View Full Version : Putting Glass Directly Against Pastel Painting

Orchid Lady
04-25-2015, 02:09 AM
I was considering framing my pastels by putting the glass directly against the pastel itself. But I heard that there was some fixature (?) that should be applied first (?). Does anyone know about this method? I was thinking that having the glass directly on the pastel painting would make shipping that painting easier because I wouldn't have to worry about the shipper keeping the painting in an upright position to prevent it from getting dusted all over. Any info from somebody who employs this type of method would be appreciated!

Thanks for your help!:wave:

04-25-2015, 11:46 AM
You might Google passe partout framing. That is framing without a mat, with the glass directly atop the painting. I frame most of my pastels that way. I've never heard of a "fixature" being used. As I understand, the biggest risk of passe partout framing would be mold or mildew forming under the glass. I live in a humid climate, but I haven't had any problem with mold or mildew. An artist friend of mine here who participates (and wins and sells a lot) at plein air events uses this method almost exclusively and told me other artists at the events also use it.

Orchid Lady
04-25-2015, 02:39 PM
Thanks for the info Blayne! I just moved to a very small town in Northern California and have to find a new framer to do my custom framing. Previously, I used a mat and another strip of matting about 1/4 inch in that would provide a "well" to catch any dusting, but the local framer is just used to either mats alone or spacers without a mat. Anyway, I did notice a piece by Richard McKinley on "passe partout"---I'll just have to locate it and read it.

04-25-2015, 06:57 PM
These would even be easy to ship unframed, since the glass, painting and backing form a "sandwich" that you can tape together. I use a clear acid-free tape and keep it behind the frame opening. Basically, the steps I go through are to lay down the backing (usually acid-free foam core), place the painting on it, face up, then lay the glass over it. I pull this "sandwich" toward me so that it extends slightly over the table edge. I then run tape the length of the edge extending over the table, making sure it doesn't go far enough onto the surface of the glass to show when framed, and carefully bend the tape around the edge and onto the back of the backing. I overlap corners to keep out any tiny bugs that might want to get in. I continue to rotate the painting until I have done each side this way. Hope this helps!

04-25-2015, 07:17 PM
That does make sense, thanks to y'all for this thread. I've framed like that in the past without trouble but never shipped anything with glass since I've had framed art arrive glass broken even when packed supremely well.

04-26-2015, 12:14 AM
Can these paintings ever be removed from their frames after framing this way?
Or does it mess up the painting?
I have one I did frame that way and I like the way it looks better than those with mats!

04-26-2015, 04:34 AM
Yes, they can be removed. There is very little pastel dust on the glass when it is removed.

04-26-2015, 04:46 PM
Thank you Blayne, that is good to know!

Moqui Steps
04-27-2015, 11:10 AM
Be aware that if you have a really thick stroke of soft pastel that rises above the paper surface quite a bit, it will be smashed flat by the glass, slightly changing the way it looks. Granted such a 3 dimensional chunk of pastel is probably already pretty unstable even with spacers and would probably fall away when you tap the back of the piece to remove non adhered pastel. It might also slough off with a bump to the framed piece or from vibration during shipping.

Every pastel framed with spacers that I have removed from the frame later had pastel dust on the glass to some extent. I am going to try the glass in contact with the work on my next few pieces, thinking that since pastel dust will be on the glass anyway, it might as well be touching the piece so as to not be as noticeable like it is on a spaced type framing where the pastel dust is floating in front of the painting.

04-27-2015, 11:42 AM
I like the look of it when done right. Meaning splurge and get Museum Glass. It gives an effect of no glass at all being there when done this way.

04-27-2015, 07:04 PM
I ship the painting only, and let the customer frame the painting. Way easier. :-)

There is no need for anything applied onto the painting, the glass is sufficient protection. As said, very little dust adheres to the glass.

And, passe partout means "mat" in French. For some reason, you Americans use the wrong term for framing without a mat. The reason seems to have originated in a misunderstanding in an article in PJ, from long ago, and seems to be forever perpetuated.

04-29-2015, 07:33 AM
Welcome back, Charlie! I haven't seen you here for awhile. I had read that the term passe partout is widely used in the very opposite way of its actual meaning, but I didn't know what other term to use in telling her how to find information on the web. I always feel rather silly using it. Is there a proper descriptive term to Google that would yield information?

04-29-2015, 09:50 AM
Sorry, one of my pet pevees, that passe-partout... It comes from "master key", that is, the mat makes it possible to use any frame. I suspect that the French used the word sans (without, with no) before the passe-partout.

The only terms I've found are "framing against the glass", and also "sandwich framing", "framing with no mat". "Sealed package framing" would be when the glass and artwork plus backing is taped together along the edges (and sometimes it is called "sandwich"...).

If art terms were consistent, life would be easier.

04-29-2015, 10:06 AM
Thanks for the interesting history, Charlie. "Master key" is an unusual way to think of matting, but it makes sense. I, for one, vote that artists begin using the correct term, sans posse partout, but I doubt that will happen. Language is ever evolving and, in this case, we're probably stuck with using the term sans sans--at least until it evolves into something else. Those other terms, like sealed package framing (which is the method of framing I was taught to do) seem a lot bulkier and have so much less cache!:)

04-29-2015, 02:15 PM
Thanks Charlie for explaining why I didn't understood what they meant by using without mat..:) Nice to see you here again, was wondering where you went.

You use glass when shipping, you mean plexiglass??