View Full Version : Pastel w/acrylic medium = No Glass

05-07-2005, 09:55 PM
Ha! An experiment - that's what I do when I'm too tired to think about serious projects.

I used soft pastels over acrylic and varnish medium. Then more pastels and pastel pencils, glazing over continually with the medium. And then lots of spray fix and then medium.

TaDa... I don't think it needs glass. I had in dry mounted first.


The painting is not stellar.


Deborah Secor
05-07-2005, 10:47 PM
Johnnie, it might work but one question I have for you, which was raised in an article in the Pastel Journal this month on heat-fixable pastels, is whether house dust would be a problem on an unglazed painting. I come from a very dusty environment (New Mexico: Land of Dust) so I wonder about such things. I suspect it might depend on the paper you've used. In my house dust settles on the texture of the walls, so I think even Wallis paper would become gray and dusty after a while... Just thinking out loud here. Things could be very different where you are.


05-07-2005, 11:19 PM
Deb - good point. But with the amount of medium that's on this - just like the medium glaze over an acrylic painting, you can wipe this thing with a sponge!!

I did do it on Wallis or the pastel would never have layered well. I'm not sure what I think yet, sure does not adapt well to doing piles of laundry paintings, but it might have applications.

here I took an absolute travesty of a landscape and had at it. (camera glare upper right...)



Paula Ford
05-07-2005, 11:30 PM
I actually think these are Wonderful!! Great experiment Johnnie!!


Jo Castillo
05-07-2005, 11:45 PM
Bill Creevy did a demo of using pastel on canvas with Gamblin PVA sizing at the 2001 International Pastel Society Convention in Albuquerque. He put on a layer of pastel, sprayed with a mixture of 1 teaspoon PVA to a cup of water (I think). It takes many layers and a hairdryer or lots of time for drying. These boots were done that way. Just spray with any spray bottle and let the water run. I must have 30 layers or so in the boots. Don't know why you couldn't increase the amount of PVA and get it to cover sooner. Hmmm..

Old Pets (http://www.jocastilloart.com/Resources/pets1.jpeg)

In the end it looks and feels much like an oil painting. The color will rub off a little with a great deal of pressure. These boots were painted in 2001 and still look great. It doesn't rub off with just a touch.

Framed with no glass.

In his book, "The Pastel Book, Materials and Techniques for Today's Artist", he mentions using acrylic medium with pastel, but I couldn't find anything about the PVA Sizing.

This sounds similar...


05-08-2005, 01:50 AM
Johnnie, that workshop just lit all your fires didn't it? I like these. In your use of this you've obtained a very loose and almost abstract sense. I do wonder whether the acrylic medium especially with fixative doesn't kill some of the brilliance of the pastel.

Jo, what is PVA sizeing? The boots, certainly haven't lost any brilliance. I like these.

05-08-2005, 03:31 AM
I like the look of this alot....... great texture and feel to it

Nice one Johnnie

05-08-2005, 09:47 AM
Dawn - thanks! I like some things about these.

TJ - you are right about defeating the shimmer of pastels. When I first strated with them, someone here on the forum commented that's why you don't want to "smooth" everything with your finger, but instead blend with sticks, or you'll loose part of the magic. This could be done with all acrylics I suppose.


05-08-2005, 09:53 AM
I remember seeing something similar along these lines before on WC. I am very new to pastels so am totally confused :confused: as to how this is done. Are you putting the medium on and then working with the pastels in it wet? I can't quite imagine, but am intrigued. Would you please explain in detail for us beginners- you know, something like Pastels 101 for ?!!! Thanks bunches.


05-08-2005, 10:25 AM

Well - here's what I did. I had Wallis paper dry mounted on acid-free board. I did this on the first one to keep it from buckling. On the subsequent ones, I did not and the paper was still pretty flat.

On the first painting:

1. I used Acrylic gloss gel medium, and acrylic paint to put down some color washes on the white paper.

2. then I used pastel pencils and soft pastels and just played with putting some strokes down and then applied a light coat of medium. You have to use a light touch or the stroke detail will smear. I know from earlier trials, one time, that multiple light coats of workable fix help hold the pastel before you coat with medium. (But it was late evening and I did not want to keep going outside to spray!!)

3. I kept layering color and medium over and over. Truely trial and error.

On the second painting I took a really bad mess of a landscape and coated the thing with medium. It started out as bright aquas and oranges. But it had undercoasts of dark pastels. When I coated this one it turned to solid brown mud because the light pastel disappears into the the dark. So I kept adding light pastels and coats of medium till I started to see some highlights.

On these, you have to wait for the medium to dry EACH time. Putting pastel on wet medium is a gunky mess and cuts grooves back down to the paper.

Hope that helps. Wild, huh?


05-08-2005, 11:06 AM
This looks like a fun experiment and I really like that second one a lot! Interesting finish to it, kinda like a loose pastelwatercoloroilylookingthing. Neat!

05-08-2005, 11:44 AM
kinda like a loose pastelwatercoloroilylookingthing.

Best description yet!!


Jo Castillo
05-09-2005, 10:44 AM

It is PVA Size by Gamblin. It is a neutral pH Polyvinyl size. Used in place of rabbits glue, etc., to seal canvas or porous supports. Supposed to keep the paint from cracking and doesn't yellow. It feels like acrylic medium, but is thinner/watery feeling.

It was fun to do, but tedious waiting for the layers to dry. Hair dryer helped, but I am not patient. (I have a hard time waiting on watercolor to dry) Like Johnnie says, trial and error. Bill Creevy put some watercolor on too, just let it run and be a lot more abstract than my boots. More like Johnnie's. Which I forgot to say, I like very much. :)


05-09-2005, 02:01 PM
You are having such fun, Johnnie! I admire your courage in attemptint all this stuff...I know I used to when I was younger...don't know why I don't do more now.

Anyhow...these are nec...almost Turneresque in their haziness.