This is normally where it begins…the addiction.

An artist gets a set of pastels or takes a class and starts to play around with this medium.  Typically this is the surface one starts on.  Not expensive and no grit like the others mentioned here the last few weeks.  It is a heavy paper and has 2 sides-  the front has a stamped “screen” pattern on it and the “back” of the sheet is smoother. I was always told to flip the paper over and work on the back. Less interference from the weave. But, some artists love the texture of the paper and put it to good use.  The distinctive texture becomes a big part of the image. 

Canson will only let you add layers for so long before the surface starts to build up and then it  can feel pretty slick. New additions of pastel will not adhere- If you have used this surface you know what I mean.  No matter what brand you are trying to add, there comes a point where this surface will not cooperate anymore. But for quicker studies it is great.

Because it is a paper surface it feels more like drawing.  And that is one of the things about pastel that I love- both a drawing and a painting medium.  By the way- a pastel is considered a painting and not a drawing unless most of the surface is not covered by pastel. If it is a vignetted, simple image with only a little percentage of pastel across the surface, then it is called a drawing. Otherwise it is a painting. 

Canson comes in many, many colors and is very cheap. So really great to play around on. You can typically find it in any basic art store.

Here is an old drawing I did on Canson. 

“Joy” pastel 20 x 16”

This image is obviously from a long time ago (my son again) and as a toddler he used to run across the room and jump into my moms’ arms. I clearly remember these memories and wanted to paint the simple happiness and joy of a toddler. It is now one of my most precious paintings, even if not one of the best I have ever done. I lost my mom to cancer 12 years ago this month and so I love this early drawing. When I look at it I see her. 

Next week-  Surfaces that are not around anymore- Wallis, Ersta and Ya Cai. 

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