View Full Version : Now What?

Mike L
07-10-2015, 09:28 PM
As I near completion of my first "real" pastel work, I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Oil and acrylic works in various stages of completion adorn a few narrow (1.5" deep) shelves (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1382030) because stretched canvas and canvas boards stand easy on them. But what about pastel on paper?

I suppose I could tack or tape it to a wall, but how long before all the color falls off? Or maybe buy two black frames for 9X12 works and two white mattes and then swap in works as they're finished? But, still, the question of the pastel dust/color falling off perplexes me and I haven't found any permanent solutions.

Any ideas?


Barbara WC
07-10-2015, 09:44 PM
I have some of my beginning works on Canson Mi-tientes just propped up on a bookshelf in my art room- no dust has fallen off that I can tell. Some of these little pieces are about 6 years old... no matts... The important thing here is that I'm usually the only one in my art room, and have control and know not to touch the work for fear of smearing...

Early work is special, and you should keep it- I suggest framing behind glass for your best works. One thing I do is switch works in and out of the same frame. Something I started a few years ago is painting on "standard" sizes of paper- 9"x12", 11"x14" and 12"x16", and I have a few frames that fit these painting sizes, and I just switch in and out of frames. Wish I would have done this early on. As my work has progressed, the older paintings go into a portfolio with glassine on them- although I have two of my earliest paintings still hanging in a frame.

However, for your own enjoyment, yes, getting a few 9x12 mats and swapping out your work is fine- others may disagree :D

I'm currently starting to paint smaller- 5"x7", and for these smaller works, I'm thinking about just cutting matts and propping them on the shelf in my art room...

Full circle :)

07-11-2015, 09:05 PM
When I finish a pastel - and I know I am not going to frame it - then I put some tracing paper over it for protection. Some folks use glassine, which is more heavy duty and more expensive. If the painting is on paper, then I might hinge-tape it to a piece of foam board and then tape the tracing paper onto the foam board, too. If the painting is on heavier board, then I won't tape it to a board. Then those protected paintings are put into a cheap portfolio.

Sometimes when using a smoother paper, you may need to use fixative at various stages of the painting to partially fix the pastel particles. But that's a entirely new discussion!


Mike L
07-16-2015, 05:48 PM
... Some folks use glassine, which is more heavy duty and more expensive. ...

WC ate my last post - it just up and ate it! :eek:


I read up on glassine and it discovered it is also used in food service as (dry) waxed paper, according to one source. Is it? Seems if so, it would be a lot less expensive at the supermarket or Costco. :thumbsup:

What do you do with them after they are covered? Put in file cabinet? Stack them on a shelf?


08-16-2015, 07:47 PM
Hello! Unless you have used an unfortunate combination of paper type and pastel (e.g. very soft pastels on velour paper), your pastel should never "fall off" of your paper. Give the back a smack or two (one artist refers to this as "burping" the pastel) so any loose dust comes off, and then voila. The rest should stay on for longer than we will be alive. :)

I store mine in a box with sheets of glassine in between. If you don't have a flat box for this, you can do the same in a good-sized drawer. And of course you can frame behind glass with a mat/double mat or with spacers so those tiny bits of dust that may come off over time can fall straight down. But the painting itself should stay put!

08-16-2015, 11:39 PM
I have years of pastel paintings stored in boxes and a portfolio with glassine between them. All are n good shape. I get the clamshell archival boxes from Dick Blick in 9" x 12" size since I never really paint larger than that.

However, recently I found a better solution! I'd been tacking htem up to the wall with push pins to create a "Sketch Wall" till I gradually bought enough frames for my best and the art I bought from other artists. Now everything is framed. I have no sketch wall space left, except a big salvage frame I mean to put cork board in for a cork board sketch space.

So I bought some Clearbags from Blick. Wow. Really better than glassine for not knocking powder off. Love how easily they handle in it. Should have done that years ago before stacking in archival boxes, may someday get a bulk box of the bags for the purpose.

Definitely pick up a couple of frames and some display mats for your best. It's good to have your best work up framed to inspire you and you can always swap out what's in the frames. I've done that several times and probably will again once I use up the latest frames I bought. Got a big package of seven from eBay so will be able to hang seven more of my favorites if I get my home care guy to use the ladder to move some high.

in addition to the clear bags, which come in several brands, I also bought an 8" x 10" Itoya Profolio and two 5" x 7" ones that were on Clearance. Wow wow wow. The small ones are very fancy with heavy covers. The 8 x 10" one just has a normal polypropylene binder cover, both have the good archival pocket pages with archival black support paper inside (in case you're mounting photos into them, just put archival mounts onto the black paper insert).

Now I've been using a clear bag over the art and then slipping it into the Profolio pages. The book can be handled and passed around. There's 24 pocket pages in one and they're quite inexpensive, you can put 48 small pieces into one. When the 8 x 10" one started to fill up I bought a 9" x 12" one for when I use the full sheet off my favorite pads.

The clear bags are Krystal Seal self sealing art, print and photo bags. They come in a bunch of sizes, so I got smaller sizes as well as 9" x 12" and this is great.

For ATCs, which I do sometimes use pastels for, I use soft sleeves that are like the clear bags but no fold over top with tape. Then put that inside an Ultra Pro clear PVC Top Loader archival card holder, bought on eBay. Years ago I sold ACEOs on eBay and everyone else who did told me about using these sports card holders. They're great for art storage and display, like framing you can toss in a drawer or mount to the wall or just put on a molding done as a shelf, a rail sort of thing. When I bought them recently I also got a pack of ten 8" x 10" ones to see if I can use those for some display art the same way I do the smaller pieces. I don't think they come bigger than letter size 8 1/2" x 11" but they do come post card size and 8 x 10" for plein air sizes.

Those or an Itoya Profolio would be great for going out to do plein air - and bring the Krystal Seal bags too so that the minute it's done it goes safely in the soft clear bag.

So there's my solutions; archival storage boxes, Krystal Seal clear bags the size of the art, for small works Ultra Pro top loaders that also give some UV protection and Itoya Profolios. Those last can go on a bookshelf when full.

Or get sorted like the frames and kept as show books with the best of my work. Eh, I'm fond of just accumulating it all. When I go through older works I sometimes feel like reworking them - but pastels are always reworkable!

08-17-2015, 09:27 AM
Gail Sibley has just done a video on YouTube showing how she stores her pastel works, which you might want to take a look at Mike L.

08-17-2015, 09:35 AM
When I'm organized, I store mine in shallow boxes (so that I don't have to dig so deep to get one out) with glassine between them. Then, invariably, I find a cat taking a nap atop them in the box. It never seems to do much harm to them, luckily.

08-17-2015, 10:31 AM
Glassine is not waxed paper. If you don't want to buy glassine, at least get tracing paper on the large rolls sold in office supply stores for drafting. Garage sales, resale shops and Goodwill are the best place to get frames for nothing. I got two 4" 16x20 gold plein air and two 3" 9 x 12's, solid wood, for less than $10 at Goodwill last week. The 9 x 12's were $1.42! I invested in hanging rails for my studio. The rails are inexpensive, its the hangers that cost so much but if you're clever maybe you can figure out something to substitute. Its just a rod with a hook on top and sliding thumb screw hooks for the art. See Walker Display. It's very nice to be able to look at the range of your work and accomplishments on the wall while you figure out the new one.

09-29-2015, 04:57 AM

I have been using glassine paper to store pastels and it works just fine.

My question is, can glassine be used to store acrylics and oils too?

09-30-2015, 04:36 AM
My question is, can glassine be used to store acrylics and oils too?

10-02-2015, 11:49 AM
I haven't used glassine to store acrylics or oils since they don't seem to need it once dry. Just occasional dusting. Seriously, the paint surface on oils and acrylics is sturdy enough not to need glazing when framed, the glassine is to protect delicate surfaces like pastels where any touch could damage it, or moisture.

I still recommend the Profolio for storing pastels, they come in a number of sizes, very inexpensive and that lets me open it and leaf through to see older paintings easier.