Here is my second painting on Pastelmat. It's still trial and error for me at this point, but I'm getting used to the paper, and I like it very much.
19.5" x 15.5"
Soft Pastel on Pastelmat
People keep asking me for WIPs, so I tried to remember to take some pictures along the way so I could show you my process.
First, I started out with a grid. I laugh at myself when I try to grid, because I can never get the grid even, or to accurately match the reference photo grid. And even if I had everything accurate, I don't have the patience to copy the boxes exactly. So for me, a grid is more of a tool I use for the initial placement of the image, and then I draw the picture from the computer monitor. I also correct and redraw as necessary when I'm painting.
For the grid, I took a few drawing pencils and made small marks on the paper. Then I erased the marks with a kneaded eraser. I used the pencil that erased the best. I drew the painting with a pastel pencil, and lost parts of my drawing when the pastel pencil rubbed off, so next time I'm just going to use the drawing pencil.
A note about pastel removal: A kneaded eraser pulls up pastel very nicely on this paper, particularly if you're not trying to pull up a lot. I found Q-tips effective when I wanted to remove a lot of pastel (meaning many layers). A soft paintbrush is also effective. I actually tried the vacuum, and was surprised at how ineffective it was (and my vacuum has a lot of suction!).
Here is my initial drawing:
I started painting the hat and face first.
Then the hair and shirt.
Then I finished the shirt and started the background.
Next I have a gap in the photos (sorry). When I got to the hands, I realized you might like to see how I paint skin (I used the same method for the face, just didn't get pics of it), and thought to get a photo. First, I redrew the hands with a pastel pencil (the drawing had faded by the time I was ready to paint the hands). Next, I painted the local color of the skin, using probably six different pastel colors.
Next, I blended that, then applied more pastel in the same manner, then blended again. After that, I touched up with pastels and pastel pencils to define the hands a bit better (sorry, I got so into my painting I forgot to take pics!).
After that, I made corrections, removed things that weren't necessary, etc. Here's the finished painting once again.
I am really getting to like the Pastelmat. I like the fact that it is so soft, but I can get a nice sharp line on it. It takes a lot of pastel, though not nearly as much as suede matboard. This paper will probably replace La Carte for me. I get similar results, but a bit better coverage, and blending is much easier on the fingertips. As far as dust goes, I'd say I get less dust than La Carte, but much more than suede matboard. I would use this paper for anything I would normally use La Carte for, and probably suede matboard and velour paper as well, with the exception of animals. Once I get used to the paper, I may try fur again and reevaluate.
I hope this was interesting for you, despite the gaps in my photos!
My Painting “Sunny Spot” won an honorable mention in the Pastel 100. A picture of the painting is in the April 2010 edition of The Pastel Journal magazine.
The Pastel 100 is an annual competition where jurors pick the top 100 paintings. The paintings are chosen from five categories: landscape/interior, still life/floral, abstract/non-objective, portrait/figure, and animal/wildlife. There are thousands of entries every year, and I couldn’t be happier that my painting was chosen as one of the top 100.
This is my first attempt painting on a new paper called Pastelmat. Since I often paint animals, I thought I’d first test how suitable the paper is for fur. I used my dog as the subject. My usual method of painting fur didn’t work on this paper, so unless I figure out a way to get the results I want, I won’t be using this paper for animals in the future. I can see great possibilities with other subjects, though.
"Old Friend" 12” x 19.5”
Soft Pastel on Pastelmat
Pastelmat is an amazing surface. It is so smooth, you wouldn’t expect it to grab onto the pastel, but that’s exactly what it does. I’m looking forward to experimenting with different subjects and discovering what I can do with it.
I hate to waste good paper, so I painted this little picture of my daughter enjoying the sunlight to use up a small scrap piece of La Carte. As you can see, I didn't do a whole lot of blending on this one. Just quick and fun.