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Constellation
07-10-2007, 10:32 AM
I am getting so disillusioned with the fragile aspect of pastel paintings. Can some one please help me out on preserving a completed painting? I tried spraying it with clear acrylic and lost much of the medium on the painting..... fixative seems to alter the color .... is there a method that really works? Donna R.

Kathryn Wilson
07-10-2007, 10:37 AM
To be perfectly blunt, no. Be prepared to not fix or spray acrylic on your paintings, but to preserve them under glass until such time a miracle may happen and a manufacturer comes up with a solution.

Sorry, not much help.

soap
07-10-2007, 11:41 AM
LOL. No, but the fact that you cannot 'fix' them means they keep their wonderful fresh look. Its pure pigment on your paper!
As long as you pack them away without smudging them, or frame them behind glass they should stay fine for ages. I put my paintins in a file with some tracing paper between each one to avoid them smugding eachother.
Don't spray or brush anything on your pastel work!

PeggyB
07-10-2007, 11:41 AM
Are your trying the "glassless pastels" look that was introduced at the IAPS convention? There are at least two methods I know of, one Trish Messenger has perfected after much trial and error on paper surfaces, and the other is being used by Sandy Jackoboice on canvas. Sandy's method was published in a past Pastel Journal issue. Both methods do change the value of the colors so knowing what to expect when the various pastels get wet is key to either of them.

If you are wanting to lightly fix the pastels for framing under glass, try using LasCaux fixative. A couple light sprays won't change the value very much if at all and will hold the pastel to the surface better than no fixative at all. However, as Kat pointed out pastels under glass that have been properly "smacked" after finishing them shouldn't shed/dust further once framed.

May I ask what support you are using? Some hold the pigment better than others. It also depends upon how heavily you apply the pigments, how soft or hard they are, and how many layers you generally put down.

Peggy

Constellation
07-10-2007, 11:59 AM
Hi Peggy.... I usually use either velour or a sanded paper but I do tend to use a lot of pigment... I put on a lot of color! (I think I tend to cover up my errors that way... LOL) but, yes, I would like to be able to use the "glassless" look if there is a good way to do it.

Thanks Kat and Soap for your comments.....Is finding a perfect fixative for pastels like hybridizing the proverbial "Blue Rose"?.....Either one will make you an instant millionaire!

Donna R

PeggyB
07-11-2007, 01:21 PM
Hi Peggy.... I usually use either velour or a sanded paper but I do tend to use a lot of pigment... I put on a lot of color! (I think I tend to cover up my errors that way... LOL) but, yes, I would like to be able to use the "glassless" look if there is a good way to do it.

Thanks Kat and Soap for your comments.....Is finding a perfect fixative for pastels like hybridizing the proverbial "Blue Rose"?.....Either one will make you an instant millionaire!

Donna R

What little I know of velour - and I'm sure there are others here who can be of more help in this regard than I am - it doesn't take lots of layers easily so maybe you'll need to refine your method for that particular surface. Depending upon the brand of sanded paper, you should be able to load most of them up fairly heavily with pastel layers. Some of the softer ones won't take as many though (i.e. LaCarte)

Since I'm not interested in the glassless method of pastels, I didn't take the workshop from Sandy and Trish so I really can't help much there. I know Trish has refined a surface she makes herself so the sealent adheres very well and the surface doesn't buckle. Maybe someone who took that workshop took good notes and will post them here. However, I do know that it depends completely upon the person doing the work to find the exact proportion of products to use that works for them. It isn't an exact method. However, her demonstration was so successful that I wouldn't be surprised to find she has an article published in one of the art magazines. (Hint, Hint Anne Heavener if you read this! :) ) As I mentioned before, Sandy has already done so.

As for developing the prerfect pastel fixative, I think indeed it would be as popular as a blue rose!

Peggy

maggie latham
07-11-2007, 01:56 PM
:wave:
Hello,
It is my understanding that Trish is indeed having an article published in one of the national art magazines early next year. I don’t know the details. I have been experimenting a lot with her method, and because of the article I have not posted anything about it. It is very tricky and I think there will be a good amount of learning time involved. I really like the look of pastels in good mats under glass….so the jury is out for me at the moment!
Maggie

bluefish
07-11-2007, 03:33 PM
saw a demonstration on Monday evening of an artist from the D.C. area who frames very large water colors without glass - he had one for display purposes and it was breath taking! He also does the same with his pastels on Wallis as well as canvas! He sprays both with acrylic spray, then brushes two coats of Golden Acyrlic polymer varnish on them. He had pictures of some pastels done this way and they looked outstanding! His work is very large, almost mural size! He was not @ IAPS but in the same hotel with a water color group, where he demo'ed his technique!

give it a try and let us know the results!..........'bluefish':thumbsup:

Kathryn Wilson
07-11-2007, 04:13 PM
I would hesitate to use any of these methods on velour - but let us know your progress on fixing pastels on paper or canvas!

maggie latham
07-11-2007, 07:51 PM
:cat:
Hello Donna,
It’s interesting reading the last post (who is 'bluefish'…anyway??!!)
I occasionally use the method described. I always use Wallis paper mounted to gator foam board or 8ply museum board for using this method.
You have to spray the finished pastel very well with fixative, and this does change the color, but I usually compensate by using a lot of lights which I know will melt a little, and the dark colors will pop back out. Once fixed and aired, I use one coat of gloss acrylic varnish (not medium) brushing it on with a large flat watercolor brush, very gently, just skimming the paper. Once dry I apply two more coats of matt varnish in opposite directions. The gloss pops the colors, and the matt takes the plastic shine away from the gloss. For some reason on Wallis paper it makes my work look like a soft oil painting, but I do have quite a painterly style. It is tricky on larger pieces, and the largest painting I have finished like this is 16x20. I usually only use this method when I am selling Matted Bagged Unframed Originals, which will get a lot of handling. Some of my work is in a gallery that gets high traffic and handling, where there is a demand for unframed art to take back home with them on a plane.
I stumbled on this method after playing around with acrylic medium between layers of pastel from Bill Creevy’s book. If any one wants to try it out, do it on some of your not so favorite pieces, because if it is not fixed enough the brush will drag the pastel and ruin it. If you tear up pieces of Wallis paper, and do mini originals ….. it's a good way to play around with this technique. Because
I present my work in a mat, I prsume the customer is going to frame it under glass. I like the effect, but not for every painting. There is much to be said for the look of a fresh pastel with out any fixative.
As for the glassless watercolors, Birgit O Connor uses this technique and has a CD which explains how she does it. I would have loved to have seen that demo, 'bluefish' ....... Who was the artist?
Maggie

bluefish
07-11-2007, 09:34 PM
Maggie:

the artist was David Daniels - he resides in Md, outside of D.C. and teachs at some local universities! He uses bright, bold colors, mixed only on the paper, never the pallet!

I knew you would be interested as you are a pioneering artist - and a very good one, I might add!

Mr Daniels uses the above principals on works 30"x40" and larger - beautiful work and so unique!

who? who? who? - sounds like an OWL!:lol: ......'bluefish':cool:

maggie latham
07-11-2007, 11:31 PM
:cat:
Thanks for the info bluefish. I used to live across the River from DC. I miss the culture and the Museums and Georgetown.
Thought I would post something I have just finished, to show how one of my paintings look with acrylic varnish on. It really is difficult to tell too much from the scan, and the scan is a little darker and has more contrast than the original.
Wallis mounted to 8ply rag board (from Dakota Pastels) W&N, Mount Vision, Schmincke and Terry Ludwig (darks). Lots of layering of light over dark, and Schmincke scumbling to create impasto using intuitive color choices and a limited palette. 8x12inches.
Sprayed with Krylon workable fix during and at the end. One coat Gloss acrylic varnish, two coats matte acrylic varnish. As there is such a lot of texture I will probably use a wide 8ply mat to offset the texture and frame under glass.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/11-Jul-2007/91114-WCNEW.jpg

Maggie

PeggyB
07-12-2007, 01:48 PM
LOVE the painting Maggie! You mentioned using Krylon workable fixative. I find that darkens more than some of the other workables (like LaCarte). Have you tried other workable fixatives to see if they leave the pastel lighter before applying your final acrylic varnishes?

It looka like play time for me today!!!

Peggy

maggie latham
07-12-2007, 04:03 PM
:cat: Dear Peggy,
Thanks for the advice on the fixative. The only reason I use Krylon is because we live 150 miles form the mainland, and that is what our little art supply store carries! I have thought about ordering some other fixatives to try them out. I think aerosol canisters have to be shipped ground if I order from Dick Blick or one of the major companies. I will try out what you suggested, though. I over compensate with light colors knowing that they will melt a little and the darks underneath will pop out. I actually don’t mind the element of surprise, sometimes! Glad you liked the painting. If you have some time it is fun to play. I use a Princeton flat 2inch watercolor brush for the varnish and use ‘angels kisses’ ~ very light strokes. Use acrylic varnish, as the medium is thicker and more opaque. It works great on Wallis.
Maggie

bluefish
07-12-2007, 04:18 PM
Peggy: I believe you are referring to Lascaux fixative, which we all use and love, not La Carte, which is the paper I appreciate!:thumbsup:

Maggie - love the painting - would love it more if 30"x40", no mat or glass and minimally framed - it would be sensational!

Also - Krylon makes a spray acrylic coating (not a fixative) which really holds the pastel in place - a good friend uses this on all her pastels but mats and glass frames them - she does this so that the pastel dust doesn't get all over the mat while doing shows - pastels look more like oil paintings then 'virgin' pastel, but people like them! If I were going to brush acrylic polymer varnish over the pastel painting, I would seal first with a couple coats of Krylon acrylic! Lascaux spray fixative is also an acrylic spray but rather weak and inert as compared to the Krylon.........'bluefish':cool:

Snowbound
07-12-2007, 04:56 PM
Thanks, everyone, for talking about this. I've been curious since I first heard of it as a possibility. Maggie, I adore your work, and learning that you use this technique for some of your paintings is encouraging. I have some paintings I would not want to do this to, but there are some that I think would do quite well with this technique. It would simplify framing soooo much. And it would release me to work much much larger without dreading the $ of framing so much. AND the potential for packaging unframed work.

I talked to local framer about framing some pastels, and did not come away feeling confident, so decided to do it myself. Any day now. I need to start showing.

Dayle Ann

maggie latham
07-12-2007, 07:44 PM
:cat:
Hello everyone,
I absolutely love talking about this kind of thing, and am glad to be able to share my experiences and encourage other artists to try something new. Don’t get frustrated with it, as there is a learning curve.
Bluefish ~ thanks for the correction of the brand of fixative. The largest pastel I have painted was 18x24 and that was in a two-inch mat! My first reaction to your comment was…help! I can’t paint anything that big! But I should take you up on the challenge and break out of my comfort zone. Don’t know if I have any gator board and Wallis paper that big, though…and I can see getting through a lot of my lovely Schmincke’s! Using my type of ‘style’ with intuitive color…do you think it would work in that size? My husband always says that I need more subject matter…but I like my ‘stick’ boats!!! Do you ever post work…or are you just a good source of pastel knowledge? Anyhow, thanks for the support and giving me the info on David Daniels. Wow! His watercolors are bold, and beautiful I wish I could see them in real life.
Snowbound ~ good luck with your framing. Have you tried using foam core spacers attached to the back of the mat so that any dust falls away from the mat?
Maggie

bluefish
07-12-2007, 09:50 PM
my entire 2007 collection was framed without mats, using wide frames and clear plastic spacers - so far, the pastels have outsold the acrylics! This is the first year that I've eliminated the mats completely and the public seems to like the result! Tried two, utilizing non-glare plexi, one sold immediately, and I have not shown the other yet! I use plexi exclusively!.......'bluefish':cool:

PeggyB
07-12-2007, 10:56 PM
Peggy: I believe you are referring to Lascaux fixative, which we all use and love, not La Carte, which is the paper I appreciate!:thumbsup:

.........'bluefish':cool:

Oh yah - thanks Blue - Iwas in a bit of a hurry this morning as I had an appointment, needed to get dressed and eat breakfast, and be on the road, but really wanted to ask the question and let Maggie know how much I liked the painting.

I think I am going to try playing a bit.

Peggy

maggie latham
07-13-2007, 08:16 AM
:cat:
Dear Peggy,
Thank you for your kind words. They are encouraging, as lately my paintings seem to be heading on their own minimalist impressionist journey! Thought you might be interested in another one on Wallis on gator board, using the method for varnishing above. This one looks very similar to an oil painting! Small…5.5x9.5 The composition is different because I placed the horizon line half way on the page, but I think it works. Fish~ thinking about a 30x40 gives me goosebumps!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jul-2007/91114-SCAN.348.jpg

Maggie

bluefish
07-13-2007, 11:17 AM
maggie

not only does it work, it's outstanding! it boggles my mind that you can turn out such outstanding paintings that small - some day you're going to work 30x40 and have an International reputation!

'bluefish':thumbsup:

maggie latham
07-13-2007, 12:08 PM
:cat:
Bluefish,
you are too kind. I can’t imagine how to cover such a large piece of paper with pastel. Anyhow, I called the store in NY and have ordered a little of the pastel canvas to try it out. Also ordered some pva glue…hope it is the right thing to use? Not sure if I want to put in onto stretcher bars, …have to see what it is like. In your experience, do you glue it to gatorboard…or something else? Do you need to prepare it in any other way? So many questions…sorry.

Interesting to hear about Plexi. I haven’t used that for a while except as a surface to work on, on top of my drafting table.
Maggie

PeggyB
07-13-2007, 01:25 PM
Maggie, Blue is right - that little painting is marvelous! My inclination would be to slowly increase the size of what you do until you are comfortable working larger, but that's just me. I know myself well enough to know that's how I'm most comfortable when I change from small to large.

I've used the pastel cloth in the far distant past, and didn't like it at all. I didn't think it held as much pigment as I wanted it to. Maybe what is being produced today is different, but the description Blue gives seems about what I remember it being.

Have you tried roughing the surface of the gator board before applying any glue? A light sanding is what is recommended on the site that I mentioned earlier.

The temps have cooled enough around here now - I even heard thunder just now, and that's very unusual in this area - I will go to the art supply store and see if I can get some of the Lascaux spray varnish to go with my Lascaux spray fixative, and some liquid matt acrylic varnish as well as a new brush. I have some little pieces that were demos that I'm willing to "sacrifice" to the cause.

Peggy

Better get off the computer - this is real thunder!!!

bluefish
07-13-2007, 01:30 PM
Maggie

when you get the p-cloth you can decide how to mound it to the gatorboard - I see no problem with the PVA glue but see my 'hint' above!

when you get the material, you will have a tough decision on which side to paint on - there is a thread around here where both Peggy and I talk about the reverse side and painting on it - do some more research - I like the 'linen' side better than the 'interfacing' side - but you can use either!

when I get some time to 'play' this fall, I'm going to mount a piece of P-cloth to a large sheet of gator board and try varnishing it for a show! No mats or plexi!

when you start doing your 30x40's you have to use plexi - shows won't take glass and it's to heavy, besides, it gives the paintings a green tint!

'bluefish':cool:

bluefish
07-13-2007, 09:25 PM
Peggy

very interested in the results of your 'playing' - please keep us updated - I'm always interested in your 'progressive techniques'!.......'bluefish' :thumbsup: