View Full Version : about preservation

Lisa Maria
06-08-2004, 03:28 AM
I found this in a book.. maybe it can be useful for someone:

''In the normal course of events pastels require no care whatsoever... However, even pastels have one enemy. When kept in moist surroundings or hung on damp walls they are attacked by mold. Old pastels are sometimes disfigured by brown or dark gray foxmarks. These can be removed by careful scraping with a scalpel... any fixing after restoration is best avoided. The reappearence of foxmarks can be prevented for a certain time by exposing the pastel to formalin vapor for twelve hours. For this purpose, it is fastened to the inside of a cardboard box, wich is then inverted over a dish of undiluted formalin. The evaporating formaldehyde gas kills germs and has a hardening effect on animal proteins... Cautious painters brush their pastel ground with a ten percent solution of formalin as a preventive treatment in order to reduce the nutrients available for fungus growth.

...Dutch conservator Dr. A.M. de Wild suggested that each pastel should be
backed in its frame with an absorbent piece of cardboard impregnated with an amount of twenty-five percent solution of thymol sufficient to cause the formation of thymol crystals on both surfaces of the cardboard. The solution is prepared by dissolving commercial thymol in denatured alcohol. A layer of wax paper or a similar material, if possible airtight, should be placed between the thymol board and the cardboard or masonite backboard of the frame... thymol has no effect on pastel colors, while its disinfecting action is said to last for a very long time in the above arrangement.

The glass covering a framed pastel should be wiped only with a damp cloth; otherwise the glass will accumulate an electric charge, wich will cause it to attract pastel pigment to the interior surface.''

06-08-2004, 02:48 PM
I think I'm very glad I live in a dry, dry climate! Hopefully, none of my work will ever relocate to such a humid environment, but if it does, the impregnated backing board sounds like the ticket to me. Thanks for the info!

06-08-2004, 03:20 PM
Formaldehyde, not something I would want to use :eek: I think that advice is not for DIY'ers, however interesting it is to know what the experts do to preserve works of art. The other, thymol, would be interesting to know if it also evaporates into the room the painting is hanging and if it has any implications on said rooms occupants ;)

Deborah Secor
06-09-2004, 01:23 AM
I understand that most pastels made now have a fungicide that acts as a mold inhibitor added to them. I'm not the expert and would love to hear from some who are, however. Maybe Kitty knows about that.


Lisa Maria
06-09-2004, 01:40 AM
Thank you for your replies..: )
Yes SabZero... I've been searching for more info.. and it is true.. that thymol vapors could evaporate and be very harmful... if precautions are not taken.. though I think that sealing correctly the painting is not enough..
Both materials are highly toxic... even the mold that attacks paintings... though I found one (www.everydayhenna.com/pdfs/thymol_info.pdf+pastel+conservation+thymol+toxic&hl=es]in (http://www.google.com.mx/search?q=cache:48yvEPBZlNoJ:) .. less risky way of better conservation... the painting being exposed to thymol vapor inside of a cabinet for a period of time...

I also found these very interesting sites... the first one is very complete..


I'm still not interested in the conservation of my paintings... though I think it is good to know... last night I did not know how harmful these materials could be... so now I know...

Deborah .. wow with fungicide included? that would save a lot of job to conservators..

Laura Shelley
06-09-2004, 01:56 AM
That quote sounds like it came from a very old book--perhaps one written before the advent of central heating. :) If mold doesn't grow on the things you shove into the back of your closet and leave undisturbed for years, it seems even less likely that it would grow on your pastels. The last time I saw green scum on my possessions it was directly related to a plumbing leak. Of course, I live in a part of the world that averages only fifteen or twenty inches of rain a year, but unless you are hanging your work in an Irish castle, I would be careful with the powerful fungicides!

06-09-2004, 06:12 PM
I have also read of this and care must be used as stated.
AS I recall,the thymol packatt {archival paper impregnated with thymol, (presuming your going for archival)}, is suppose to be placed between the back matt and the artwork. Then back matt..artwork, matts and glass are to be all taped together to form a seal to keep vapors from escaping. This is then framed as a package.
Info came from an artist/pastel book..will try and find out who wrote it, if anyone wishes to pursue this, but I would advise great caution, and I also figure worry about it when and IF IT hAPPENS, then deal with it. Sounds like nasty stuff!!!
Edit to add.. also seem to recall it saying to make a note on the back that tyhmol is inside..a hint to me on the apparent nastiness of the fungicide.

Lisa Maria
06-10-2004, 12:49 AM
thank you DGrau.... the title of the book is: The Materials and Techniques of Painting/Kurt Whelte German edition 1967/English 1975...

Yesterday I really just wanted to leave this thread aside... even leave WC but.. if anyone is reading... I know I'm not a genius.. and don't post very often for the same reason... but.. when I started the thread.. I could not sleep... and I spent my time.. searching for a book that I did not find...

I realized that there is a lack of information... I don't have another way to learn but.. from books.. the step by step are great ones... but sometimes not enough... I also found that some recent books... are partly based in old and erroneous ones... Kurt Whelte's is better than many I've found... I've searched for some time... and I don't know... I started to think that maybe the internet was not enough... or there is not really enough information ..not only about preservation ..but technique...

for example where I live I could only get canson paper and I'd like to try other grounds... the only way is making them myself but I have never actually seen how a ground should look like..

Deborah Secor
06-10-2004, 02:24 AM
Lisa Maria, I think if you spend time here and ask questions, and look at a lot of the older threads, the library and archives, you'll find all kinds of information that will help you in doing pastels--but it takes time. It always takes time to learn, which can be so frustrating! My son said this evening that you need desire in order to learn something well, then the desire leads to practice.

What I've found is that I get only so much from any step by step instruction whether its online or in a book, because it isn't until I actually stick my hands in and try it that I really learn. Grounds are a good example. I can show you different textures, tell you my recipe, show you how it looks with pastels over it, and even be here to answer more of your questions, but you have to get some mat board, find some gesso and pumice, and try making it. I know you probably know this--nothing new here! But the nice thing I've found about the pastel forum is that when I can't find it and need more info, or if I'm doing it and I get stuck, I can put out an SOS here and people help a lot!

We'd like to see some of your work and we'll be more than happy to try to answer your questions, give friendly critiques if you want them, & suggest ways to help you solve problems when they come up. Just feel free to ask.

I don't know if you're just beginning with the medium, but if you happen to be, I've heard rave reviews of Jackie Simmonds' books and videos...

Glad to have you here!

Lisa Maria
06-10-2004, 03:40 AM
Thank you for your advice Deborah...
I'll try to spend more time in wc... I have learned many things here.. though I haven't looked on past threads.. and I will...
My english isn't very well... and sometimes it's hard for me to explain myself...
my concern was... not the lack of information here on wetcanvas... because actually it's the best resource for me on the internet... here I have had my best experiences.. I paint more with pastels... because of wc
I will try to make more questions... : )
I hope to soon get the necesary materials for the ground.. thank you for your help...
I'm still a begginer... thank you for your suggestion..

06-10-2004, 06:20 PM
Nothing wrong at all learning from books, I have found them to be a great resource for information. Keep reading and practicing /trying out, the things you read about.
I think you will enjoy your surface you are going to prepare, however you can always order from online other surfaces/papers to try out if you have a mind to.
Best wishes