I worked on this quite a bit yesterday but it doesn't look like it here. Pastelmat is much like ColorFix in that you sort of have to fill up some tooth before you can start to blend. The PastelMat color I'm using is white and the dog is actually mostly white even though she's a Yellow Lab. But, I can't really use the white of the paper like in watercolor. I need to lay down the white base in order to get the shading done later.
Getting a good base down is sort of slow going with pastel pencils. I ordered some of the Jack Richeson square semi-hard pastel sticks and hope they arrive soon. I'm hoping they'll bridge the gap between the pencils and soft pastels.
These Richeson sticks are much like the PrismaColor NuPastels except that they're supposed to be much more lightfast and archival. I've heard that the NuPastels fade very, very quickly so I've never been tempted to use them but a lightfast stick would have a definite place in my studio. So, I can't wait to receive them and may wait until they arrive before working more on this portrait.
One of the problems I'm having with this portrait is trying to erase the sketch lines. I normally make a sketch on inexpensive paper then trace my sketch onto the good paper. Then I erase the lines as I go if necessary. I don't know whether it's the white color of the PastelMat or the texture of it, but the lines are not erasing this time. I've used a kneaded eraser, a stick eraser and a gum eraser and the lines remain. They also don't cover well with the pastel. I'm out of workable fixative but think I need to go get some to seal these pencil lines. The lines aren't deep - it's not as if they're impressed or anything so I don't know how to deal with them at this point.
Still, I do like working on the Pastelmat and would buy it again, I think. I bought 4 sample pieces that are about 14 by 20 inches and think by the time I've used those, I'll have a good idea of the best way for me to work on this support.
I'll keep you posted!