New Pastels and latest Pet Portrait

'Play in Garden with Tess & Penny' By Minaz Jantz Pastel on UART sandpaper  18"x18

Over the last 10 years, I have built a collection of pastel brands and colors that are made in several countries around the world. 

My 'forever-growing collection of brands add their own unique colors and surface actions. No two pastel brands cover the various papers in the same way. Its also in the pastel artist's best interest to also experiment and find the papers to apply the pastels.

 Listed are the brands I currently have purchased and used: Rembrandt, Unison, Sennilier, Schminke, Holbein, 1930's Reeves, Henry Roche, and new Mount Vision.    

Quote from a pastel artist Richard McKinley, "...the one with the most pastels when they die, wins!" 

I recently added new sandpaper called UART as my surface for pastel painting. I am very pleased with the selection of grit surfaces for an excellent build-up of pastel textures, holding several layers of pastel, giving more depth and painterly-like surfaces rather than a drawing. I had first purchased this new paper from New York on an online store called Fineartstore.com. They were very helpful over the phone, answered my questions, and have several pastel demos on Youtube which I have featured a few in this blog article.

I had typically used a 9"x11" black sandpaper that is used for sanding wet metal surfaces. My Russian art instructor, Natalia Vetrova, had first turned me onto this surface which I fell in love with its diamond grit-grabbing pastel and layering capabilities. I went on a search to find larger sheets of it even contacting manufacturers to purchase a roll of it with no success. 

I had tried other pastel papers and each one brings its own unique result but nothing like the industrial sandpaper until I found a new American-made paper called UART. Now with UART, I can get a variety of courses to finer grit surfaces while also guaranteeing an archival quality of the paper and with its beige neutral surface, which can handle a wash of artist quality ink to create an underlying color of my choice. 

Recently, I did a big purchase of Mount Vision pastels  www.mountvisionpastels.com which are handmade in Tampa Florida. The colors and action are outstanding and the pastels are large in size. They are not crumbly but hold together well and give a bit of sparkly essence with a gritty texture from the marble dust mixed into the pastel. This type of pastel allows for mark-making on paper more durable than compared to the delicate Sennelier pastels.  I used a lot of the Mount Vision pastels within this latest painting on UART sandpaper. 

Close-up of  Mount Vision Pastels.   The brilliant pinks & crisp greens are Mount Vision as well as some of the tonal textures & shades in the dogs, etc.

Close-up of  Mount Vision Pastels. 
The brilliant pinks & crisp greens are Mount Vision as well as some of the tonal textures & shades in the dogs, etc.

The texture, colors, and surface action with Mount Vision pastels are amazing. There seems to be some grit within his pigments leaving a secure build-up of textural surfaces once applied to the paper. I also love Schimnke pastels from Germany too which I call my butter and both of these pastels allow for a painterly chunky surface which I like the final results. 

I do not use pastel sprays during or after my pastel paintings when using the UART sandpaper which holds firmly the layers of pastels without sprays. Pastel sprays do alter the color and texture of pastels but in that action sometimes it is used creatively and on some smoother papers which do not have the gripping surface that UART sandpaper offers.

This featured portrait commission of Penny & Tess was once again an enjoyable subject to paint. The original photo had these two postings intently in a garden with bright pink flowers zig-zagging in the background.  My new art collector Alyssa was allowed to select her favorite colors among all my pastel collections and it was the new Mount Vision pink pastel which was a must to add to the pet portrait she commissioned.

I make the pets realistic with an impressionist style of painting meaning layers of pastel strokes creating texture and depth with lots of layers of colors. The background is done with design concepts picking up clues in the photograph and giving the dogs a place to tell their story.

The original photo was taken by Alyssa's dad who used tricks to get  Tess & Penny to sit still while sporting a serious look of intent, focused on their cookie reward! It is hard enough to get one dog to sit still but two pets, awake & sitting together... that is amazing!

One bonus of being a painter versus a photographer is that I can do what I wish... I add the ball to the composition with their names on it featuring Schminke's metallic silver pastel which gives the ball a glow under reflected lights. 

Photography rarely picks up the realistic eye of moving dogs with lots of hair around their faces unless the flash goes off up close to their eyes which the dogs and cats hate... so as a painter of pet portraits I add in dimensional highlights allowing for the expressive eyes to show up. My signature is hiding within the pink flowers where I will be watching over their playtime!

Come Play... Minaz

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