Surface Trial Challenge

(pssst! Be sure and check out the Studio Clean Out Sale!)

Experimenting to Find Your Style

So many different choices of surfaces to paint on! I don’t know much about other mediums, but for pastel it seems there are hundreds of possible surfaces to choose from.

Why is it important to experiment with surfaces? Two reasons: thrift and inspiration.


All artists are always looking for ways to produce their art at a lower cost. Especially those of us who are not yet confident that our attempts will result in either a saleable painting or at least one we’re proud enough of to display!

The different surfaces manufactured for pastel are not always as cost effective as we’d like even though we may really enjoy their convenience. Doesn’t it make sense, then, to try out different ones, and even try out some home made options to discover a surface that we both like and can afford?


I am inspired by rougher surfaces. How do I know? During my four year pastel journey I’ve tried out many different surfaces. Those that were rougher or more textured caused me to feel more excited and produce fresher marks and more successful paintings. I call that inspiration!

Surface Challenge

Over on Karen Margulis’ Patreon, July is the month for trying out different surfaces. So I’m joining the challenge! I’ve committed to producing at least ten paintings on at least ten different surfaces and reporting about each one. I’ll be sharing those reports here, as well. I may also share a video on my YouTube channel.

In order for the trial to truly be helpful, as many other variables as possible need to remain consistent. I’ve chosen a palette that will be used for each painting. It includes two values of red, blue, yellow and green, an orange for toning the paper, and black. (Yes, black!)

I’ve also chosen a subject that will remain consistent: my version of a Bob Burridge method of painting an abstract vase of flowers. It’s easy, fun and fast; perfect for this trial!

I began yesterday, so later today I will share the results of my first trial.

Why not join me? Even if you only try out a couple of new surfaces, you’ll still know more about what you like and don’t like when you finish. And it doesn’t matter what your medium is–it doesn’t have to be pastel.

You can post your results below (or any questions). I read every comment, and I’m interested in what you have to say.

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