Saturday, March 5, 2011

A New Project

I am currently working on a commission for a large, off-size pastel of the Spanish Steps in Rome. Since my preferred surface is a sturdy, textured board, and Pastelbords don't come in 30x30", I have embarked on a new adventure: preparing my own textured pastel board. My first challenge was finding some sort of board in the size required. While in retrospect I probably could have bought and had cut a piece of Masonite board, I chose a 30x30 encaustic board in a frame, thanks to the help of my friends at Forstall Art Center.

The next step was to apply the texture with my jar of Golden's Acrylic Ground for Pastels. I tested the ground on some smaller boards first, dividing the board into quarters and trying different methods of application: straight, smooth brushstrokes; crosshatched brushstrokes; random, mottled brushstrokes; smoothed with my fingers; and finally, gently sanded areas to soften the texture. Once dry, I tested the surface with several bright and contrasting pastels, looking for good coverage and hoping for uniform texture. Alas, the coverage was good, but all textures were lacking. After doing a bit of research, I settled into thinning the pastel ground with 20% water and applying the medium smoothly and uniformly with a foam roller that I bought for about $1. Perfection! It looks and feels so much like a Pastelbord, and I am very satisfied.

More on this project soon to follow...

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