Recently, I read Karen Margulis' blog and she had tried out a new pastel paper (Shizen) which is handmade in India using recycled cotton. I loved the look so searched the web to find out more about it. It is available at several of the online art supply stores in several color combinations. I was intrigued with the 'natural' color pack which I found at Cheap Joe's. It arrived today and I tore one of the medium grey pieces in half to give it a try.
These will certainly take some getting used to..it will not take many layers. I found some differences in how brands of pastels went down on the surface. If I used really buttery soft pastels too soon, it made it difficult to add anything on top. The brands that worked the best had a bit of pumice in the stick - such as Townsend Terrages, Unison and Blicks. Some of the Terry Ludwigs worked on top layers but most were too soft. Very hard pastels would not even make a mark.
Below, is my first try on this paper. It holds promise, but will take trial and error to get a good painting.