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Three Pears: pastel on cheesecloth board 8x8 inches

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Minor ill-health these past few days leaves me somewhat lacking in interest. While casually trawling search engines for pastel articles, I found someone using cheesecloth as a ground for pastel-painting. There were other unusual materials as well, but with only enough energy to tackle one I picked this to try out.

The cheesecloth fragment has been mounted on a blank board, using acrylic polymer medium and some gel gloss. Matte gloss would be better but I haven't got any. Once dry, the cloth is coated with clear gesso to provide extra tooth....even though the cloth is actually quite rough, it is surprising how some extra tooth aids the pastel particles.

I began the pastel work directly with soft pastels, rather than harder ones. These conference pears are not especially colourful but are nicely mottled, which seemed to work well with the cheesecloth. Once a layer of pastel was on, I used a technique from Bill Creevy's Pastel Painting book.....spraying the work with diluted acrylic polymer medium. This tends to dissolve the pastel somewhat but dries quite quickly, allowing further colour to be added quite soon after. It acts as a fixative.

The final layer of pastel was fixed with a normal fixing spray.

The final effect was rather subtle, bearing in mind that the pears were a rather dull cool green with browny-gold mottling. The cloth was interesting to work on, certainly providing a rough surface. The surrounding board is painted white (though it's a bit grubby in this photo due to handling). For framing I'll have to think carefully because an ordinary mountboard isn't suitable due to the board weight.

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