Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Pastelbord loves me... it loves me not.

Ah the joys of Pastelbord, it’s a nice support, it doesn’t require glass for framing, it comes in a variety of coloured grounds to save artists some of the value work and, really, who wouldn’t feel just a little hoity- toity drawing on something that’s made with ground marble. I mean it just sounds fancy.

That said, the stuff is driving me nuts. My love/ hate relationship with this particular support is going on much longer than I had hoped. Take, for instance, my first few experiences working with Colourfix. At first I really didn’t care for it at all and then after doing a few pieces on it I’ve not only fallen in love with working on it but I daresay I’ve become horribly addicted to working on it (although not for everything). Colourfix grew on me much the way that nice little vine- type plants like Morning Glories grow on trellises. Pastelbord, on the other hand, is growing on me in the same way that mold grows on bread that’s gotten too old.

My biggest qualms with it are that I’m an artist that works in sections rather than from left to right or top to bottom. This means that at any given time I may need to rest my arm or hand over a section of my work and with Pastelbord I find that when I do this I’m lifting off not just a small portion of my work but a whole clump of it in a puffy coloured pencil cloud. It’s ticking me off to say the least. I’m also finding that, unlike Colourfix, I can get quite a few layers down but not oodles of layers. Oh, and by the way, here’s where my Scottsdale rider is so far:

Scottsdale Western Rider
11x14, coloured pencil on Pastelbord
Copyright Rita Woodburne

With all my frustration with Pastelbord you’d think I’d have given up already but alas, not so. Why? Because I’m really, and I mean really, stubborn. That and after having several pieces of glass break en route to art fairs I’m really keen on being able to frame something without glass. I hate that shuffling, scratching, clinking noise that you get when unpacking art that has broken glass.

So here’s my appeal to artists that use Pastelbord on a regular basis:
How do you get around pigment lifting off the surface aside from being really, really careful? Fixative? Mylar/ vellum sheet? Voodoo magic? .... or are you just really, really careful? Also, is there a trick to getting lots and lots of layers down the same way you can with Colourfix?

I feel like I’m missing something here, some kind of trick to working on it and like I mentioned before, I’m stubborn so I’m not about to give up anytime soon.


Jennifer Rose said...

I have wanted to try this support since the first time I heard about it, but you can't get it here (at least I don't think I can). But maybe I will pass as I do the same thing as you do, working on sections. So hopefully someone has suggestions to help with the problem :)

Ann said...

Rita, I love working on pastel board but I probably work a little differently than you do. I do maybe three or four layers, tops, most areas less than that. Sometimes I smoosh the first layer into the board with a brush. Also I usually work top left to bottom right for the most part then go back over the entire piece to make final adjustments. When I need to I will place tracing paper under my hand to keep from smudging already worked areas. It's also fun to do an underpainting with a water soluble media and then a couple of dry cp layers over top. Does this help?
It looks like you have a great start on this one!

Rita said...

Jennifer- I think it would be worth trying out at least once, if for no other reason than just to say you did. :p
I'm just finding that with my working style it's really not co-operating with me, but surely there's a way around that problem.

Ann- Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. I'll try placing a sheet under my arm so as not to lift the cp's off. I think I just need to keep experimenting...

Lisa B. said...

You might try blending with solvent as an under painting, and then one or two layers of dry pencil over that... otherwise, I think tracing/glassine paper under your hand is probably your best bet.

Nothing wrong with using a support you like, either. The best thing about beating your head against the wall is that it feels so good when you stop. ;D

Rita said...

Thanks for the ideas Lisa! And yes, there may only be a few more head poundings left. ;)
I have a few more pieces of pastelbord left and if I haven't found a way to work on them that I like by the time I've used them up then that'll be my signal that it was just never meant to be.