Friday, December 21, 2007

Art Materials - Part 2

The other new surface I have been using this year is Pastelbord.
I use Ampersand Pastelbord which is described as "a clay and gesso hardboard panel with a granular marble dust finish"
The pastelbord is available in four colours, sand, grey, green and white. I ordered samples of all four colours although up to now I have only worked on the sand one.
The Ampersand website shows the four colours and gives much more information on the product, including the diversity of media you can use on it.

What I want to do, is let you know what my experience of working with it has been.
The first thing I tried was a cheetah on one of the smaller panels, I used coloured pencil and some acrylic. Although it is desribed as being similar to working on sanded paper, I found that initially it was harder to work with because of its inflexibility.

Once I had adapted my working method things became much easier.
I used more pressure with the pencil, certainly on the early layers a soft touch is not required, but you can continue to add layer after layer.
I was also not successful in adding acrylic staight onto the surface, it was too rough for me to get a fine line. I did however successfully add touches of acrylic on top of the pencil.
For the background I blended the colours using the solvent 'Zest it', this worked really well.
Once finished I had no need to frame under glass, I simply varnished it.

Around the time I was starting a new painting I saw a couple of artists using Neocolor ll combined with coloured pencil on pastelbord and liked the effect they were able to get.
The Neocolor ll are made by Caran D'Ache and are a watersoluble stick of pigment.
I added these to the background and the fur of 'Shred' and liked how easy they were to work with.
Shred was the painting I was working on whilst demonstrating at the NEC, and people were amazed at the effect you could get with coloured pencils.

Again I used touches of acrylic to bring out a few highlights.
I will continue to use Pastelbord, I like the finished effect and the fact that you can frame without glass. It is vastly different from working on drafting film and the end result is different, so I would look at what I wanted the final resultto be in order to decide which surface to use.
The one draw back is that I have to order the Pastelbord from America, I have yet to find a supplier based in Europe.
To be continued............

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Art Materials - Part 1

I have found that people are curious about the supports I use for my work, in particular Drafting Film and Pastelbord. So I have decided to include a page on my website giving more information on the materials I use, but I thought I'd also do a blog post.
Although I have tried out many supports over the past few years I return to the same favourites:-
Arches Hot Press Watercolour paper or Mellotex for graphite
Polydraw Drafting Film for coloured pencil, or mixed media including acrylic
Ampersand Pastelbord for coloured pencil including Neocolor ll

Drafting Film, I use Polydraw double matt, 75 micron sheets. Polydraw is by West and is available as sheets or in rolls. It is described as a polyester drafting film with a high degree of dimensional stability.
I find its exceptionally smooth surface ideal for the detail I want to be able to produce. A sharp pencil point lasts for a long time on this surface. I can also easily airbrush acrylic backgrounds to produce a wonderful soft focus effect.
The one thing that you can't do on this surface is use a lot of layering, I've found 3 or 4 layers is about as many as I can manage.
If you make a mistake on Polydraw it is easy to correct, simply dampen the area and wipe off. I have even removed an airbrushed background, although that wasn't quite as easy.
I believe that an equivalent to Polydraw in the US and Canada is Mylar, and I know many artists use Mylar to great effect.
Here are a couple of examples of my work on drafting film. I have airbrushed all the background in the Rough Collie painting, in real life you can see how this pushes the subject forward.
In the Norwegian Forest Cat painting I have done the background entirely in coloured pencil, again a subtle effect but much more time consuming.

To be continued.....................