View Full Version : Best fixatif for soft pastel?

08-22-2006, 08:53 PM
Hi everyone, I have recently returned to pastel painting after a hiatus of about 15 years.
Can anyone give me opinions as to the best fixatif to use for soft pastel, various brands on Canson paper?
I worked for hours on a beautiful painting and used Crystal Clear to fix it. Big mistake!!! The aerosol darkened the colours so much I had to virtually start over. I could have wept.
I seem to remember a better product to use, but I have forgotten what it was. Can someone help me out?

Mikki Petersen
08-22-2006, 09:22 PM
A lot of pastellist will not use any fixitive at all or only in the very early stages of a painting. I have followed that school until recently. I have found that Lascaux Fixitive, while expensive, is an excellent finish fixitive. It does not change the pigmentation at all when dry and seems to work very well at keeping the painting from shedding dust once framed. However, nothing will protect your pastel paintings as well as a good framing under glass.


08-22-2006, 09:35 PM

Like Mikki said, Lascaux has indeed great reputation.
Latour from Sennelier is also seen as one of the best.
It's said that Krylon is a good WORKABLE fixative. Some people also like Blair as a workable one.
But take a look at this link.
There's a part where he talks about fixatives.


Kind regards,


08-22-2006, 10:34 PM
Welcome Cat - from another western Washington state pastelist. There's getting to be quite a few of us on WC.

Lascaux, Latour and Rowney all make fixatives that don't darken the pastels - too much! If you use a heavy hand with the spray, all of them do to some extent darken the lightest colors. However, they are also all "workable", and you can go back in and reapply the lightest colors if need be.

Is there a good reason you want to use fixative? I know sometimes I do and sometimes I don't, but it depends upon the situation. When I use them as a "final" fixative, I use very light spray only. They are also good for darkening a color that you can't otherwise get dark enough. Oh yah - another good reason to use them is they are supposed to be archival - your Krylon isn't. Mostly I use more textured surfaces than Canson so spray fixative isn't necessary.

If you are interested in meeting other pastelists in this area, send me a pm. Molly (Watergirl) and I have met and will be getting together at my house next week. I live outside of Seattle in the Issaquah area.


08-23-2006, 12:33 AM
Thanks for the good information, Everyone.
I don't even know why I used the fixatif. It has been so long since I used pastels, I guess I have just forgotten basic proceedures.
The pieces will be framed under glass, as I heard someplace that using plexi or plastic glass will set up a static and cause the pastel dust to accumulate inside, is that true?
I think maybe a very light finish fix will be OK, but I am willing to listen to all opinions.
Peggy, I am in Port Townsend, but don't cross the pond except for extreme causes. Do you ever come here?
Love from Cat

08-23-2006, 12:46 AM
yes, you can have static troubles with plexi.

if you go onto http://www.aldridgestudios.com/610-Fixative.html there is a good amount of solid info. in fact, there is alot on pastels in general, you may wish to read there.

i ususally don't use fix, as i also use a sanded paper, and don't see much need for it, only sometimes.

08-23-2006, 02:14 AM
I have heard good things about the new sanded papers, but I have on hand about 50 sheets of Canson that I feel obligated to use up. I am not fond of Canson, though, the tooth is too coarse.
Hm-m-m, maybe I will buy just a couple of sheets of Wallis just to try. Any excuse to buy more art supplies, doncha know.
Peggy, what a good idea, using the fix to deliberately darken a colour.

08-23-2006, 03:43 PM

Have you ever tried the smoother side of Canson ?

Kind regards,


08-23-2006, 06:03 PM

Please read everything on Donna's web about fixative and plexi - it's excellent information based on scientific testing, not just heresay! There's also info on this site dealing with Plexi - if you read it and follow the advice , you will have no problems. Peggy mentioned some really good Fixatives above - I personally utilize one of them exclusively!


K Taylor-Green
08-23-2006, 10:13 PM
Hm-m-m, maybe I will buy just a couple of sheets of Wallis just to try.

Famous last words! Once you try Wallis, or Color Fix, for that matter, you'll be hooked. There is a freedom with these surfaces you just don't get with other paper.