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All Things Ampersand

Innovative Pastel Methods on Pastelbord

Pastelbord sampler
Pastelbord Sampler

Pastelbord is a rigid panel with a delightful toothy surface that has allowed me a newfound freedom when working with pastels. The sanded surface and absorbency of the panel allow me to work wet or dry and to layer pigments endlessly, creating rich and vibrant pastel paintings. The panel is available in sand, grey, green and white. On the white-colored Pastelbord, my opportunities for varying color are endless! Following are a few techniques you’ll want to try on this great surface!

Barb Pinc landscape misting
Misting

Sketching and Misting
With a pastel pencil, lightly sketch in the initial drawing. Next, mist the board with water just enough to moisten the surface evenly to begin painting the background. I use a cosmetic plastic spray bottle so that the misting is done evenly. Pastel on the wet panel will create really exciting textures for the background. After misting, I begin by laying in my background colors of green. Remember to wipe the pastel first on a towel to make sure clean even color is being applied.

Working Wet and Dry

Barb Pinc landscape
Shaving pastel

When laying in my background colors I also use a shaving technique to add depth and texture to the background. For example, for a glistening effect, I shaved the edge of a metallic color with a razor over the initial background colors. I allowed the pastel dust to settle onto the surface and then I began my wet techniques. Because pastelbord is a rigid, yet porous surface, you can use water without the fear of buckling or ruining your “paper”. After applying the pastels, use a 3/4″ angle brush with water to blend them as if painting with watercolors. A very soft and airy background can be created using this technique. You can also use a wet brush to lift off color in areas that have gotten too dark. Just remember to have an old towel to wipe your brush as you lift the color off the Pastelbord.

Blending and Softening

Barb Pinc landscape
Blending

While working, keep shaving more colors over the initial background and then misting them with water to soften. Use the mist water bottle along with your watercolor brush to blend colors. This technique helps you create depth of field and provides your basic shapes, forms, and color for your piece. At this stage I also use a flat chisel Colour Shaper to pat down lumps of pastels for varying thickness of pigments. Wipe the shaper or the brush you are using frequently to prevent the painting from getting muddy.

Details and Heavier Pigments
Continue using this shaving and layering technique for the leaves, the dark areas of the road, and weeds. Also, to lift color, use a wet brush to lift and then wipe on a towel and repeat until the color has been partially or completely lifted. This is a wonderful technique for bringing back light into your painting when doing landscapes, wooded areas, shrubs, etc. The light will appear natural, almost as if it peeking through the leaves of the trees. For the final touches, use pastel pencils for fine details and where harder edges are needed for volume.

Barb Pinc landscape


Finishing the Piece
Sealing pastels with a fixative tends to deaden pastel colors, so I don’t recommend it. Frame the finished artwork behind glass with a spacer.

Barb Pinc is an award winning watercolor and pastel artist with a background in art education. 

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Featured Artist: Trilby Wood

Award winning Atlanta artist, Trilby Wood is known for her portraits of children, painting hundreds of commissions in the last 25 years.  Her soft pastel work captures the beauty of the human face and the likeness of the subject, in moments of thoughtful joy and peacefulness.  Her skillful work shows years of watching faces and deep study in the medium of pastel.  It’s no wonder that Trilby’s work is in collections nationwide as well as numerous publications throughout the years.

Trilby has always been interested in drawing, seeking out classes at Traphagen School of Art when she was in grade school and continually studying drawing throughout high school and college, at Boston University and the University of Texas.  After taking a significant twenty year break from portraiture, Trilby found night classes in pastel in Houston to revive her love of the work.  She took the next few years to build clientele and do live portraits on the weekends before she felt confident to move to Atlanta and start a full time business as a portrait artist.  Trilby marketed herself through local arts and crafts shows, gaining work via word of mouth and building a thriving business.

Trilby’s glowing pastel work is often large scale, as many of her portraits are full length.  Before finding Pastelbord™, she was dry mounting her work, which is an unpredictable and time consuming process and is difficult to ship.  After finding Pastelbord through a art magazine, she was thrilled to work with an easy, already built product.  Not to mention, Trilby also found that her color was brighter and fresher.  

Since Trilby’s work is large scale, she is often ordering custom cut boards.  A careful drawing before she orders the Pastelbord allows her to be accurate with the custom sizes.  Trilby offers more advice for using larger Pastelbord panels, “If I am doing a large piece, after my first application of pastel, I will spread the color out and blend with a styrofoam peanut to get the surface covered.  Also, I have some strips of velcro attached to a masonite board that stays attached to my easel.  I attach a strip of velcro to the back of my Pastelbord so that my artwork is held firmly to the easel by the velcro.  This works great for me.  Lastly, I have found that if I have done something to disrupt the surface of the board, covering the area with Golden’s Acrylic Ground for Pastels easily solved my problem.”

Trilby’s busy schedule only allows for commissions right now, and there is a 2+ year waiting list.  Her most recent show is the Southeastern Pastel Society’s 16th International Juried Exhibition at Oglethorpe University’s Museum of Art, which included one of her portraits on the show invitation and catalogue.  The show runs through June 22, 2014.  You can also see more of Trilby’s work and proposition her for a piece via her website:  trilbywood.com

All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.

Working on Pastelbord™

Pastels are, in general, a fragile medium. They require a sanded durable surface because the pigments need texture to grab onto when painting in layers and when blending repeatedly.


For the pastelist using hard pastels, soft pastels, oil pastels, and pastel pencils, use our Pastelbord which was designed with all these qualities in mind. In addition, try using water soluble pastels because Pastelbord can be used wet or dry without the fear of curling or buckling. Pastels must always be framed behind glass because when they are sprayed with a fixative, the colors can be made to appear dark and dull.

Pastelbord™ is a clay and gesso coated hardboard panel with a granular marble dust finish comparable to a sanded pastel paper except more durable and more versatile. It can be used with wet or dry traditional pastel techniques or with acrylics, and more! The coating is pH neutral and non-yellowing, making it a truly permanent museum quality surface. 

Available in Gray, Green, Sand and White and now on sale at local retailers.



All things Ampersand, 
Karyn Meyer-Berthel 
Artist & Social Media Specialist 
Ampersand Art Supply 

Click here to explore the full selection of Ampersand panels and tools.™