When I work alone, it can be like dabbling with a canvas. Maybe you paint over bits, and it starts to form its own life and lead you off in a direction. It becomes an intuitive, subconscious process.” ~ Lindsey Buckingham
With so many pastel products available it’s almost impossible to choose a standard combination of pastel stick and surface with which to work. Each paper’s surface is different and holds pastel in its own unique way. At the last meeting of the Pastel Society of Southeast Texas we had the chance to dabble on four different surfaces (UArt, Wallis, Sennelier and Canson). Four easels were set up, each with a different surface and a variety of different pastel sticks. Then we had a “paint around” where groups of four people simultaneously work at one of the easels for 4 minutes; at the end of which time the next group paints for 4 minutes. When all groups have painted the first group starts again but at the next easel to the left and the rotation continues with each rotation time reduced so that by the last rotation you only have about 1 minute to work on the last painting. It was a lot of fun and made me realize, first, how shy I am to paint ‘on stage’, second, how different the surfaces can be ,and, third, just how wonderfully creamy and soft some pastel sticks can feel. I believe that for fine work Canson paper is good, Wallis paper is one of my personal favorites and that the UArt surface can actually be mastered. Since I only had less than 1 minute to dabble on the Sennelier paper I really can’t say how I feel about it. Luck was with me though and my name was chosen to have first pick of the final paintings. I chose the landscape done on the Sennelier paper – maybe now I can really dabble and put a few finishing touches to the colorful little landscape my fellow pastelists created!