So I got out a 16x20 canvas I had, covered it with gesso toned with a little burnt siena and decided to try an acrylic. Never having taken any lessons in acrylic I still feel like I'm just futzing around with it, but even so I was happier with what I was getting than I was on the Canson board with pastel.
I've reached this logical stopping point with it right now, and tomorrow I have my monthly art critique so I'll be brave and bring it to that and see what advice I get on where to go next.
Meanwhile, here for fun, is what my Canson board with pastel on it looks like. Quite a sow's ear. I doubt there is a silk purse hiding in there anywhere. So are these boards good for anything? I can't even recall why I have them. I might still try this in pastel again though, on sanded paper!