View Full Version : URGENT: Anyone who can help, PLEASE DO!

08-05-2003, 11:46 PM
I am doing a series of 3 pastel drawings for my major artwork in school. These artworks are worth 50% of my course mark, and are due next Wednesday, the 13th August. I have to finish them TODAY to take them to get framed...

I am SO close to finishing, but suddenly I am getting some weird textures in parts of the drawings. The pastels seem to 'skip' over these areas, which appear dark, shiny and mottley. There are also lots of scratch marks which seem to have appeared recently. I have tried fixing the area and working over it, but it doesn't work.

I am using some Schminke and some Art Spectrum pastels... and the highest range fixative I could find. Its matt, re-workable fixative.

Any help at all or suggestions are greatly appreciated.


08-06-2003, 12:00 AM
Hon, there's probably some that know better than I do, but it sounds like you've got 'bloom', a term they use for colored pencils, but it's described the same way...the paper just refuses to accept anymore anything...is there any possibility that you can lightly scrape the area with a razor blade or lightly sand it??? It should then accept a new coat of pastel. Fixing it at this point just compounds the problem. Hope this helps...please let us know how it goes...I'll keep my fingers crossed for you...

08-06-2003, 12:03 AM
A pic of one of the worst parts of my artwork, which has mysteriously decided to **** itself up...

Thanks in advance for any help!


08-06-2003, 12:10 AM
Hi Squee,

I dont think its bloom. I fear you have burned (burnished) the paper. Shiney is not good. This means the paper has become too smooth for the pastel to adhere to. I see it happen when an artists uses a harder color on a hard drawing surface with no cushion. I recommend using ten sheets of newsprint under your drawing paper in the future. Also pay close attention when drawing. Some pastels are harder then others, for example red, and they will burn the paper more easially. If the pastel isnt feeling buttery then stop and inspect the paper!

My only recommendation is to try a softer pastel to cover these burned areas. Buy a Sennelier. You might spray it with a workable fixative to rebuild the texture but I have never done this myself. Maybe another member can advise you on repairing these burned areas.

Good luck,


08-06-2003, 12:17 AM
Ive just re-read your original post.

In my experience some non workable fixatives can cause a paper to burn if you try and work on top of them. Its possible that working after fixing did this. Maybe you can incorporate the lines *burns* into your design?

good luck again.


08-06-2003, 12:19 AM
per the book Pastel for the Serious beginner...says that too many layers of fixative may have a tendency to close the pores of the paper, setting up a slick surface that won't accept pastel. If this does happen, careful sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper can restore the needed tooth of the paper...

08-06-2003, 12:21 AM
Good advice Dyin,

I would try this on your least favorite first in case a disaster happens.


08-06-2003, 12:27 AM
also good advice, Mike! Squeedina...try spraying from a good distance away in light passes and are you waiting for it to dry before you work it??? That could account for the scratches, the pastel stickwould pick up some of the damp pastel, have had that happen....sorry you had to post for the first time about a problem like this...hope you'll come back again...just happens to be a slow night, usually we fall all over each other to help!

Deborah Secor
08-06-2003, 12:29 AM
I don't know what kind of paper you're working on but if it's sandpaper you can lightly sand off a layer and then use a LIGHT coat of Art Spectrum primer in a similar color or Golden acrylic pastel ground. Let it dry thoroughly and carefully paint over. I've done this on La Carte and it's worked well.

If the paper is soft, sanding will raise the nap a bit and it will accept a very, very, very lightly applied--one soft, sure stroke--of the correct color. Then stop! More is not better...

I hope it all works out for you!

08-06-2003, 12:45 AM
Thank you so so much! I never expected to get so many replies this quickly :) I'm going to use sand-paper and hope for the best...

I think I may have been using too much fixative, as opposed to the tiny amount I used to use. Went a bit overboard there!
Note to self: Dont learn to use a new medium on my final works ever again!

I'll post pictures when they're all done for criticism, not that I've left much time to do anything about it really... Oops!

Thank you all so much, again!


08-06-2003, 12:53 AM
you may also try sprinkling a small dusting of powered marble dust over the effected area, then spray with a fixitave. This should give enough tooth to repaint the area with a soft pastel.

08-06-2003, 01:05 AM
There you have it! From a man who knows.

Thanks for the great tip Terry. Ill put it in my reserves.


Kathryn Wilson
08-06-2003, 01:13 AM
I have been told by a few other pastelists that Art Spectrum pastels, in certain colors, can be scratchy/grainy. If you get a gritty feel when you are applying pastel - stop!

Other than that, I think your fixative is filling the pores of the paper - light sanding should take care of it. Try the technique on something else before you do it on the painting.

Good luck!!

08-06-2003, 03:09 AM
You will get scratchy effects if you use harder pastel (art spectrum) over very soft pastel (schminke). Best always to use them the other way round.

Also best with pastel NOT to overload the paper, either with pastel, or with fixative. Try to develop a lighter touch in the early stages of your work, use the harder pastels first, and finish off with the softer ones.

as for the repair - I agree with most of the advice you've been given; I would try to remove some of the pastel from the offending area rather than keep on working on top. Once you have removed the pastel, either with a VERY stiff brush, a blade, or careful work with sandpaper, then you maybe able to recreate a new surface to work on.

Terry's suggestion is interesting and would probably work well - but it will add yet another layer! I would try it, if you have the marble dust powder which I doubt, but only after removing some of the previous layers.

08-06-2003, 05:08 AM
I am using stonehenge paper, which is probably not the top paper to use but it has been OK... Better paper next time!

I'm so bad. Should have been practicing and learning months ago not NOW! *hits herself*

On a lighter note, I warily sandpapered the offending parts and it worked! Its holding the pastels now..

The fact that I'm using two different brands was an accident. My artworks use only purples and greys. Each section is monochromatic as I'm yet to master properly using colour. The Art Spectrum pastels are the purples and the Schminkes are the greys. It just turned out that way, so they don't really get a chance to mix.

Thanks again!


08-06-2003, 09:38 AM
Well, Dina...so happy it worked...now that you're here hope you will come back and post your work...lots of help learning your color here too! Welcome to WC!!

08-15-2003, 02:14 AM
Please come back and post the finished work. I's love to see.