Uart pastel paper is a relatively new kid on the block. It is manufactured in the US by a sandpaper company. Most art papers are made by companies that specialise in products for artists, so this comes as a little surprise. But, there is no reason to think that a company that deals with woodworkers and other makers, and specialises in sandpaper, cannot produce an excellent sanded paper for pastel artists. And they did. The Uart pastel paper is a wonderful pastel paper.
I have heard many pastel artists talk about this paper, and I know it is very popular, so I thought it was high time for me to try it out. So I got myself 4 sheets from Jackson's Art Materials to have a go with.
That was a little while ago, because I decided to just use the paper as I normally would. I did not paint specific test pieces for this review. I just chose the papers when I thought they would be suitable for the next painting in my mind!
As it turned out the papers were used when I was working on my pastel painting eCourse, The Pastel Place. In this course I walk around inside my pastel paintings (yes really!) and so I used the Uart sheets to paint the locations for my course.
Uart pastel paper is different from many pastel papers because it does not come in lots of colours. There is only black and white. Well, very dark grey and beige/off white (they call it dark and light). As I usually cover the whole of my paper with many layers of pastel I don't really mind this. The original paper colour soon dissappeaers in my work, and it only plays a role in the early stages. Do note that it is not deep pitch black but a dark grey and it is not white, but a light beige.
Uart pastel paper comes in no less than 7 different grades or textures. They have numbered the grades going from extra fine 800, 600, a medium 500, 400, to a coarser 320, 280 and 240. The grading is printed on the back of the paper.
I tried the 400, 500, 600 and 800.
The difference between the 800 (very fine and soft) and the 400 (medium coarse) is obvious to the touch. The 800 grade is really very fine and good for detailed pastel work. The 400 and 600 are not very much coarser. While painting, the difference is minimal and you would only notice it with the tiniest of details. The difference in texture between the 800 and the 400 is obvious to the touch but fairly small while working with it.
To compare it with something you might already know: the texture of the mid range 500 is similar to Pastelmat or perhaps Mi-Teintes Touch.The paper has a consistent coating and is of excellent quality.
Uart is, so their website tells me, archival, lightfast and PH-neutral. Not all pastel papers can claim this so this is great to read.
It is suitable for pastel, obviously, charcoal and coloured pencil. But it can take wet media and solvents as well. So it is very suitable for mixed media!
Uart pastel paper comes in sheets, mounted boards, pads and rolls.
Pricing: A sheet of 21x27" (53x68cm) cost around $8.50 or £6.12 or €6.50. These prices are similar as comparable good quality sanded papers. Pricing varies by shop and country of course.
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This paper is hugely popular in the pastel paintig community and I cannot say anything else than that it is throgoughly deserved. The paper is great. It takes many layers of pastel yet is not too coarse. You can create fine detail as well as expressive marks. It takes multi (wet) media, is archival and ph-neutral. The texture is consistent and well made. If I have to look for negatives it would be that the paper I received was slightly curved (as it had been rolled up) which is hard to undo, but that shouldn't be a problem when taped to a drawing board, secured in a folder or framed. I would probably prefer a slightly heavier paper to avoid too much bending, and keep the painting a little more safe, but I am nitpicking.
Great paper, great quality. Great for all pastel artists whatever style you paint in.
Will it kick my favourite Colourfix Original off the first place? mmmm Not quite yet. Colourfix takes even more layers. But it comes close!
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