Sunday, April 17, 2016

Paper Review: Shizen Design Pastel Paper




Pkg of 25




Typically when I buy paper, I use it for multiple purposes. Here's the results of my attempts to use this Shizen pastel paper:

First, for pastels, this paper does not work for hard or semi-hard pastels at all! They scrap off the top surface of the paper. Furthermore, if you try to blend harder pastels, it also tears up the paper. I then used some buttery soft pastels and that was okay, but again, I couldn't blend the way I like to, which is with my finger. In addition, the paper does not hold very many layers of pastels at all and you cannot spread the pastel around the paper at all.

Secondly, I love to use pastel paper with my soft, buttery colored pencils. This paper does not handle pencils at all. You cannot blend on the paper well, it tears it up. The pencils, yes, even the soft, buttery ones, literally scrap off the top coat of paper.

Then I went onto Inktense and Neocolor II just to see what would happen. This paper did not handle water well at all!! After getting the colors wet, the colors would not spread and blend like on every other kind of paper I've ever used them on and the paper literally buckled. So, nothing with water should be used on this paper.

Finally, I got out my pastel powders, the equivalent to pan pastels. They worked nicely enough, but again, using anything else on the paper, like your finger or a blender, messes up the paper, and it does not take but a couple of layers of pastel before the tooth of the paper is all filled up.

In my opinion, this paper is not worth the money. I like my paper to be multi-purpose, and I've always used colored pencils on pastel paper because I love the texture. The only thing I'd remotely think of using on this paper is maybe super soft pastels and pan pastels, but even those have limited use on this paper. Blending and multiple layers of pastels are nearly impossible. For paper that is so thick, it sure is very fragile and not very useful.

I am sad because I was looking forward to playing with yet another brand of paper. I heard that this company also makes watercolor paper. MAYBE I'll try that, but not sure I want to throw away any more money on this company. I have heard that they make professional watercolor paper. Still not sure I want to put out the money and try it after this mess. Sorry, but I did try. The only recourse I have left to try to make this paper useful is to try acrylics on it. Haven't gotten there yet, but I will soon enough.



Note: Sorry for not having any photo examples of my experiments on this paper. My camera was still  missing at the time and I had not yet gotten my new camera.  I will take photos when I try acrylics on it.






Saturday, March 26, 2016

Update on Studio Set-up: Cubbie units for storing art magazines

Now that I have a new camera to take photos with, I can give you an update on the cubbie units for all my art magazines. I keep all my art magazines so I have literally years of magazines and I had no way of storing them. I had a wonderful friend, Helma, make me this cubbie and she did an incredible job. It's perfect! Now, all my magazines are organized by name and year, and they're easy to grab for information anytime.





Ignore the bookshelf to the left that is overloaded with art books. Yeah, I can't fit all my art book in there, so I have some stacked in front. That's another project.  And don't look at the three drawer storage unit to the right. Yet another project. One step at a time. Lol!







Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: Richeson Toned Gessoed Hardboards - Part II

Welcome to Part II of this review on Richeson Toned Gessoed Hardboards. If you haven't seen it yet, you can view the first part here. For this part of the review I decided to test out pastels on the Richeson Toned Gessoed Hardboards. For this test I used Art Spectrum, Dick Blick, and Rembrandt soft pastels. Art Spectrum is a bit on the harder side whereas Dick Blick's soft pastels are nice and buttery soft. Rembrandt is in the middle.

So for this test I simply tried to see how many layers of pastel the board could hold, and what it was like to blend the colors. I also tried different ways of removing the pastels.

I started off by laying down some Dick Blick and Rembrandt pastels. I only used three layers because I could not put anymore color on top. At that point, I was simply pushing the color around on the board, even with buttery soft pastels. Then I took my eraser and with the tip of it, I drew a heart in the middle of the pastel. Easy to do since there is really nothing to hold the pastels onto the board.




Next I used Art Spectrum pastels. These are harder pastels and they did not blend together at all! Here are three layers of colors just trying to blend with the pastel itself. Obviously not working. 



 Then I tied to blend with my finger, it was a little bit better, but not much.



 I then put down some more Dick Blick and Rembrandt pastels and tried to blend with my finger. You can see the big empty space in the middle where I just pushed the pastel off the board. 



So, bacsically, pastels, whether soft or hard, should not be used on the Richeson Toned Gessoed Hardboard.  I realize these boards were not made with pencils and pastels in mind, but I always like to try out new surfaces with everything because you never know when you'll find a real pearl in an unexpected place. Like when I started using colored pencils on pastelbord. Now that turned out to be a fantastic winner!

I keep using the same board over and over for these tests, so I had to remove the pastel to prepare for the next test. I didn't want to mess up my erasers by removing pastel, so I decided to try to wash the pastel off under the faucet. Yes, I literally ran the board under water and rubbed the surface with my fingers trying to get the color off. As you can see, the Art Spectrum really stained the surface, but it did come off after I dried the board and used the eraser. The Dick Blick and Rembrandt pastels washed off pretty well, then I used the eraser to finish them off.  If you click on the photo below you will be able to see clearly where I started erasing the pastels off the board. 
 

So, two mediums down, three more to go.

Happy Arting!




Review: Richeson Toned Gessoed Hardboard Panels - Part I

Recently I ordered several of the brand new Richeson toned gessoed hardboard panels that just hit the art stores, and yesterday they arrived. I spent last night playing around to see what these panels were really like.


Here is what the panels look like. They come in two colors: Mid Tone Gray and Umber Wash.  I ordered two 6" x 12", one of each color, and one 8" x 10" umber wash.  Dick Blick is having a special deal since these are a brand new item. You buy one size and color, say a 6" x 12" umber wash, and they give you a 6" x 12" mid tone gray for free! So I ordered three panels and I received six. Love that deal.



Note: Since my camera is still lost, I had to take these photos with my phone, and they are not very good. Unfortunately my phone does not read colors very well. I apologize for the quality.


First Impressions: 
After I got the plastic off the panel I ran my hand over it and was surprised at how amazingly smooth it felt. Remember it is a gessoed board. I expected more tooth than this.


The edges of the board are beveled, which is nice and it will fit into a frame quite nicely. It reminds me a lot of Ampersand's Hardbord, except for the beveled edges and the toned top.  Here is a close-up of the beveled edges.




Colored Pencils: 
Of course, the first medium I chose to try out on the panels was my favorite - colored pencils. I love to use my pencils on boards and panels of all types, so I was excited about trying this new board out!

I chose to just draw a simple circle. After 3-4 layers, I was just pushing color around and the tooth had completely disappeared.  Here it as, without being blended with a brush yet. I could also add light colors on top of darker colors without a problem.



So, after I blended with a bristle brush with a medium pressure. I did use hard pressure at times because the colors simply would not blend well together. As you can see below, a lot of the pigment came off rather than blending.



But there is one thing I have discovered. You can erase every last shred of colored pencil completely off the board! No sign that it was ever there. Also, if you like to use turpenoid to blend your colors, all it will do is take the pigment off the board rather than blend.




So, my conclusion for this part of the review, is that colored pencils do not work well on these boards, sadly. I was so looking forward to doing some CP paintings on these.

For the next review, I will try water color and watercolor pencils on these boards and see how they work. Then I will try acrylics and finally oils.

I hope you enjoyed this review and found it informative! Keep an eye out for the next one coming soon!

Happy Arting!