Friday, March 14, 2008

Paper Chase - Part Two

The Little Flat File Behind the Studio Refrigerator

As promised, paper will be our five pointers subject again this Friday.

1. Storage of paper is always a big issue for artists, who need to have as much on hand as possible/practical for when the creative tide rolls. I choose to use wooden flat files, although metal ones can probably be found at used office furniture outlets. Spokane must have a dozen of those places!

Consider that your biggest sheets will probably be @ 40" on the long side, so my flat file is @ 45" x 36", and consists of a five drawer stack, with a three drawer stack on top of that. Add a base and a top piece to complete it. I went with the unfinished model, and here five or six years hence it still isn't finished!

2. There is no single right way to organize your paper, of course! I go with a division of finished works that are waiting to be framed in the bottom two drawers, with Glassine interleaving so that I may stack originals, and the remaining drawers are by brand. In addition, I keep cut or scrap paper in the top drawer.

Since my framing process goes in fits and spurts, I added a small wooden flat file to store finished, small works. It measures 21" x 15", with five drawers. Very handy.

3. Brands of paper are always a favorite technical subject among pastelists. I consider the brand/type of paper I use to be more important to my painting than the pastel brand. I may do an extended review of my brands of paper used, but for now I'll just list them.

Number one on the hit parade of paper, for me, is Sennelier La Carte. The reason is that it suits my mark style, especially scumbling in broad layers.

Also great for sanded ground is Wallis. Kitty's paper doesn't do the subtle touch that the La Carte does for me, but I will admit that the possibilities for Wallis are endless. This paper is universally known for its "bulletproof" properties. I recently experimented with extreme reducing of layers, and made a dreamy sky this way. Another aspect of Wallis is that it offers awesome possibilities for all types of pencil work. If I wish to try a detail oriented pastel, this is my first choice.

A lightly sanded covering hand applied on Rives BFK paper is what Diane Townsend offers. For some reason, I value it more for erasing, burnishing and otherwise abusing. My greatest successes with abstraction are with Townsend Pastel Paper. On the other hand, I have less success with anything detailed on her paper. Two paintings did succeed with a level of detail, and I think a lighter hand and a firm plan may be the pathway, there.

Pastelbord has given me some wonderful drawing opportunities, but I have less luck with paintings on it. Try, try again, I guess will apply there!

As far as non-sanded papers are concerned, I have enjoyed many different ones without arriving at a true favorite. Perhaps Rives BFK heavyweight is what I reach for first when I want some white to show through, or when I'm in a Wolf Kahn Project mood. I also use Amalfi and Arches Aquarelle, but I mostly skip the machine laid stuff.

4. Don't forget that there are other pathways for choosing paper. They include building your own textured ground on board, and also the use of smooth papers like vellum or drafting film. Some adventurous souls will make their own paper from scratch!

5. And, finally, don't miss Katherine Tyrrell's blog about pastel supports here and here.

Just remember, pastel artists, keep yer' paper dry and yer' watermarks up!

Bonus Link:

David Patterson is a Washington state guy who is something of a renaissance man. He does art glass, pastels, photography, etc. But his day job is in aerospace!

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