Friday, September 16, 2011

Back to black - pastels

Two quickie pieces done today on some black paper picked up yesterday at the Hobby Lobby in the bustling metropolis of Farmington, NM.

It was black, smooth, acid-free, 12x18" and CHEAP (50 sheets/$3.85), so what's the risk in giving it a try?  They don't carry any of the fine art black paper in pads I was looking for, so I had to settle for this:  construction paper.  Yep, the stuff kids use in elementary school to make things.

Mesa Skies
9x12 inches
I used my #220 sandpaper on it, and the resultant texture was much rougher than the Strathmore black papers.  If not for the fact it is probably not lightfast and it's not quite as thick as the Strathmore, I'd be content using it.  Not that the lightfast issue really matters that much since so little of the paper shows.

Towards Barnroof Point
9x12 inches
Both based on photos, with the goal to work quickly and keep things loose and stick to massed shapes. This paper is really good for that, actually - much better than the colored Strathmore charcoal paper I've been using recently.

I really dislike the blue for the cliff shadows in the second painting, but I just didn't have the right shade of gray I needed.   Despite their shortcomings, they were satisfying to produce.

Coincidentally, the local art supply store finally came through with the pad of black Artagain I ordered over 2 weeks ago, so now I can go back to that for my black paper fixes.


  1. I love that you did these, and that the paper is an oddity. I am not well-versed on the issues, but sometimes acid free is not necessarily archival. Hmm - makes me want to delve into the issue just for the growth.

    You also make me want to do some works on black, too. I

    BTW, I found small wooden boxes for really tiny pastel kits at Hobby Lobby.

  2. Thanks, Casey - I'm always up for trying something new, material-wise. You're right about the acid-free vs. archival thing (and I'm quite sure this paper is not archival), but y'know...impermanence isn't such a bad thing, and I'm not sure these are meant to last even as long as the paper would ;).

    I have some Somerset Black Velvet printmaking paper that I will try for a "keeper" painting; I bet you would love working on black paper, and I know it would be a great match with your style and palette.

  3. Love the Mesa Skies painting -- it fits today's somber mood. I need to attend a funeral. A coworker's husband died at age 56. Sad day.

  4. Hi LeAnn - I'm glad you like Mesa Skies, and I'm sorry to hear of your plans today.

  5. These pastels are so full of energy, Sonya. I really enjoy looking at them. Maybe, I'll have to prep some black canvas! Have been working with red and magenta underpainting... black would be interesting. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Thanks, Diane; I appreciate your comments, and I'm delighted that the use of a black surface has inspired you :).

    Funny, I haven't done any oils on black canvas, but seeing how well it works for Karin Jurick, I'm going to try it at some point. I'm guessing it has somewhat of the same optical effect that happens with the pastels.

  7. I love "Towards Barnroof Point", it really conveys how big the cliff is, and it is so very "Durango"!

  8. Thanks, Sarah - you're no doubt the only one reading this who has even seen it and knows its scale and very localized topography :).


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