Pastelmat paper by Clairefontaine isn’t new to the market but it’s fair to say that I’m late to the party! During my long artistic career I’ve tried many different types of paper. Being a pet portrait artist my main requirement of a pastel paper was that it could produce realistic looking fur. Many pastel papers left me disappointed, apart from Hahnemuhle Velour Pastel Paper which I had used for over 20 years. Whilst it produced realistic looking fur I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t popular with all pastel users as it wasn’t very forgiving of mistakes and wasn’t the easiest to handle. So how did I come to start using Pastelmat paper by Clairefontaine?
My Introduction to Pastelmat Paper
In the last 12 months or so I joined a few Facebook groups for pastel artists. I noticed a lot of chatter about Clairefontaine pastel paper and some people shared examples of their work using this paper. Judging a paper from a highly compressed image that has been uploaded to Facebook perhaps isn’t ideal but there was enough for me to be intrigued. I decided to order a few sheets myself and give it a try.
Pastelmat Paper Sizes
Pastelmat paper comes in pads and a range of sheet sizes. They also do pastelmat board but I’ve not used this yet. The pad sizes are 30 x 40 cm and are 360gsm or 170lb thickness. There are four colours for the pads, three sheets of each colour. There is also a glassine sheet between each sheet to protect your work. What about the single sheets of Pastelmat paper? Well they are also 360gsm and looking at various retailers they seem to come in the following sizes:
- 18 x 24cm
- 24 x 32cm
- 30 x 40cm
- 50 x 70cm
Personally I buy the 50 x 70cm sheets and cut them to the size I want.
Pastelmat paper also comes in a range of colours as follows:
- Light Blue
- Dark Blue
- Light Green
- Dark Green
- Light Grey
- Dark Gray
I found that my pastels show differently on each colour of paper. For my pet portraits I’ve found the light grey and light blue colours work well. I think if I was a landscape painter I might prefer the sand, brown colours or even dark grey. I have actually seen some lovely dog portraits using the sand and brown colour so I’m keen to try these in the near future.
Working on this pastel paper is a completely different experience to drawing on velour. With this paper you can use Pastel sticks of any brand, you can use brushes, sponges, water colour paint and acrylic. I have seen some artists do a watercolour under painting to get tones and values down and then do the detail with pastels and pastel pencils. I have even seen artists use colour pencils, not a pastel in site!
I put my base colours down using Pan Pastels. These are round palettes of compact pastels that you can lift the pastel off with brushes, sponges, or little applicators that have soft sponge tips which are great for getting small detail. It almost feels like I am using paint! I can get a soft painterly affect using the sponge applicators on this pastelmat paper.
Framing this paper is easy too. You can frame under glass with the glass directly on top of the portrait or you can use a mount. A single mount is fine because there is no need to worry about any pastel shedding, which is often the case with other pastel papers where a channel mount is recommended.
What about you? Are you a fan of Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper? If so what do you like about it and what sort of subjects are you usually drawing or painting? Feel free to comment, even if it’s to suggest another type of paper you think my readers might like to try.
If you want to find out more about Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper including the current price you can check out the following websites: