View Full Version : To Cheer Up A Friend

maggie latham
06-17-2007, 11:19 AM
Good Morning,
Just finished a little pastel to use as an original card for a friend who isnít feeling too well. I had some smooth watercolor paper hanging around, and applied two coats of Colorfix pastel ground in white with an old gesso brush. Several layers of pastels, using different brands, but mostly Unison and Schmincke, several layers of fixative and a light layer of acrylic gloss and matt varnish mixed together. (You can also use a spray UV such as Golden UV spray in matte). I was pleased with effect and wanted to share it with you.
5.5 X 4 inches. Should I try this as a larger painting?



06-17-2007, 11:45 AM
I love this, and yes, I think you should do something like this larger! I'm just starting to use pastels and this painting is inspiring. I love the mood of it.

Donna T
06-17-2007, 12:26 PM
Nice one, Maggie. Your friend will be happy to have this. So none of the pastel comes off after you give it this treatment? How much are the colors affected?

Donna T

Tracy Lewis
06-17-2007, 01:15 PM
Lovely work,

Kathryn Wilson
06-17-2007, 04:12 PM
Yes, go for it.

A lovely painting to cheer up a friend!

maggie latham
06-17-2007, 04:20 PM
Thanks for your kind words, and encouraging me to do a bigger one of this.

Donna, I usually work on Wallis paper, so as you know that holds the pastel really well. When Iím using a lot of light over darks like this I have to fix each application of pastel, or the dark pigment muds up too much. When I am finished I use a final coat of fixative, quite a bit really, sometimes two thin sprays, which of course darkens the overall appearance. However, knowing this I usually compensate with the lights, and know the darks will pop back out when it is fixed, and I love the element of surprise! The fixative always dissolves some of the pale colors, but I donít mind that for my method of working. When all this is Ďairedí (about two hours) I paint on an acrylic varnish (varnish is thinner and more translucent than medium) in gloss with a very soft flat watercolor brush. When this is dry I knock back the gloss plastic look with a layer or two of matt acrylic varnish.... the curious thing is, that it doesnít pick up much pastel, if you have a VERY light touch. It does take some practice and I have ruined a few pieces by dragging the pigment with the brush. On Wallis paper you still get a bit of the canvas texture look coming through. This method really only works well for small paintings, and is a great way to sell original pastel Ďminisí on cards without the problem of smudging. In the past I have sold a lot of these original greetings cards, but donít do many of them anymore. I double side tape the mini onto Strathmore watercolor cards with archival double side tape, and hand write my info on the back. I know people buy them and frame them, but I figure that if the customer doesnít have much money to spend, then at least they can own an original that suits their budget

Anyhow, for me the Ďminisí are relaxing and a lot of fun and use up scraps of Wallis and other paper and broken pastels that are hanging around!



Mikki Petersen
06-18-2007, 02:35 PM
This would be a great painting in a larger size...it seems larger as I view it here. I'm glad your varnish technique works for you. I tried it once and ruined my painting.


06-19-2007, 05:46 PM

Very interesting painting - I think it would come out great on a piece of 'La Carte' in the dark blue shade and 23 5/8" x 31 1/2" size - couple light coats of 'Lascaux' spray and framed with spacers, no mat!

I use your varnish technique on oil pastels, which I frame without glass - works great -

How's the 'frameless' mess coming?:smug:


maggie latham
06-21-2007, 04:09 PM
Hello Fish,
That is scary!!! I have never done a painting in pastel that big before. Maybe this is a good challenge for me. My goodness, how many pastels would I need?Ö. The Ďmess' is on hold, although my husband has appeared with a tub of mud for me! When I conquer it I will let you know.


06-21-2007, 05:02 PM

If you haven't done a painting that size it could be a challenge but you'll love it - I use a lot of the sennelier 'grand' pastels for this size - they cover a large area and are easy to blend - this is almost my standard paper and size!

Frame them with spacers but no mat in wide frames - public seems to really like this look!