Papers and Substrates


All pastelists have their favourite papers. Of course, an acid-free paper is a must to preserve the image and the stability of the pigment on the surface. As artists we owe that to our customers.

Once that issue is taken care of though, it's a matter of tooth, or the actual surface of the a paper, we are most concerned with. Papers come in a range of colours, although again, it's a matter of preference and intent.

• If you tend to employ a more painterly approach to the use of pastel, the lightly sanded paper varieties are excellent. Kitty Wallis and Art Spectrum, for instance, hold more pigment and can take different treatments such as liquids and sprays. Pastelmat is a new paper from France with a satiny surface that surprisingly holds many layers just as well as the more familiar sanded supports; it can be worked wet, scraped and generally handled roughly as long as the moisture doesn't spread to the paper support.

• La Carte, with its beautiful velvet-like surface, holds the pigment well too, but will not suffer any liquids or spray.

• Jack Richeson & Co. offers a premium pastel surface available on three different substrates: Gator board, hardboard and heavyweight paper that has a 'toothy' finish. Pastels can be applied with ease as the surface grabs and holds the pigment, layer after layer.

Rtistix and Uart are newer brands with sanded surfaces, solid backings and several degrees of fineness.

• Canson and Strathmore series are good papers to work with as well and can tolerate small whispers of sprays. They work quite well for vignettes and drawing in pastel.

• Watercolour paper (300 lb arches cold press) is a sturdy paper that can really take a beating and still come up looking great. You can start off with watercolour media for the underground painting and finish off with dry pastel on the surface. You can even make big changes right up to the final layer and take advantage of the undercolour when applying the final layer of pastel. A word of warning though — the tooth of the paper is wide and shallow and can support only a few layers of pastel. 


Posted about 1 year ago
From Ruth Rodgers... This info may be of interest to our members. Some say this is the closest to the now-unavailable Kitty Wallis paper. I haven't found a source of Pastel Premier in Canada, but Dakota Pastel and Fineartstore in Rochester offer it via mail order. I've read that that this paper is NOT compatible with some liquid underpaintings such as alcohol. We've taken our best-selling Pastel Premier paper and mounted it on two types of surfaces for easier storage and use. No more taping or mounting your pastel paper, we've done the work for you and made the framing process much easier. Pastel Premier is a truly unique 100% cotton, archival quality pastel paper. It is double primed and coated with an aluminum oxide to produce an ideal surface for pastel painting. Pastel Premier is now mounted on two types of surfaces - a 4-ply Conservation Panel which is acid free, buffered and has a neutral pH and an Eco Panel, a 1/8 in thick, lightweight yet sturdy board that is environmentally friendly and made with sustainable materials. The new panels are available in all 10 sizes, all colors and grits. Over 60 new items!

Posted over 7 years ago
The statement about LaCarte that it "will not suffer liquids of any sort" is not accurate. While it is true that water based liquids will destroy the surface it disturbed while still wet, LaCarte WILL accept alcohol (isopropanyl alcohol) or Gamsol/Turpenoid. It will also accept Spectrafix fixative provided that it is not disturded while still wet.


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