Doing a back flip

Mary Liz Ingram —  January 10, 2013 — Leave a comment

I go on and on about the glories of textured pastel paper-which I love and prefer-but sometimes, I do use a piece of “regular” pastel paper…with a twist. While I mostly use Ampersand Pastelbords and Sennelier La Carte pastel card, I often choose a sheet of pastel paper for soft subjects, like a baby’s face. However, I do NOT like the little dots that show up on most papers.

So, I just flip it over and use the back!

Granted, some pastel papers have dot or line texture on both sides, so I just don’t pick those brands. Mi Tientes, for example, has a smoother back (you know its the back because there’s a price sticker on it!) The reverse side still has enough texture to hold my layers of pastel, that I apply more softly to get a smooth result for a rosy baby cheek.

Baby Girl

Baby Girl, 8×10 Soft Pastel on Paper, private commission

Even on the smooth paper, I can still get some good texture by using layers of soft pastels, as you can see here:

Man's Best Friend

Man’s Best Friend, 8×10 Soft Pastel on paper, private commission

Some people like the “dots” on pastel paper, saying it looks like canvas, or it adds a different texture…it is a texture! I just don’t like it. Here is one of my earliest portraits, when I was still using the “correct” side of the pastel paper:

Engagement, 18x24 Soft Pastel on Paper

Engagement, 18×24 Soft Pastel on Paper

I was happy with the result at the time, am still satisfied with my rendering, but I am happier these days using the smooth side of the paper, or a good textured surface to really pump up the colors and show off the details!  What is your favorite surface to use?

Check out some of my other blog posts on pastel surfaces:

Colourfix Suede

Paper from the Past

Stipple Paper by Bee Paper

Pastelbord: Once you go bord, you never go back

Mary Liz Ingram


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