Pastel dust experiments…


I am always willing to try a new paper, a different pastel, etc.  So with the plan of going on some plein air journeys, I am looking for a simple way to use existing paper, but mounting it on a backing to simplify the authentication and framing process.

With the plein air events, one has to be able to have an authentication stamp on the back of the paper you are painting on to insure that the painting was done at the event and not something an artist brings completed , with them.  So I also want to have the paper mounted on a heavy backing that doesn’t require additional foam core covering the paper and the required stamp.  In the past for small events I have marked where the stamp is on the backing board and then cut a window out of the back board so as to prove the painting had a stamp.  It’s another step and I am looking for something even more simple.  So, I have tried a fie different things.   I bought some of the Art Spectrum primer and painted it on a variety of papers.  I also used an archival spray adhesive and mounted Wallis on mat board and foam core.  I painted mat board with the primer, even directly on foam core, painted it on Arches Cover and canvas paper.  I used the “elephant” colour and an off white one.  I brushed it on with a bristle brush and a foam brush.  What I found…

The Wallis mounted on the foam core seems to work very well.  It is a white surface that I then primed with a pastel and alcohol wash.  I did not like the primed Arches cover paper.  The primed foam core worked fine and depending whether it was brushed or had the primer applied with a foam brush depended on what the texture was like and how it affected the painting.  The primer applied on a mat board was great.  The primer on the canvas paper was fun to work with and has a bit of a look like an oil painting because of the underlying canvas pattern.

I did not mix any primer from scratch; only used the Art Spectrum primer   which is one of the surfaces that I prefer for pastels.  So I think what it all means is that there are numerous products and combinations of products that  can give you a hard surface to paint on when working plein air Below are some examples of how the homemade hard surfaces look.  I might add that the sizes of paper I put together were no larger than 12×16 inches.

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About bonnie griffith

I am a landscape artist who works in pastels, oils and acrylics. My work focuses on representational studies of the western US. I am basically self taught with lots of workshops and studies with several landscape artists such as Bruce Haughey and Clark Elster. I live in southwestern Idaho, am a native Montanan with a strong connection to the land. I spend as much time as I can in MT painting as well other parts of the northwest. I appreciate getting out in the field and working plein air because there is nothing like completing a painting in the true light of day and visually not being compromised by the use of a photo. In my work, my goal is to produce a piece of work that draws the viewer into the painting and challenges them to explore the scene; get a sense of the time of day, the temperature, the light or lack of. If I have gotten that viewer to step out of their reality and into that painting and enjoy it, then my work was accomplished as I wished. View all posts by bonnie griffith

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