I have heard a bit about pastel ground but wasn't really sure if I needed it. I'm currently working on a couple of large-ish canvases and thought it might be just what I need to make some marks on the painted surfaces. So I picked some up yesterday.
I wanted to try on similar colours to the canvases I'm working on so I prepared these two pieces of cut up granola bar boxes with half black and half white gesso, before adding light and dark blue paint. I didn't take a pic of the gesso, but the paint is thin enough you can see the difference.
After that was dry, I opened up the jar:
Even though the jar says it is very translucent and matte finish there is no way I would put something like this on my canvas in progress without testing it - it looks like the grit hand-wash my Dad used to use to get grease off his hands after working on machinery all day.
But, there was no need to worry - here's what it looked like after I had applied a thin coating:
This is before it dried. You can tell a bit that the right hand side has the ground on it, but once it was dry it was difficult to tell. But you can feel it - it does have a very fine grit to the surface.
I tried a bunch of different media on both cards. Lyra Color Giants, Neocolour II by Caran D'Ache, Derwent Inktense Blocks, Derwent Inktense Pencils, regular graphite pencil, China Marker, Uniball Signo white pen.
Here is what the dark card looked like:
The ground is on the bottom half. Definitely more vibrancy for the Inktense pencils, Inktense blocks, the Lyra Color Giants (both of which barely show in the top part). Very little difference for the china marker, white pen and graphite pencil, and Neocolour IIs.
It was a similar story for the lighter piece. I will say that the pastels and pencils are less likely to smudge on the ground, which is also good (unless you want to smudge). The difference is less dramatic on the lighter background as the bright colours didn't absorb as much here as they did with the darker background.
I hope you've enjoyed this post - I'm looking forward to trying this out on canvas next!