Art Spectrum Colourfix Smooth Paper
What is it?
I’ll allow the manufacturer, Art Spectrum, to explain:
“Art Spectrum® Colourfix™ Smooth is a new addition to the Colourfix™ range of papers and pastels. Manufactured by screen printing Colourfix™ Smooth Primer onto European Archival 300gsm Hot Pressed watercolour paper making 340gsm pastel paper.
The Colourfix™ Smooth texture is ideal for pastel artists who are looking for a not so toothy surface. The surface still has enough soft tooth to enable the pastel artist to do multiple layers of pastel. Colourfix™ Smooth comes in the full range of 20 colours, along with Rainbow packs in 23 x 30cm (9” x 12”), and the Cool and Warm packs in 23 x 30cm (9” x 12”) size, the same as Art Spectrum® Colourfix™ Original Texture. Colourfix™ Smooth is a versatile surface that can be used for pastels, oil colours, acrylics, inks, oil pastels, gouache, watercolours and dry media such as charcoal and pencils. 10 sheets per pack.”
How much does it cost?
Obviously cost will vary between suppliers but here is an indication of the cost in Australia:
230 x 300mm (around $17.00 for a pack of 10 sheets)
700 x 500mm (around $6.00 a sheet)
What is it like to use?
In general I have always used Canson Mi-Tientes paper for my pastel work. I prefer to use the smooth side of the sheet rather that the rougher textured side. Many years back I tried the Art Spectrum Colourfix Original but I found the texture too rough for the way that I work and I wasn’t that happy with the results. Hence I went back to the Canson paper.
I knew that Colourfix Smooth had been released and it was on my “things to try” list but somehow I never actually got around to trying it. You know how it is. Anyway, I have had opportunity to use the Colourfix Smooth and I though that I would give you my general impressions.
- I love the feel of the paper. It is of a good weight so it doesn’t feel flimsy.
- It comes in a great variety of colours (20 in all). It also comes in white and clear which you can use as it is or can be tinted to the desired colour.
- The surface itself is really nice to work on. It is not too toothy but it still holds multiple layers of pastel easily.
- Because of the tooth, I found that new layers of pastel adhere well and were not muddied by previous layers.
- The tooth is not so pronounced that it is hard to blend. To the contrary, I found that it was easy to blend either with my fingers (my preference) or a soft brush.
- It is versatile as it can be used with a variety of mediums, not just pastel.
- One thing that I immediately noticed and liked is how forgiving the surface is. It erases very cleanly and without damaging the paper surface. I was able to remove mistakes and take layers back to the original paper with no problems.
This is the first trial that I did using the paper (this was a black background, something that I would not ordinarily use):
Should I use it?
Choice of surface is a very personal thing. For example, I did not like the texture of the Colourfix Original but I know other artists who absolutely love it. Art Spectrum also do a Supertooth version so there are artist out there who obviously really want a very rough, toothy texture. So my answer would be to give it a go and see how you like it. As artists we are individuals and our choice of mediums and surfaces reflect that. Oftentimes trying a different approach, medium or painting surface opens up new creative opportunities for us.
As for me, I can say with absolute certainty that this is now going to be my paper of choice. I LOVE IT! After I used it I went back to the Canson just to compare it and it just did not feel right. Does anyone want to buy some Canson paper? No offence to meant to Canson as I’ve used their paper for many years. But the fact is that from my perspective Colourfix Smooth is a superior surface. Art Spectrum have made a fabulous product and I look forward to continuing to use it. My only regret is that I didn’t try the Colourfix Smooth earlier!
It is worth noting that Art Spectrum have also recently released Colourfix Smooth Primer which can be applied to almost any surface. It comes in the same 20 colours as the papers. I haven’t tried it yet but I’m looking forward to doing so. The ability to apply a primer to any surface and also to be able to tint it to suit a particular painting is very appealing. When I finally get around to using it then I’ll post a review.
If you want to know more then head over to the Art Spectrum website – http://www.artspectrum.com.au. There you will find product sheets, colour charts and other relevant information.
By the way, if you are a pastel artist then I can highly recommend Art Spectrum Soft Pastels. I have been using them for years. They have a great colour range and are top quality.