothing compares with the feel of Royal Sovereign.

I could not achieve the the realism in my pastelworks using any other surface.


At 7:24 pm , Blogger Vany-Art said...

thanks for sharing this, Eric. It is very interesting to see on which surface you are painting :) keep up the good work

Your German friend
Vany :)

At 12:41 am , Blogger Susan Borgas said...

Eric your work is beautiful.

I use Colourfix paper but very interested in what you say about Royal Sovereign. I am not sure that I will be able to buy it in Australia though will do a search online to see if I can find a supplier.

Great info....thanks!
Cheers, Susan

At 5:20 am , Blogger ria said...

I use Wallis paper and Art Spectrum Colourfix. I have more control in general with Colorfix.
BTW . .the Statue of Liberty painting is gorgeous!


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