Monday, 18 June 2012

Which is the best pastel ground?

There are a wide variety of pastel grounds - and I've finally got round to listing them all out in a poll to find out from pastel artists which pastel papers or pastel boards they like the best.

You can find the poll in a new "resources for artists" site I've created - Pastel Papers and Pastel Grounds

This is the link POLL: Which pastel paper or other support do you like best for pastels?

These are the options:
  • Ampersand Pastelbord
  • Art Spectrum Colourfix Paper
  • Art Spectrum Plein Air Painting Board
  • Art Spectrum Suede
  • Art Spectrum Supertooth
  • Canford Black Pastel Paper
  • Canson Mi Teintes Pastel Paper
  • Canson Mi-Teintes Touch - sanded texture board
  • Clairefontaine Pastelmat
  • Daler Rowney Murano Pastel Paper
  • Fabriano Tiziano Paper
  • Fisher 400 Paper
  • Hahnemuhle Bugra Paper
  • Hahnemuhle Velour Pastel Papers
  • Ingres Paper (various)
  • Richeson Pastel Paper
  • Saint-Armand Sabretooth paper
  • Schminke Sansfix
  • Sennelier La Carte
  • St Cuthberts Mill - Somerset Pastel Paper
  • Townsend Pastel Paper
  • UART Archival Sanded Pastel Paper
  • Wallis Archival Sanded Pastel Paper - Museum Grade
  • Wallis Archival Sanded Pastel Paper - Professional Grade
  • Watercolour Paper (various)
  • Winsor & Newton Tints Pastel Paper
  • Other (please comment below)
I'm developing a systematic analysis of the range of pastel grounds on the website according to:
  • characteristics
  • made of
  • colours
  • size
  • consumer opinion
This should make it easier for people wanting to consult the site to find out which pastel ground might suit them best.

If you are a pastel artist could you please:
  • vote in the poll 
  • share your personal views as to the pastel ground you like the best - lave a comment below or on the website
  • let me know if you've ever reviewed a pastel ground - and let me have a link to the review
  • let me know if I've omitted a pastel ground which should be included in the poll!
You can find out more about pastels and other papers and supports in two related websites:


Sophie said...

If you want to work in many, many layers then a lot of these papers are of no use. Watercolour paper or drawing paper just won’t take many layers and more suitable, I feel, for pastel drawings. For heavy layering nothing beats Sennelier La Carte. It is soft but can take a lot. Second best and slightly cheaper is Art Spectrum Colourfix, which is rougher and probably more ‘all round’ than LaCarte. For me LaCarte is best, in general I’d say Colourfix is the best out there.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

There are of course very many ways of working with pastels and not everybody wants to use many layers.

Indeed some of my favourite all time pastel works are drawings which only only partially cover the pastel ground! :)

For me the best pastel ground entirely depends on how you want to work.

Hence it's really helpful to share, as Sophie has done, which are the best grounds for a particular way of working.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I forgot to say - on the subject of watercolour paper, I was also sceptical about the ability of watercolour paper to take pastel - until I did a workshop with Sally Strand on Cape Cod - see The best ever workshop - pastel painting with Sally Strand

Sally does all her work on watercolour paper - this is her website -

I've now included a photograph of a work I did on watercolour paper in her workshop at the end of the site. I used Saunders Waterford 140lb NOT.

Anonymous said...

According to the Uart company, their paper is not archival. You may want to change the description.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

Interesting - can you quote a source for that as I've had other people tell me it's archival?

Is there a link to a website available that establishes it one way or the other?

I'm more than happy to quote the company - so long as I'm quoting the company and not an anonymous source.

This is the UART website which does state that its paper is PH neutral and acid free

In the meantime I'm emailing UART to establish the archival status of their support

Katherine Tyrrell said...

An anonymous person continues to make allegations about the archive status of various pastel grounds but declines to identify themselves.

As a matter of policy, I do not allow people to remain anonymous if they continue to make allegations which have a bearing on the reputation of a brand. The person commenting needs to bear this in mind the next time they come to make a comment.

Their latest comment is not going to be published.

Future similar comments will only be published if made by an identifiable person. Comments should also clearly distinguish between FACT and OPINION.
* If making a factual statement I expect facts to be presented.
* If offering an opinion, you get one go and that's it (and this individual has used up their 'one go' already.)

This isn't a defence of the Uart company - they can do that for themselves and have a website on which they can clarify anything which needs more information.

For the record I enquired of Uart what the archival status of their paper was - and this was their reply.

Good morning UAR paper is acid free and PH neutral. For more information please see the below link.

If I can answer any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Tom Esposito
UART Sales

UART Pastel Paper
640 Chestnut Ridge Rd. PO Box 209
Spring Valley , NY 10977
P:(800)-431-2494 EXT.238

Note that:
* they do not suggest the paper is archival - they describe it as PH neutral and acid-free. That's the same description as you'll find used for many artist supports
* my website does not suggest that the paper is archival
* I am no longer going to entertain a debate about an assertion which does not exist!

I suggest if people have any doubts or want to answers to more questions they should take it up with the Uart company as I did and then make a decision on the basis of the response offered.

As a general principle, I recommend that if people think companies are misrepresenting their products, they should always take that up with the companies themselves. In general I find most companies are very helpful.

Jodie Fewings said...

Hi, I'm very keen to know which sanded pastel surfaces lend themselves well to the underpainting technique using solvent based washes? Have established that Wallis Museum Grade and the heavier GSM UArt papers are highly recommended but need to know if anyone can recommend any other brands or have experience with this technique?

Katherine Tyrrell said...

The Art Spectrum Boards are also suitable for all paint media.

Read the characteristics of each surface on my website Pastel Paper and Pastel Boards

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