Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Studio Work - Playing with Pastel Surfaces

I've been reading recent articles by Richard McKinley and following Karen Margulis' blog, and both have been showing different ways of making interesting texture for pastel painting surfaces. I generally like softer surfaces for pastel, but I love the looks they showed.

This first experiment is a homemade mixture of finely ground pumice mixed with acrylic matte medium and brushed onto a piece of mat board to dry. The surface is REALLY rough and because of that, it was really chewing up my pastels. So I decided this was a good time to use my cheaper pastels which rarely get used, instead of my expensive ones.

I copied the composition and steps in Richard McKinley's article in Pastel Journal magazine.
This board was coated with the pumice mixture and  under-painted
with watercolors and dried. Then the beginning of pastel shown in light blue on top.

Composition put in loosely with large shapes.

Rubbed in.
I sprayed Spectra-Fix pastel fixative to see how this product works.
I thought I put a light coat but it looked pretty wet. Took awhile to dry.
After drying. Surprised - looks pretty much like it did before
the spray, but the pastel is set!

Finished painting.  Good experiment, but a bit rough for my tastes.
Perhaps the ratio of pumice powder to medium could be adjusted.
The next experiment was using Golden Fine Pumice Gel, which is very similar to what I made, but ready-made with a finer pumice. Easy Peasy!! I coated a piece of mat board, and it dried fairly quickly within an hour. This still had a nice texture, but softer and was much nicer to work on. I felt I could paint more quickly.

First pass

Finished painting.
I am pleased with this one. I use this product again.

I have also coated a board with clear gesso, which has its own sanded feel. I will use that on my next painting and report on the results.

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