Thursday, April 7, 2011
"CACTUS GARDEN" 16" X 20" Mixed Media
Jean Ranstrom, an amazing artist and instructor. It uses a method often employed by the early impressionists such as Degas. It involves steaming the various layers of pastel, letting each layer dry, then adding another layer. You start with the lighter colors (the opposite of traditional pastel layering). This was done using a Frederick's Watercolor Canvas Board- a sturdy surface and able to handle the steaming process. A primer with grit such as pumice or marble dust is applied in two layers so that the canvas will hold the pastel. Art Spectrum makes a fine tooth Colourfix Primer in a few colors as well as "Clear" which is what I used. For steam we used a clothes steamer in the workshop, but at home I've used a big pot of boiling water and "waved" the canvas art side down 2-3 times over the steam at a height of about 12 inches. You don't want it to get too wet. Be sure to let it dry thoroughly after each steaming. At the finish of the painting you can spray a light varnish on it and you're done. I put a frame around it, but there is no need for glass as with traditional pastel painting. The multiple steaming "treatments" adhere the pastel to the surface, and if done properly there's no pastel dust to fall off. I really enjoyed this process. The steam does darken the colors, but going slowly with color application and "feeling your way" with materials helps to control the results.
Posted by Carol Flatt