View Full Version : Blooper and Fix...

05-27-2014, 08:02 PM
I don't know if this belongs in Talk or in Studio, so I won't be surprised if this thread gets moved. I'm putting it in here because it's related to the Pan Pastels thread and it may turn into a discussion on bloopers and fixes.

I'm currently using a 7" square Stillman & Birn Delta journal for my art journal and doing some pastel pieces in it, Conte sketches and Pan Pastels and maybe even softer pastels later on, with SpectraFix fixative.

I did this beautiful white rose from life in Pan Pastels a while back, it's posted on the Pan Pastels thread:


Loved it, one of the best pages in my journal, a real showoff piece. I love doing roses and for decades had trouble with them. Once I actually got rose anatomy it was a thrill to be able to do them. So this was great. I also got to test my Pan Pastels on rough watercolor paper instead of coated paper with great joy in the background.

So then I went in for my doctor appointment last Friday and had nearly an hour to wait for the van since it went well and fast, I got seen early and got out quickly even with vaccinations and blood tests (routine for my medication).

I did this flower as a botanical sketch in pastel pencils and used SpectraFix fixative on it. I had the small mister with me, used it outdoors and had it too close to the painting. It puddled. This sometimes isn't a problem if I just give it enough time to dry. And lo, it seemed to dry well and nicely on this side of the painting. But the back of it is the white Pans rose.


It slightly softened it because it puddled but didn't lose too much detail and I was happy with the result. Just a quick life sketch.

After it dried I flipped it over and saw the back.


The reason the SpectraFix puddle dried so fast was that it soaked right through the porous rough watercolor paper and carried pigment with it. The ghost of the bright pink flower is now staining my white rose painting. Arrgh!

I debated how to fix it, my first thought was to try going over it with the white Pan and grays and complements to try to fix the damage, restore it even if that means the reworked version isn't as loose as the original.

But my home care worker Elgie had a different suggestion. He looked at it and said "Well, why not just go with it and work over what you have to turn it into a pink or maybe red rose?"

Wow. Duh. Yeah. That made sense. It will mean using Magenta and Red and tints but I could probably do that and just work in the pink shadowing into the highlights on a red rose, cool red rose, or play with both cool and warm reds in it to make it lively. Or a dark pink rose. Not sure what the final hue will be but that's the solution I'm now thinking about.

I can see that bright hot pink that seeped through will give some brightness to the highlights... but I've also learned painfully that I need to be really careful with the small mister and not use it outdoors but indoors where it's more controllable. It squirted rather than misted. Very frustrating but the big mister bottle worked better at home on many different pages without ghosting through. This is the first time it happened.

Anyone else have any interesting mishaps or surprising serendipitous fixes? I'll miss the White Rose painting but the red-pink rose will still be a good page in my journal. I'll post it once it's done.

05-27-2014, 08:46 PM
Aw! I'm sorry about your painting! But that is a good idea, painting it pink or red. I can't wait to see it finished!

05-28-2014, 12:31 AM
How about using some spectra fix primer over the rose? You would get more tooth so you can use some whites to go over the area, maybe you can then keep your white rose. I know the Stillman and Birn sketchbooks have some pretty sturdy paper.....

Donna T
05-28-2014, 08:39 AM
That's a bummer, Robert, and I like the idea of using a fixative to be able to restore the white of your beautiful rose. I also think you discovered something interesting; the pink that seeped through only added a thin veil of color, it did not alter the values of your white rose. This effect might come in handy some other time. Instead of re-doing the background on this painting maybe you could just add a few more random pink lines to the background or some indistinct leaves or buds - either from the front or the back. If you do that, maybe it should be done before you touch up the rose in case any of the pink bleeds where it shouldn't!

06-19-2014, 02:33 PM
Rose Reddened and Pinked
7" square
Pan Pastel and pastel pencil on 7" square Stillman & Birn Delta journal
180lb Rough watercolor paper.

First I went over the white rose with the same exact hue of searing pink Pastel Pencil that had seeped through into it. I don't have a progress photo of it, but I lightly glazed over the entire rose and then rubbed it in with a Sofft tool, the fine tip small tool using small circular motions. Then I started with Magenta Tint over the highlights, smoothing it and restoring the Pans texture. I used Magenta mass tone in the darks. Shaded it monochrome Magenta in other words.

Then started playing with other tints and colors. Touches of Violet into the deepest darks. Yellow Tint made a prettier accent highlight than pure White, I'm not sure why but it did. Permanent Red Tint was warmer than Magenta Tint and harmonized them. A little Lavender and Ultramarine tint here and there gave shimmer. Permanent Red bridging the magenta and the pinks helped.

Finally when I finished reworking the rose itself, I went back over the upper background with Light Gold metallic again, much heavier. Happily this did block out the pink that came through on the background. The page is restored, it looks good. There's a bit less value contrast with the background than when it was white but enough to make it pretty - and the reduced value shift actually looks nice to me in person, like pink roses on gilded wallpaper.

So there it is, the newly pink and reddened rose. I like the final version. I used a different fixative, two light coats of Krylon UV Resistant spray fixative instead of the puddling Spectrafix. I didn't want this seeping through to break up the pink flower by reversing the process!

At last it's done and my art journal's presentable again!

06-19-2014, 08:58 PM
What a happy ending, Robert -- congratulations on a beautiful job!

Of course (?!), I immediately thought of the Grimms' fairy tax "Snow White and Rose Red" (this is a different Snow White . . . ), available at http://www.authorama.com/grimms-fairy-tales-63.html. It starts"
"There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white, and the other Rose-red."

Perhaps the more analogous fairy tale -- but, thankfully, not apt for your efforts -- is Oscar Wilde's poignant "The Nightingale and the Rose" (http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/NigRos.shtml).

Best, Evelyn

06-20-2014, 10:08 AM
Oh neat! Thanks for the links! I did get pictures of the white rose, so in a way I have them both now. I think once I added color I also refined the edges a bit too, the tool I used was fresher having been sealed instead of banged around in a pocket and much more responsive.

I actually had to throw away a wedge sponge and applicator tool because I found out they were too stiff to use, weird. They go bad if they're covered in crud loose in your pocket, but not if kept in the jars.

06-20-2014, 11:14 PM
You made a great recovery on this one. I like the white rose but think the pink one has its own beauty. Your mishap makes me think, gee, I wonder what would happen if I draw on this side, "ink" the back with pastel pencil and spray... I envision the results being a sort of vague and misty watercolor but I could go back in and strengthen certain lines, develop values, etc. I think your new technique holds promise! BTW I've discovered that if I spray the back of my painting with Spectrafix or straight alcohol (vodka) and then immediately spray Spectrafix on the front, the lighter weight sketch paper doesn't curl.