The Pastel Journal

The Dance Between Pastels & Paper

As a teacher, I feel it’s as crucial to learn about the materials you use as it is to learn about theory and technique. Paper is the foundation upon which you build your artistic vision. Understanding the different characteristics of pastel papers will help you effectively choose the type that best supports your own particular approach to painting with pastels. There isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to selecting a brand of paper with which to work. It’s a personal choice, based on your creative intentions. That’s why it’s important to explore the different attributes of various papers, including the texture, layering capacity, ability to take wet applications, durability and options in color and size.

Through trial and error, you’ll develop your own preferred methods and techniques, choosing, for example, whether to begin with a wet or dry underpainting, or whether to use a pretoned paper or apply your own tone. The kind of pastels you use (hard, soft or a combination of both) and the way that you apply them (in a few light layers or multiple layers) will factor into your paper selection.

When I started to paint, I used the same paper for several years. As my approach evolved, I found myself looking for a different type of paper that would support my new approach. With art,

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