View Full Version : Which fixatives will not discolor my painting?

08-31-2015, 10:55 PM
I am trying soft pastels for the first time and I want both a workable and final fixative. On Dick Blick it seems like most fixatives get complaints about discolorations so I was wondering what you experts use. It looks like the Sennelier Latour is the favorite but that is not workable, is it?

Thanks for helping out a newb. I started my first painting tonight and had it pretty much done in 30 minutes (it's only 9x12") so I am pretty excited about using pastels for studies before I do oil paintings. Or maybe just something fun to do while I am literally waiting for paint to dry!

09-01-2015, 12:28 AM
Spectrafix is the only one I used that didn't do any effect on the pastels.

However, that said, I sometimes use Blick house brand workable fixative. It's comparabl to Krylon and sometimes I like the way it darkens and intensifies pastels. I just restate lights and brights over it.

I also bought Krylon UV resistant stuff, which I use more often on good paintings, because UV resistant.

SpectraFix has the least effect. That said, it takes some practice using the mister bottle and may spatter. It is really important to hold it well away from the painting and don't use much. The spatters vanish sometimes though.

09-01-2015, 04:43 PM
For a finishing fixative I find Lascaux to be the best, though it is pricey.

09-01-2015, 05:22 PM
Fixative by it's very nature, will alter the pastel. How much will depend on too many factors (type of paper, type of pastel, how many layers, are darks applied over lighter colors, etc.) to be able to quantify.

Most pastel painters use pastel papers with enough tooth or texture that it holds the pastel fairly well. On smoother papers fixative my be necessary or more likely to be needed. Many pastelists never use any fixative or use it only on the initial layers, leaving the final layer unfixed so that it retains all its brilliance. There is no rule or consensus!

I have found that Lascaux works fairly well, but in the last few years I use Spectrafix only when I do fix. Latour is another popular choice, if memory serves me correctly. Generally speaking, the better fixatives that alter the painting the least (or very little) are the ones that cost more! It takes some practice to learn how to apply the fixative in a light mist, using multiple light coats rather than a heavy coating.

One additional benefit of using Spectrafix is that it is non-toxic. The other fixatives should never (in my opinion) be used indoors and they really need a respirator to be used safely. So, Spectrafix would definitely be my recommendation.


09-03-2015, 02:34 PM
OK thanks you guys! I will try the Spectrafix first.