Sunday, 15 January 2012


Thought I would give you a "new product" report and recommendation.

 Canson, the maker of the well-known and popular Canson Mi-Teinte pastel papers, have now produced this new surface which can be used for pastel, oil pastel, pencil, charcoal and acrylics.  It has a thinly sanded surface, which feels smooth with a slight texture, but will not shred your fingers like regular sandpaper!  Every sheet and board has a white “margin”, useful for framing purposes. You can even use the reverse side of the sheet if you are unhappy with your efforts on the sanded side!

I paint often with pastels, so I tried the paper out while wearing my pastellist's beret.

Most pastel painters like the ability to layer with different colours in order to achieve rich effects.  I found that layering is fine up to about 4-5 layers*(see tip below), without the use of fixative. A burst of fix at this point would allow me further layers - I recommend Spectrafix as a fixative, it is not only excellent,  it is also, unlike virtually all other fixatives, non-toxic (more in another blog post). 

You can use watermedia on this surface -  watercolours, gouache or ink -  to prepare an “underpainting” for pastels, which I have demonstrated above. 

   my demo sheet  is the Steel Grey card - it shows purple and green watercolour washes loosely applied to the surface, with a covering of pastel, using side strokes, lines, broken colour and blending.  There are faint brown lines under the pastel and the watercolour washes…these were drawn using a waterproof Indian ink artist pen with a soft “brush” tip – these lines cover easily with pastel because of the abrasive surface. I find these kinds of pens useful for initial drawing under pastel, since unlike charcoal, they will not lift or affect subsequent application of colour.

  I worked these demo pieces on the 355 gsm sheets …which did buckle VERY slightly when I used very wet washes, but it was nothing to worry about as it flattened down as it dried.  However,  there will be much more substantial, larger, boards available, 1255 gsm - which will stay completely flat even with a watermedia applied.  These are marvellous – I have found nothing like them on the market.  Previously if I have wanted to work with lots of water for an underpainting, I have had to secure my sheets down onto board…all this work is done for you with these terrific boards.  £9.90 (UK)  may seem expensive when compared to the price of a sheet of paper…but the boards cannot actually be compared to paper, they are far more versatile than paper, they are a quality product, to be compared to a good quality canvas.

I like to use harder pastels to begin with, working towards softer pastels for the “upper layers”, so that I don't  fill the tooth of the paper too quickly.  The surface is excellent for fine lines, for x-hatching and other textural marks, for blending of colours, and for layering with side strokes. 

Given the super colours, and the different sizes of pads, card and board, this product is a first-class addition to an artist’s arsenal of materials.  I have long been a fan of Canson Mi Teinte papers, and I will most certainly be using Canson Mi Teinte Touch for my own work, for both pastels, and for acrylics.   I really enjoyed painting “ATHABASCA FALLS (Canada)”, shown large above,  on Dark Grey Mi Teinte Touch card, working swiftly and freely with both hard and soft pastels, without any preliminary drawing or underpainting, to recreate my memory of the dramatic rushing water vigorously tumbling over the rocks towards shadowy blue depths.

Colour range: black, dark grey, steel grey, flannel grey, indigo blue, light blue, sky grey, twilight ( a soft grey-purple) wineless (maroon) tobacco, sepia, sand, cream, white.
Card weight 355 gsm  size 50x65cm    
Board weight 1255 gsm  size 50x70cm  
Size 24x32  - 12 sheets card  black, d grey, steel grey, tobacco, sand, cream 
Size A3 – 12 sheets card as above.
I have not listed prices, because these will vary depending on your location.  

Here are the available colours:

Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 black, board
black 425 
Ref. 200005925
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 dark grey, board
dark grey 345 
Ref. 200005926
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 flannel grey, board
flannel grey 122 
Ref. 200005928
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 light blue, board
light blue 490 
Ref. 200005930
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 twilight, board
twilight 131 
Ref. 200005932
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 tobacco, board
tobacco 501 
Ref. 200005944
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 sand, board
sand 336 
Ref. 200005946
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 white, board
white 335 
Ref. 200005948
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 steel grey, board
steel grey 431 
Ref. 200005927
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 indigo blue, board
indigo blue 140 
Ref. 200005929
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 sky grey, board
sky grey 354 
Ref. 200005931
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 wineless, board
wineless 503 
Ref. 200005933
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 sepia, board
sepia 133 
Ref. 200005945
Canson Mi-Teintes Touch sanded texture 20x30 cream, board
cream 407 
Ref. 200005947

It's a terrific product, which I highly recommend.


 I would say at this point, about layering........ I did read somewhere of someone using vast numbers of layers on this surface, but I personally rarely use more than 4 or so layers, I don't see the point, seems such a waste of pastel!  Degas would use layers, but the layers allowed previous marks to show through and add vitality to the colour;  too many layers will defeat the purpose and may even deaden the colour.  My advice would be.......if you find yourself using multiple layers in order to HIDE previous incorrect tones or colours or shapes -STOP- simply take a stiff brush and brush off the offending area, and repaint it!  


  1. Thanks for this Jackie! I have a friend that just mentioned the Canson Touch and had not even heard of it. I guess I have not been buying new supplies lately. Anyway, I can't wait to try it.

  2. Thanks for a great review of this new product. I'm looking forward to testing mine in person, have some review sheets but got slowed down by health problems before I could do a good test painting. Very cool you included swatches of the colors. I think that soft violet "Twilight" is going to be a joy to work with, may have to try it and do some loose landscapes on it.

  3. Thanks for an excellent review of this new product....definately going to pick some up next time I'm at my art supply store!


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