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artinwc
01-27-2008, 10:36 AM
Hi,

I'm pretty new to pastels and to the pastel forums of WC (pretty familiar on the watercolor forums). I recently began playing with PanPastels and got interested in the stick pastels as well. However, I can't find a thread about how to frame pastel paintings. When I searched on "framing", it was occasionally mentioned in a few threads, but I'm sure there must be more information if I knew the right place to look. I also checked in the Studio Tips/Framing forum and found little there either.

I am used to doing my own framing of watercolors and use plexiglass as the glaze. However, I saw a few mentions of not being able to use plexiglass with pastels...and a mention of a product called Tend that reduces static.

Before I go any further with pastels, I would like to know that I will be able to frame them in an appropriate manner. I would appreciate any information anyone can provide on framing, or help with my search for more information.

Thanks so much!
Judith

sielograms
01-27-2008, 11:07 AM
I have used FrameTek spacers to keep the glass or plexiglass from touching the pastel surface. If using a mat it can go between the mat and the painting. There are some that say putint the glass right on top of the pastel is ok, but I can't bring myself to try that. The website for FrameTek is
www.frametek.com
I hope this helps.
Sharon

Paula Ford
01-27-2008, 12:44 PM
I have just framed 10 pieces in the last couple of days. Some have spacers (Econospacer) and some I framed against the glass, making sure that the painting and glass are completely secure and unmoveable in the frame. Some shows require plexi, so you can use it with pastels.

I often purchase frames that already come with glass and backing at Hobby Lobby and Michaels, which makes it an easy task to frame when using paper or Ampersand pastelbord.

Paula

P.S. One of the GREASTEST items I purchased lately is a point driver!!

artinwc
01-27-2008, 12:54 PM
Thanks, Sharon and Paula. I visited both your websites and found such lovely paintings!

I will get some spacers. From what I understand, if you do use a mat, you would put the spacer between the mat and the painting so that if dust falls, it will fall behind the mat. For my watercolors, I usually buy frame chop and my husband assembles the frames. He also cuts the plexi from large sheets I buy and then I do the mats and backing boards and mount the artwork. I do have a point driver and can't imagine how I could get along without one.

Paula that is interesting that you can put the pastel right next to the glass. I guess if it's secure, there's nowhere for anything to fall.

I was hoping I'd fall in love with acrylics as the framing is so simple. But no...the pastels got to my heart first.:)

Thanks again,
Judith

sielograms
01-27-2008, 01:13 PM
Judith, Where do you buy the large sheets of plexiglass? What does your husband use to cut the plexiglass? Do you use a special cleaner for the plexiglass? I have only framed a few paintings using plexiglass and have just used water to clean it. I also understand there is something that can be used to cut down on the static. I visited your website and ejoyed looking at the beautiful watercolors. I especially like your mixed media, what different mediums have you used together?
Sharon

artinwc
01-27-2008, 01:40 PM
Thanks, Sharon, for visiting my website. I'm glad you enjoyed the paintings. The mixed media is something I took up last summer and although it's mostly traditional watercolor paint, I also used watercolor pencils and Caran d' Ache water soluble crayons. For extra texture, I applied pieces of 10 gram Unryu (a Japanese fibered rice paper). I also used India inks with watercolor in a couple of the paintings, and one was just colored pencil ("Orpheus"). My next "mixed media" has become pastels highligting watercolors, although I'm not "there" yet. :)

I see that you also work in oils and had a really beautiful watercolor on your website as well. I admire your versatility. Although I have some oil paints lurking in a dark corner, I've not gotten myself to actually working with them to any degree.

There is a wholesale frame supply business about 80 miles away and I buy most of my framing materials, including the plexi, from them. They even deliver once a week. My husband has an electric table saw, for which he purchased a special blade for cutting acrylic and plastic (a carbide-tipped blade). I think the blade cost around $40 online and I think Home Depot sells them also. It's an expensive blade but it's supposed to last a very long time. It's very easy for him to use. I had previously ordered my plexi pre-cut from a local glass company and would always end up with poor cuts, incorrect measurements, etc.

I read about a product called Tend that's supposed to help cut down on static. Currently, I just use the Novus cleaner made for plexi, but it doesn't help a lot and I'm going to see if I can find the Tend.

Judith

PeggyB
01-27-2008, 04:08 PM
Oh boy Judith - where to start! OK, the beginning. As many long time WC members know, I worked for a gallery that did framing, and have 14 years experience there plus another almost 10 years since I quit working there. I'm going to try to take this one step at a time.

1. The framing "archivist" in me says never place your glazing directly on the face of any original artwork on paper - pastel, watercolor, acrylic, oil or any other medium. The reason is not because of the medium involved, but because paper needs to have "breathing room" from both front and back or it will over time mold. Especially in more humid climates. If you are using pastels on a prepared board such as masonite or some other hard board, then the pastels themselves need that breathing room so they won't mold. If archival framing isn't a concern of yours, then do as you please.

2.Glazing. Traditionally glass is the preferred glazing. However, I've successfully used plexi/acrylic sheeting, and since you are using primarily Pan Pastels that have very little problem with dusting I think you can probably do the same too. I use a static control spray that I got from American Frames, but it is no longer the one they sell, and the new brand is the one you are not happy with, Novus. They also have a scratch removal kit for acrylic sheeting. In a "pinch" you can use a clothes dryer anti-static cloth such as "Bounce" to wipe down the surface of the plexi. It takes a lot longer to do this though so I don't reommend it for your primary cleaner. American Frames also sells acrylic sheeting that is UV protection and also nonglare UV protection. I've not used the nonglare so I don't know how much it changes the color of the artwork. I should tell you though that my reasons for using plexi has been only to ship it to shows that require it or once when the painting was so large it would have weighed more than I wanted it to for hanging on a wall if I'd used glass. Work that comes back from shows is reframed with glass because although it isn't much, it does "breath" more than acrylic sheeting.

3. Matting - to be or not to be that is the question. Should you choose to use mats, I recommend either a single linen wrapped mat, or double archival mats (triple is ok if you don't mind the expense). You can use the spacers under the mats, but another method is to use 1/8 inch acid free foam core under the mats. Cut strips of foam core about a quarter to half inch narrower than your bottom mat, and adhese them with double backed tape (ATG tape) to the back of the mat. This will provide the channel in which pastel dust may drop. If you want true archival framing, use archival mat scrapes, and to get more depth double them. I'm not going in to the conversation about using off white or colored mats here as there are other threads that recently discussed this matter. If you want no mats, then use the spacers between the glass or plexi and the artwork. This method works best for paintings that are on ridged surfaces - either papers spray fixed to foam core or other ridged pastel painting surfaces. Loose papers tend to buckel without a firm permanent support.

4. Mounting Board - For archival purposes, 4 ply archival mounting board works best. This will be the board on which your artwork is placed. I happen to use the "T" mount method of taping the work to the board. There are several different types of tapes available that are archival. If you need more backing to help fill the rabbet of the frame, you can use acid free foam core behind the archival mounting board. for non archival framing, but better than most purposes, use the acid free foam core as your backing board. Never use cardboard as the acid in that product will soon "burn" your pastel paper leaving a nasty yellowed to browned appearance and slowly "eating away" the pastel paper.

5. The Frame - metal frames are not recommended for pastels. The metal is more flexible than wooden frames, and may "help" in creating more dusting. I suppose a small 8 x 10 metal frame wouldn't be too bad, but anything larger may be more trouble than it is worth. Wooden frames need to have a sufficiently deep rabbet to hold all the necessary pieces for framing, and I find anything less than about 5/8 inch just too narrow a rabbet to handle glass, spacer or mats, artwork and backing.

6. Finish - always finish the back of the framing by putting a "dust cover" of paper on the back of the frame. Again, double backed ATG tape is recommended for this purpose. Use only flat hangers for the hanging wire. Some galleries specifically refuse "eye" type hangers because they are more inclined to put holes or marks on the walls. Use professional grade hanging wire sufficient to hold the weight of the painting. Make the wire just loose enough to come within about 2 inches from the top of the frame. A wire that is strung tightly is a irritation that is too difficult to place over the wall hanger.

7. Additional Suggestion - If you want to notify your clients about how to care for their new pastel, I recommend placeing a short paragraph on "The Care and Handling of Pastels" both on the back of the mounting board inside the frame, and on the outside back of the framed painting. Too often with time the backing paper gets damaged so having the instructions in both places helps to assure the preservation of your work long term. For your convenience, here's the information I suggested in another post, suede matboard, archival or not?
Some information to include might be:
*Where to hang the work (not on a wall that gets a lot of sun exposure which can create humidity behind the glass. Also, hang paintings on interior walls.)
*Never store the work or place it with the face down
*Don't jar the painting excessively
*If you've used conservation glass, let them know how to care for it
*Some artists even include information about reframing if for any reason they may want to do that. Included in that info is the caution about never allowing the painting to be permanently affixed to another surface (such as spray fixed to another board, and if they do you are not responsible for fixing any damage that may occur.)
*Perhaps you have other concerns to include in this paragraph.

I hopes this helps you Judith. Of course there are other means of framing, but what I've given you here is basically the tried and true methods. If you or anyone else has any questions, please feel free to ask. I know to those who aren't too familiar with framing thier own work, this may seem complicated in some ways, but after a few hundred framings it will be as easy - and boring! - as cleaning your house.

Peggy

artinwc
01-27-2008, 07:36 PM
Hi Peggy,

Thanks so much for giving me such thorough and complete information on framing these pastels. A good bit of the information you provided applies to watercolor as well, e.g., not putting the painting next to the glass, using archival materials, etc.

I am glad to hear that you've had successful experiences using plexiglass with pastels as that is what I'll probably use most of the time. If I'm framing a watercolor for someone in particular, I always ask what their preferences are in regard to glazing. But for any paintings that I know will go to a local/area gallery or show, plexi works best for me. I do use the UV protected plexi, but haven't worked with the UV non-glare. I'm going to find some info on the product Tend, and see if it is what I've read others say. For now, the Novus is okay and does do a good job of cleaning. The tiniest airborne particles just love to land under the plexi on a white mat, so I may try using spacers and avoiding the mat...to see how I like it. I'm sure that will vary from painting to painting. I do mostly use white or off-white mats, as the galleries in this area require that.

I always use the museum quality matboard and appreciate the tip about using the archival foam core beneath the matboard. That sounds like a good idea. The archival foam core is also what I use for a backing board with my watercolors, using archival tape and hinge-mounting. I'm thinking that's the same as the "T" mount positioning of tape you mention.

Thanks for the tip on metal frames. I also avoid them unless a particular show requires them as the corners are never what I like.

I like to finish the backs of my framed watercolors as you describe here and I appreciate the tip about providing information on where to hang the painting, how to care for it, etc. in printed form on the back of the painting. Great idea!

I feel much better having some confidence now that I won't approach framing my pastels totally ignorant.

Thanks so much for all this valuable information. I appreciate the time it took to step through the process and write it all down so thoroughly.

Judith

bluefish
01-27-2008, 07:53 PM
Judith

There is a wealth of information on this site on 'plexi' - including technical stuff,that you, with your background will understand.- do a search!

As you know, 'static' charges are random over the surface of the 'plexi', therefore must be collected and taken 'home' to ground! The simplist and best method to do this is with a damp cloth and your body to ground contact! Its all that's required - I use plexi on all my paintings, including 32"x40"! Hope this helps! 'blue....':wave:

Bringer
01-27-2008, 09:01 PM
Hi,

I guess that even when acrylic, or any kind of material like policarbonate an dalikes (not plexiglass, since that's a brand) are sprayed with an anti-static product, in the long term they'll loose that feature. Acrylic is also far more scratchable.
Acrylic is usually recomended for shows (when demanded) or for places where there are children (safety precautions).
Mind that framed glass is far more resistant than a sheet of glass on its own, so shipping worries are often exagerated.
There is however acrylic which is anti-static on its nature(if I'm not mistaken) and museum quality, you just have to pay for it.
Peggy posted some really good advices and I do think that glass should not be placed against a pastel, unless one can seal it hemerticaly (sp?) which I doubt.

Kind regards,

Josť

Donna A
01-28-2008, 01:21 AM
I agree with Jose about what great advice Peggy has shared. Just exceptional information, Peggy, covering all the aspects. This would be one of those good posts/threads to rate since so many artists need this info. Let's see---how does one do that? STILL so much to learn about using WC!

I've held my pastel paintings to my backing boards with the clear plastic material that has a peel-off strip that sticks to the backing board, leaving half the width fee to cover the painting's edges. Nothing at all is attached to the painting itself---and the piece can be easily removed without having to do anything but slipping it out. I'm probably not expressing this very well, but if anyone is curious, tomorrow I can look for the name and perhaps even photo it. I can cut the strips to size and these have worked perfectly for years. I just like so much not having to 'interfere' with my paintings in any way.

I have always framed my pastels as I have my oils, with the exception of the glass. That is---I've always used linen liners rather than mats---and more recently have simply been using the econospacers as someone earlier mentioned to keep the glass away from the painting surface---and no mats, no linen liner.

Gosh---cleaning glass---the last little specs of dust. The only really horrid part of framing paintings. :-) I tend to spray some water into the air around the framing area to keep any dust in the air pretty much settled (runs rampant in my house and has nothing to do with the pastels!) And always a fresh sheet of brown or butchers paper to work on. The humidity in the air is especially helpful when we are having to frame with plexiglass. Static loves the dry air!

Would love to hear others comments on dealing with glass cleaning, etc. Peggy, what are the 'secrets' in the galleries when framing is being done?

Also---cutting the backing paper to fit the back of the frame. I use a fresh exacto knife blade and glide it along the edge of the frame back---but I always think there must be a better specific way of doing it. Would love any ideas on that, as well! Thanks so much! Donna ;-}

PeggyB
01-28-2008, 07:01 PM
I've held my pastel paintings to my backing boards with the clear plastic material that has a peel-off strip that sticks to the backing board, leaving half the width fee to cover the painting's edges. Nothing at all is attached to the painting itself---and the piece can be easily removed without having to do anything but slipping it out. I'm probably not expressing this very well, but if anyone is curious, tomorrow I can look for the name and perhaps even photo it. I can cut the strips to size and these have worked perfectly for years. I just like so much not having to 'interfere' with my paintings in any way.

I have always framed my pastels as I have my oils, with the exception of the glass. That is---I've always used linen liners rather than mats---and more recently have simply been using the econospacers as someone earlier mentioned to keep the glass away from the painting surface---and no mats, no linen liner.

Would love to hear others comments on dealing with glass cleaning, etc. Peggy, what are the 'secrets' in the galleries when framing is being done?

Also---cutting the backing paper to fit the back of the frame. I use a fresh exacto knife blade and glide it along the edge of the frame back---but I always think there must be a better specific way of doing it. Would love any ideas on that, as well! Thanks so much! Donna ;-}

Donna those mounting strips of which you are struggling to remember the name are called - TA DA!
Archival Mounting Strips - Perhaps the name was too obvious :lol: They are a fabulous alternative to hinge taping. One place they are easily available is through American Frames - no I don't get a commission from AF - I just find them easy to deal with.

Glass cleaning: Ummmm - dry air? Is that something to worry about when one lives in the Pacific NorthWET? LOL I don't think there are any "secrets" to keeping what we called "Greebers" at bay. Greebers are an invented word from the gallery owner who on one day of great frustration told me, "These darn Greebers are breeding!" They especially like posters that have a lot of black or very dark background.... :lol: We found a specialty cleaning rag from our suppier to be the best thing to use when cleaning the glass. They have a very low lint residue, and as I recall were called "Box of Rags" ! They aren't available to the general public in this area at least. At home I use Kirkland brand paper towels when cleaning glass, and anti-static acrylic/plexi cleaner and 100% cotton rags on the acrylic/plexi glazing. On either glass or acrylic/plexi the fewer swipes one makes the lesss likelyhood the the Greebers will appear.

Dust Cover Trimmer: Well in a pinch your method works, but it is easier and faster to use a professional "dust cover trimmer". Again available through American Frame, and only $6.25.

Happy framing everyone!
Peggy

HarvestMoon
01-28-2008, 07:14 PM
I just buy pre-cut matts and glass frames when hobby lobby has them for 1/2 off..... but today I saw painting in the dr.'s office of original art that was matted in FOUR matts!!!! it looked terrific.... but wow....oh.. she used the matte surface glass and I know from the hobby lobby framer (love you guy) that the Hobby Lobby glass cleaner is top notch...