Q: What is your favorite thing about creating on sandpaper? (Cassandra Alvarado Oliphant via Instagram)February 1, 2020
A: Undoubtedly, I could not make my work without UART sandpaper since my entire pastel technique evolved around it. I use 400 and 500 grit. My favorite thing about it is its ‘tooth’ (i.e. texture or roughness).
Over the many months I spend creating a painting, I build layer upon layer of soft pastel. Because this paper is relatively “toothy,” it accepts all of the pastel the painting needs. And as many people know, I own and use thousands of soft pastels!
Many layers of soft pastel and several months of studio time go into creating each painting. My self-invented technique is analogous to the glazing techniques used by the Old Masters, who slowly built up layers of thin oil paint to achieve a high degree of finish. Colors were not only mixed physically, but optically.
Similarly, I gradually build up layers of soft pastel, as many as thirty, to create a pastel painting. After applying a color, I blend it with my fingers and push it into the sandpaper’s tooth. It mixes with the color beneath to create a new color, continually adding richness, saturation, and intensity to the piece. By the time a pastel painting is finished, the colors are bold, vibrant, and exciting.
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