View Full Version : Does size matter

12-30-2014, 05:43 AM
I am currently doing a macro ivy dahlia which measures 23cm x 29cm. Hubby thought it would look stunning in really large size. So this led to the question how big is it possible to do a pastel painting without losing the stability of the pastel and how do you control the dust. The biggest I have done to date is 30 x 40cm and that seemed to work quite well. What is the largest size you have done? :cat:

12-30-2014, 05:55 AM
I've only ever gone up to 16x23" and had no problems with stability or dust. The dust just seems to fall straight down. Afterward, I typically use Latour fixative and that makes it pretty well unable to chalk off. I've always wanted to do larger ones, but the practicality of framing is...shockingly expensive.

Equus Art
12-30-2014, 07:01 AM
28" x 32" on plain Canson, using Rembrandts. Some dust, but nothing horrible. And I didn't have to worry about framing it, it was a commission. That was almost three years ago and it still looks the same.


12-30-2014, 03:22 PM
I did some very big cats on velour boards, full size, they were probably about 20" x 30" or thereabouts years ago in New Orleans. Had no trouble with them, it was velour.

More to the point I haven't seen anyone complain about trouble working large. There are some differences in composition as you get larger, some things are much easier working big. But the main trouble with pastels and working large is framing very large, especially when it starts to get past the size of a standard mat board. 32" x 40" would be about as big as you could get and then would need spacers and a ginormous frame that would weigh a lot with its glazing.

What's sad is that I had a giant frame like that and wanted to do a huge pastel painting in it, never got around to it before I lost the frame in a move. It even still had glass and everything. Don't know where I'd have exhibited the monster but it would have been awesome. Eh, if I had it again I'd know what to do with it now.

12-31-2014, 06:51 AM
Thanks very much for your responses. There are some pretty big pastel pieces out there, that gives me confidence to have a go at a bigger piece. I had to check on the tape measure to convert to cms, I can't work in inches. :angel:. It seems the only limitation is the cost of framing. Hope you all have a good New Year :p:p

01-04-2015, 03:11 PM
I have done 32x40 on sanded paper with no issues. framing can get heavy tho.

Barbara WC
01-04-2015, 04:33 PM
Yes, framing seems to be the biggest limiting factor. Cost, and weight.

Plexiglass is generally lighter than glass, but is a poor choice for pastels (IMO). And, I've worked with a couple of different people to cut my plexiglass for large watercolor paintings, and they have told me that larger frames need thicker plexiglass, making the whole frame heavier than the lighter weight plexiglass I get away with in my smaller watercolors.

When I "recycled" some of my plexiglass frames for pastels, it was a big mistake. The plexiglass has static, and pastel started to come off the paper and onto the plexiglass surface. When I took the pastels out of the frame about 6 months later, there was a "ghost" image of the pastel painting on the plexiglass!

I did read somewhere here on Wet Canvas, how to take the static out of plexiglass before framing pastels. I gave it a try, but still had the "ghost" image thing happen.

So now I always use glass, which of course means my paintings are heavier. I paint portraits, and never go above 12"x16" (30x40 cm). I've started framing without a mat, some of my old matts got slightly messy by a little pastel dust falling on them.

01-05-2015, 06:25 PM
Search for " Zaria Forman " She does large scale pastels on paper . Most are simply gorgeous.

Looking threw her site 50" X 75 " or 127 cm X 190.5 cm seems to be the largest. looks like on a show some were in a deep frame with glass and I bet heavy . I wonder if the art was wall hung with the glass frame put over it .

01-06-2015, 10:47 AM
I wonder if they are using plexi glass over the piece and mounting the paper on board that is floated in a shadowbox frame. That should work.