Clairefontaine PastelMat Paper Review


Clairefontaine PastelMat Paper Review

Clairefontaine PastelMat Paper is made in France but found its way to Nova Scotia.  I won two sets of this brand of pastel paper with an online auction... SCORE! I have never seen this paper in any of the local art stores or have used it before and was excited to try out a new pastel surface.

Truth Or Dare: The Goat Skull & Tulip by Minaz Jantz

Truth Or Dare: The Goat Skull & Tulip 
On Clairefontaine PastelMat paper with various soft pastels

Soft pastels are one of my favorite mediums to use for painting and so I have a fine collection of various brands that I will enjoy working out on this new paper.  One of the most important parts of a pastel painting is that the surface has to deliver a gripping tooth for holding down the strokes of soft pastels. 

CLOSE-UP of Truth the Tulip by Minaz Jantz

CLOSE-UP of Truth the Tulip: 
NOTE: chunky pastel gripping the surface & 4 to 6 layers of pastel. 

LOVE this Clairefontaine PastelMat paper!

I do not use pastel sprays so it is important to have a pastel paper that grips the pigment particles while giving me the layering attributes for a painterly approach with pastel sticks. 

When I first learned to use pastels, in the 1990s there was not much offered for pastel painters. The only paper for the pastelist offered in my local town was Canson Mi-Teintes paper. It's lovely paper with many colors but the tooth is limited being more drawing, maybe two layers of pastel maximum, and the paper has one smooth side or can a textured pattern on the other side. You can read more about abstract art I created on black Canson Mi-Teintes paper.

NOTE: If you are trying out pastels for the very first time, I can recommend a cheap alternative for pastel paper: Wet Dry Black Sandpaper. Is it archival tested? ...ahhh no. I suspect this wet/dry metal sandpaper will be around LONGER than I and many generations into the future. 
I took art courses with Vancouver Art Academy and the Russian art teacher showed us how to use wet/dry metal sandpaper (9"x11") that you can buy at any local builder store but it comes mainly in one size & one color, black. For years I painted on the sanding paper for excellent results. Can check out my Pet Portrait Gallery where the  9"x11" portraits are created on the Wet/Dry Metal sandpaper. 

The pastel art process for, 'Truth or Dare: Goat Skull & Tulip':

PHOTO reference for Truth or Dare by Minaz Jantz

PHOTO Reference for Truth Or Dare

My garden has a collection of skulls that I move around juxtapose with the stages of life and death in my flowering gardens. This is not the first time this goat skull has shown up in my artwork or will it be the last time. 

Rusty Goat Skull Garden, pastel by Minaz Jantz

Rusty Goat Skull Garden: Pastel on grey Canson Mi-teintes Paper

The sketchbook helps me to work out the composition for painting...
 Truth Or Dare.

First stage of pastel painting by Minaz Jantz

Tape down the curling edges of the dark grey Clairefontaine PastelMat paper.

 In the first stages, I use pastel pencils & harder pastel brands 
to draw out the painting and scribble loosely building up color vibrations.

Pastel varieties for Truth or Dare by Minaz Jantz

I use a variety of pastel sticks as each brand gives unique qualities and color values. Pastelists can never have enough pastels as it is a medium that which color is not mixed on a palette but have to either have the exact color as a stick or have the skills to use color juxtaposed like using the impressionism & pointillist techniques to trick the eye into seeing a third color. 

  • PRO: Consistently sprayed surface nice tooth with a sandy coarse yet smooth surface. 
  • PRO: There is an assortment of colors of PastelMat so no need for underpainting. 
  • CON: PastelMat paper would not take any kind of wet medium for underpainting so rely on the color of the paper and stick with dry mediums for this paper.
  • PRO: Each sheet has a stiff backing so it will be easier for handling and for framing.
  • CON: Does require to be taped down to a flat surface because the edges will bow up.
  • PRO: Started with hard pastels for drawing with smooth lines that cover the surface evenly.
  • PRO: The tooth of paper took nicely and took up to 6 layers with the softer pastels that can typically fill up the tooth of paper very quickly. This means this paper will give me room for my impressionist build-up of colors.
  • PRO: I am very pleased with Clairefontaine PastelMat's paper and will look forward to using up my two packs.

CLOSE-UP of Dare the Goat Skeleton

I DARE you, go and try a new medium or try a new style with a new medium, go for it! Minaz

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