Sandrine's Gallery

Original art by Sandrine Curtiss

Blog posts November 2013

Holiday sales in my Zibbet store!!!

Holiday sales in my Zibbet store!!!


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Etsy cyber weekend sale anyone?

Etsy cyber weekend sale anyone?


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Flamingo Update

Been stalling this one.

I just don't like the paper I'm using, and so I'm not enjoying myself much. I think the paper is too rough for my style. Tough to draw on it for me. But I'll have to finish it anyway.

Pastels on Colourfix paper.




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Trying out pastel papers

As I've been enjoying using soft pastels again,

I've also decided to find the perfect pastel paper. In the past (many, many years ago) I used the usual Canson Mi-Teinte paper. I thought it was fun for sketching, and giving my paintings a lot of texture.



But, being a detail freak (I think I've mentioned this before!), I also enjoyed smooth surfaces to add lots of details. So I followed a friend's advice, and started drawing on framing mats. Afteral, they're acid free, and have a toothy surface, but they are smooth enough for pastels to blend well on them. They're also great for charcoal. I also loved that they were thicker than paper. So I did a few portraits on them and had a blast. The problem was, though, that they didn't hold very many layers of pastels. So I had to adjust my painting style, and I found that the surface held just enough pastels to get the results I wanted.



After a hiatus of about 8 years with no pastel work at all, but more art experience, I realized there were so many more choices out there.

In a previous post, I showed a new painting done on Clairefontaine Pastelmat. It was a great way to get reacquainted with soft pastels. This support is very soft. It doesn't feel like sand paper to the touch, and yet, can hold many layers of pastels. What I enjoyed the most was that when using pastel pencils, they seemed to blend in as I was applying them, making it unnecessary to use a utensil or my fingers to do the blending. I didn't need to apply very much pastel to get vibrant colors either. So the paper doesn't "eat" pastels or pastel pencils like some others do, and therefore you don't end up with a lot of pastel residue either, which is a very positive aspect of my experiment with Pastelmat paper. I worked on a 4x6" paper, and found it pretty easy to add details with the pastel pencils since I didn't have to worry about the blending. The other side of the paper feels like it's covered with some kind of waterproof coating. I haven't tried it, but it's supposed to be a good paper for underpainting washes.



After having so much fun with my sunflowers, it was time to try a new paper. I chose a piece of Art Spectrum Colourfix paper. I've never really tried painting animals with soft pastels, so I thought I'd try that on a 9x12" piece. Colourfix paper comes in many different colors. Actually, so does the Pastelmat, although not quite as many as Colourfix. The surface feels rough, very much like sand paper. It's pretty thick, and is also supposed to take wet underpaintings well.
My experience with the Colourfix paper is very different than with the Pastelmat. Because of the rougher surface, I do have to blend the pastels with my fingers. I tried with a few different tools, like a stump, and a rubber blender, but it tends to take some of the colors off, and make them look faded. I tried a cotton swab, but since the paper is so toothy, it kind of ripped the cotton off the tip. So, to me, the only way to make the colors look vibrant is to use my fingers to blend, and be very gentle, using more like a patting motion. Colourfix paper takes quite a few layers of pastels, but again, depending on how you blend them, you might end up pulling some color off the paper. I found that it's pretty rough on the pastels and pastel pencils, leaving a lot of dust. So I've been working on small areas and not blowing the powder off, but rather, patting it down when I blend the colors. I'm far from being done with this new painting, and I'm not enjoying it as much as if I'd used a piece of Pastelmat paper. The rough surface doesn't work as well for my style, and I have to work more, and be more careful. But I think it would be great for someone with a looser technique.




Stay tunned as I'll be posting new updates of this work in progress as well as new paper experiments with the Canson Touch paper and the Ampersand Pastelbord.

What's YOUR favorite pastel surface?

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Bunny and Raccoon

Here are the latest critters available for sale.

Thank you Nicke Reeves Payne for sharing the cute bunny picture.

Bunny 128 - 5x7" - SOLD


Raccoon 15 - ACEO (2.5x3.5") - SOLD



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