Pastel Ground

PASTEL GROUND (formerly Acrylic Ground for Pastels)

Pastel Ground can be used as a toothy, gritty ground for many different media, including:

Dry Media Water-based Media Oil-based Media
Soft Pastels Water-Soluble Pastels Oil Pastels
Graphite Pencils Colored Pencils Oil Sticks
Colored Chalks Pastel Pencils Paint Sticks
Charcoal Wax Crayons Ink Sticks
Powdered Charcoal Watercolor Pencils Pigment Sticks
  Acrylic Paints Oil Paints


GOLDEN Pastel Ground is a 100% acrylic medium designed to prepare surfaces for the application of pastels, charcoal and other art media where a coarse tooth is desired. It contains finely ground sand (silica) in a pure acrylic emulsion.

Pastel Ground can be applied to paper, canvas, wood or any primed support. This allows almost limitless applications for media typically confined to standard papers.



Due to the weight of the solids in Pastel Ground, it is produced very thick, and does not come ready to brush-apply. Thin 20-40% with water to desired consistency.


Apply with brush, paint-roller, spray equipment, squeegee or palette knife.

Mix up only as much as is needed for one day's work, as the solids will settle rapidly and be extremely difficult to mix back into suspension.

Surface Preparation

  • Non-absorbent surfaces should be abraded for increased adhesion. Prime with GOLDEN Gesso or other suitable primers (depending on substrate).
  • Apply one or more coats of GOLDEN Pastel Ground to achieve the desired tooth.
  • On paper, use heavier weight stock to avoid buckling.
  • Allow ground to fully dry before applying media.

Use as a Ground

For best surface adhesion, apply GOLDEN Pastel Ground over GOLDEN Gesso. It may also be applied over other GOLDEN acrylic mediums, gels, and paints for multi-media work.

Note: When used in conjunction with oil-based media, prepare support (canvas, linen, masonite, etc.) with 3 coats of GOLDEN Acrylic Gesso before applying the Pastel Ground. See this article for more information about painting oils over acrylics:

Use as a Transparent Gesso

Like GOLDEN Matte Medium, Pastel Ground can be used as a transparent gesso. Both can be applied directly to substrates. The "toothy" quality helps media to adhere, yet allows the underlying layers to remain visible.

Note: Both products dry with a whitish translucency, and multiple layers can produce a hazy effect. Test all applications prior to use.

Use as a Medium

The textural quality of Pastel Ground is similar to other GOLDEN Gels including the Pumice Gels. The grit size lies somewhere between GOLDEN Fine and Coarse Pumice Gels.

Color Additions

Pastel Ground can be blended with GOLDEN Acrylic Paints to achieve colored grounds. However, add minimal amounts of color since all additions of paint to Ground will decrease the tooth.

GOLDEN High Flow Acrylics and Fluid Acrylics blend easily into the ground without thickening the product. High Load Acrylics have the highest pigment load and therefore provide the most color in the least amount of paint.

Unless transparency is desired, select paints that are inherently opaque, such as the Pyrroles or earth colors. This will allow lower additions as well. Airbrushing thin layers of color after the ground has dried will give the strongest saturation of color to the ground without affecting the gritty surface.

Gel/Medium Additions

Adding GOLDEN Fine Pumice Gel will lower the tooth; GOLDEN Coarse Pumice Gel will increase the tooth. Experiment for varied techniques. For unusual effects, also experiment with additions of GOLDEN Micaceous Iron Oxide, Black Mica Flake, Coarse Alumina Gel and other products.


The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application.

updated: 4/26/22