Gesso prepared surface for pastels

Hi Matt and fellow students,

An artist at facebook shared her pastel art and explained she had used watercolor paper and then prepared it with Gesso before painting at it with pastel chalks and pastel pencils.

She explained she did it because she found “pure” pastel paper too expensive. Has anyone else done this or otherwise have any experience with it - and is it a method that can be recommended?

Best regards,
Anna Maria

I’ve done that numerous times. I use liquitex clear gesso or art spectrum ground. It does give you lots of texture and for me sometimes to much. It depends on what I’m doing. I sometimes find I need a very fine sandpaper to smooth some of it. But it is definitely worth a try.

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Thanks for your advice, Barb. Then I will treat myself with a bottle of gesso.

I love to prepare my own surface. I have lots of watercolour paper I don’t use so I have nothing to lose, which ea s I have nothing to lose and gives me a freedom with pastels. A large tub of clear, matt gesso is not expensive and I add acrylic colour to give a complementary ground to landscapes. You can use other surfaces too - I prepare several inexpensive 5in x7 in boards sold for oil/acrylics and they are ready to go when I feel inspired and a perfect for field sketches. This surface may not workforce subjects other than landscapes though. Happy experimenting.

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Thanks for your tip :blush: !

Finally I am discovering how to apply soft pastels, I love working with the wonderfull colors, but was shy to layer them. Thanks to Matt I am getting a bit more confidence. I do not know if pastel paper in Europe is less expensive, but like matt I prefer Canon mi teintes touch and lately pastelmat of clairefontaine, this is more expensive but it works great especially for detailed work. You really can apply layers over layers.