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Donna T
12-30-2008, 08:13 PM
I was wondering if any of you routinely fix your pastel paintings with steam and if you do, is the painting affected? I would try just about anything to keep pastel particles from messing up my mats. It's so frustrating to have to take a picture apart after framing to remove one errant little speck - but if I can see it I know others will as well. This is from Maggie Price's interview with Dennis Rhoades from the December 2007 Pastel Journal:

"I use a steam iron and distilled water, holding the iron about 2 inches above the flat surface of the pastel, moving it back and forth until it's very wet."

He goes on to say that the color isn't affected and that lightly touching the surface will not remove any pigment. It just seems like the steam would melt the pastel particles together and alter their luminosity. Perhaps an experiment is in order ...

Donna

Deborah Secor
12-30-2008, 09:11 PM
Do an experiment, Donna, as I want to know too! I've never tried it. My iron would probably drip hideous big rusty drops on it...if I could even find it. (It's here somewhere!) I've heard of people using a clothing steamer, steaming through from the back, which seems better to me. A lot depends on the porosity of the paper, I expect.

Deborah

Adriana Meiss
12-30-2008, 10:23 PM
Donna, I remember reading that article! I would try it on my stinkers first.

To minimize the problem of loose particles I usually put a sheet of glassine on top of the pastel and with a paper towel of soft cloth I go over the work, top to bottom, left to right, putting pressure at the same time. You end up with a transfer, but it's better to have pastel on the glassine than on the mat.

Although I do not like to use fixative, I do so only when I have large dark areas and apply the fixative only there.

I know how frustrating it is to frame and having to undo everything because of a wretched spec! I'm seriously thinking on how to modify my frames to make the work easily accessible.
If you try this method and if it works for you, please let us know!

annette71
12-31-2008, 01:48 AM
This topic is all very interesting...i've never tried the steam as fixative.

However, I haven't had bad experiences with loose particles after framing...i think it's because most of my work is on sanded paper and the pastel really hangs on to it. But for extra care i will also try Adriana's glassine method. It sounds like a good idea.

If you try out the steam, please let us know how it goes!
I'm very curious... :)

Annette

knippes
12-31-2008, 08:00 AM
Wow, steaming the pastels sounds fascinating. I'd love to know how it works. I've got a 24"x36" piece coming up that is going to have to get shipped across the US and I'm really nervous about getting it their intact.
-Kym

Donna T
12-31-2008, 08:49 AM
So it looks like I need to experiment! Thanks for the input, ladies, and Adriana I will definitely try your glassine method! Anything, anything to keep those annoying specs off the mats. I also wonder how much the glass is to blame - maybe the static on the glass pulls the particles off? In the PJ article Mr. Rhoades says he steamed half a painting and compared how much came off with equal finger pressure. If I can get some decent light for photography I'll post my results later today.

Donna

Potoma
12-31-2008, 09:50 AM
Adriana,
I am so glad to see someone else burnishing, too. My framer loves it b/c it makes my stuff so much easier to frame.

Mine are burnished, in part, b/c I carry them in Dakota's KOOOL binder and each page is between glassine. During painting, sometimes I will close and press on the binder to burnish as I go. I have a brayer for if I work larger.

westcoast_Mike
12-31-2008, 09:50 AM
I haven't tried it myself but an Artist I work with did give it a shot when that article came out. She at first was dissapointed with the results and brought it in to show us. What she found to her surprise then was after sitting a day or two, it did set up fairly well so particles did not come off to the touch. I can't speak for any color shift though.

Deborah Secor
12-31-2008, 10:20 AM
I've been burnishing paintings forever but I don't use glassine because it seems rather resistant and slick. My method is to place a clean sheet of newsprint on top and use the flat of my hand to briskly and thoroughly rub the pastel into place. Newsprint is slightly rough and a little bit porous, and less expensive than anything else! I have a pad of 18x24" newsprint that is specially devoted to this. I tear sheets into fours for smaller paintings and use the back and front, so often there is a stack of 'used' (on one side) sheets stuck into the pad, but since it's for this use I know it won't be overly dusty. I paint mostly on Wallis, which receives the pastel so well that burnishing almost completely removes any loose dust--but of course I also give each painting a good rap on all four sides on the cement floor before framing it. Only Wallis is sturdy enough to take this pounding! What with rapping and burnishing (usually in that order) I haven't found the specks to be that much of a problem in framing.

I'm still interested in knowing about this steaming process, however! Donna, I'm looking forward to the information. :)

Deborah

Donna T
12-31-2008, 05:57 PM
Well, it sounds like burnishing is something I need to be doing to my paintings. It's good to know it works so well for you, Bonnie and Deborah. I'll have to check it out with glassine and with newsprint. My only concern is that you would be flattening those little peaks and textured areas that can help give a little more interest to the painting, but I guess it's a trade off. Mike, is your friend still steaming her pastels or was it a one-time-only thing?

Here are the results of my experiment. It felt strange holding an iron over a pastel instead of a wrinkled shirt!

1.This is the little (6x8) plein air painting I used. It's very rough and unfinished looking so if it gets destroyed it's no big loss. It's on Wallis Pro that I mounted to some rag board.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2008/97763-P1010757WC_pre-steam.jpg

I laid the painting on the ironing board and got the iron ready to steam. Then I covered the right half of the painting with a piece of mat board so that it would not be affected by the steam.

2. Here's a shot of the steam being applied. It's hard to take a photo and hold the iron in the right place! :lol: As Mr. Rhoades suggested, I held the iron about 2 in. above the painting and kept it moving until the surface seemed to be about as wet as it was going to get. You can see where the pastel is getting darker where the steam is touching the painting. The darker areas seemed to get noticeably darker and it was hard to tell if the lighter areas were being affected at all.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2008/97763-P1010769WC_steam.jpg

3. I removed the mat board. Here's what it looked like right after steaming. You can see how much lighter the unsteamed (right) side looks.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2008/97763-P1010759WC_post-steam.jpg

4. In the Pastel Journal article, Dennis Rhoades said that he lets his paintings dry overnight but I'm impatient and want to know if it works! After five hours it appears that the wetter, darker areas on the left now match the value of the darks on the right so I think it's dry enough to give it the finger test. I press one finger firmly onto each side of the painting, in a similarly dense, grassy area of the field, and count to three.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2008/97763-20081231_0772touch_WC.jpg

Now the part you've all been waiting for ... drumroll please ...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2008/97763-20081231_0778resultWC.jpg

5. A lot less pastel came off of the steamed side! I didn't expect the results to be this noticeable. When I held the painting up in the sunlight to look at it closely I was very happy to still see all of those tiny, diamond-like sparkles - on both sides! Even the little textured lumps and bumps were still there; it appears that the pastel did not melt into the surface of the paper.

6. Here's a shot of the steamed and dried painting. I really can't tell that anything was done to it and there's no visible difference from one side to the other.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2008/97763-20081231_0768WCpost_steam.jpg

Thanks for bearing with me through all these photos! I might just try steaming a few more pieces and hopefully there won't be so many unwelcome surprises after they are framed!

Donna

Deborah Secor
12-31-2008, 06:10 PM
Ooooo, thanks for showing us Donna! It seems to work. Nice little painting... :D

I wonder what would happen to a piece of Wallis that wasn't mounted to a board, though. Do you think it would buckle or warp the paper?

It also seems as if you might need to try it with different papers, too, so maybe some others will give it a go! Would this work on Canson Mi-Tientes, Art Spectrum, suede matboard, Sansfix, Somerset Velvet? NOT on La Carte, I don't think! If anyone else tries it, I hope we hear (and/or see) the results.

Donna, let us know if there's any further change overnight. I doubt it, but you never know!

Deborah

Donna T
12-31-2008, 06:44 PM
I wouldn't have any great expectations for steaming unmounted paper, Deborah. It might work on watercolor paper, especially the 300lb. When I first tried this I covered the right half of the painting with a sheet of sketch paper and it warped up as soon as the steam hit it. I switched to the heavier mat board so no steam would get under that side. Maybe taping unmounted paper down would work ... I'll have to try that!

Donna

knippes
12-31-2008, 08:10 PM
Wow Donna, thanks so much for the report. I'm going to have to give it a go too. Has anyone ever tried it with LaCarte?? Pastel won't stick if it gets wet, but perhaps it would work after the painting is complete. Guess its my turn to experiment. Only problem is, I have no idea where the iron is. Guess its time for a spring cleaning...
-Kym

Potoma
12-31-2008, 10:28 PM
Good grief!

I'm with Kym. I have no idea where the iron is, but it'd be worth it to try.

Donna, is this your modus operandi now?

Donna T
01-01-2009, 09:14 AM
Kym, I haven't used La Carte much but thought that it couldn't take any water, ever. I wouldn't be surprised if the combination of water and heat would take the surface right off of this paper along with any pastel on it!

Bonnie, It felt good to get the iron out and use it. I am a reformed quilter and now I can stop feeling so guilty for having a nice iron and not using it. I'm going to try this on another few "disposable" paintings (plein air flops!)before I get up the nerve to try it on a good one, just in case!

Donna

bluefish
01-01-2009, 12:09 PM
thank you for the experiments - very interesting!

Degas steamed his pastels to the surface - why not e'mail him to see how he did it! :D actually he did it somehow from the rear of his painting - I'm sure someone could elaborate more on this!

'blue....':thumbsup:

edencompton
01-01-2009, 12:27 PM
Thanks for the experiment Donna! I may have to give it a try!

mrking
01-01-2009, 05:18 PM
Wow Donna, thanks so much for the report. I'm going to have to give it a go too. Has anyone ever tried it with LaCarte?? Pastel won't stick if it gets wet, but perhaps it would work after the painting is complete. Guess its my turn to experiment. Only problem is, I have no idea where the iron is. Guess its time for a spring cleaning...
-Kym

Something tells me it won't work with La Carte. Once any type of water gets on that surface it just wipes off.

SandyRGA
01-02-2009, 09:39 AM
Donna ,thanks so much for sharing this experiment with us and taking those photos. I'd like to experiment with it altho I mainly use papers and Sennelier pastel card so it might not work - but it's worth a try on some of my worst paintings.

Sandy

Donna T
01-02-2009, 11:36 AM
Bluefish, If I could contact Edgar and ask how he steamed his pastels I would! From the back, huh? I wonder how much steam actually got through. On second thought, maybe you should call him - from what I've read he didn't have much regard for women artists except for Ms. Cassatt.

Eden, Michael and Sandy, it's kind of a fun thing to do. Just try it on something that you won't mind losing, just in case!

Donna

Peiwend
01-02-2009, 01:32 PM
Donna, thanks for all the useful information.

I'm just wondering how this would work on underpainting, instead of brushing on water, and between layers, instead of workable fixative. Just a thought...

It's probably a good idea to use only distilled water. Unfortunately, my iron is not working well and spits!

_____________________________Wendell

Sonni
01-02-2009, 02:54 PM
I've been watching this thread--and waiting. Looks good to me and easier, less toxic, less expensive than canned fixitive. Would you care to carry the experiment a little further? Try another layer of pastel on the steamed area and then steam again. Well, sure, I could try it--but I don't own an iron.
Yet.

Ah, Wendell--good point. Steam the dry pastel and get out the hair dryer for oil pastel. I like multi use gadgets. Has anyone tried using the oven? Just a thought.

helenh
01-02-2009, 03:54 PM
What's next - the microwave?

Helen

Sonni
01-02-2009, 04:44 PM
Tea kettle and a hair dryer..:D :D
I couldn't stand it. No iron, but a steam kettle, and more hair dryers than I know what to do with. And I was struggling with this painting. So, why not...

The first one is steamed--lotsa steam coming out from the kettle. Before I did it, I pressed my fingers on the dark part of the vines and the red tractor. Color on them big time. Held the steam about 10-15 seconds. Painting darkened. Like this.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2009/111873-1-01-09_steamed_tractor_wet.jpg

Wait hours for it to dry. Un-uhn. Got out the hair dryer. So it now looks close to what it did before steaming--hmmm, the uploader has ceased to cooperate. Anyway, the downside is that the Wallis paper was taped on to a board and did buckle a bit. Not enough that it can't be mounted. And I am busy going over parts that were giving me headaches. Nice scumbles are working. This has gotta be the bright spot of my day. Thanks, Donna!

Trying the uploader again..
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2009/111873-1-01-09_steamed_tractor_dry.jpg

Potoma
01-02-2009, 05:06 PM
Steaming provides new life! Who knew?

PS - hmmm, I found my iron.

Deborah Secor
01-02-2009, 05:11 PM
Tea kettle!? Okay, that settles it--I have to go get one. I'm tired of by-the-cup in the microwave, and if I can use it for artwork, too....more justification! I need an electric kettle for the cold studio anyway. Humidity and tea, now fixitive. Perfect!

Deborah

bluefish
01-02-2009, 05:28 PM
Sonni

A very nice piece of work - how did you steam it? Did you hold it upside down so that the steam hit it coming out of the kettle? Does your kettle shoot steam in a horizontal direction, therefore placing the painting in a verticle position next to the pot?

Did the hair dryer blow off any pastel flakes?

Did you 'wack' the painting or burnish it before steaming?

How large is the painting? Would your method work on a 32"x40" pastel painting?

Thank you so much for reading and responding to my questions ( since Degas isn't available to answer my call :D , I have to rely on your expertise).

We will all benefit from you generous information - have a pleasant evening>

'blue....' :wave:

Donna T
01-02-2009, 05:43 PM
Wendell, I don't see why you couldn't use steam to fix between layers. Pastel will still come off if you rub it and the steam won't dissolve the particles like water or alcohol so this might be worth trying!

Nice painting, Sonni and I'm glad you got creative with your tea kettle! I can see it now, a new product in the art catalogs, the "Sonni Steamer Pastel Fixer" :) Offer it in several colors, OK? I would like to know how you did this too - horizontal or vertical? Did you notice that the dark areas of your painting seemed to be more affected by the steam, or at least did it appear that way when the painting was wet? Now that your painting is dry do you notice any loss of intensity or vibrancy? My painting still seems the same and I'm going to steam the other half now that I know it won't ruin it. Thanks for doing this!

Donna

binkie
01-02-2009, 05:52 PM
Sonni, Beautiful painting!!!!

I'd also be interested in exactly how you did it. Also how far from the kettle did you hold the paper?

binkie

knippes
01-02-2009, 06:21 PM
Has anyone tried this yet with a clothes steamer? I'm afraid if I buy an iron, my hubby might want me to start ironing his shirts...:o I looked online, and you can buy a clothes steamer for about the same price as a good iron. I thought that perhaps it might put out more steam and make the process quicker. Any thoughts or anyone know of a good steamer?
-Kym

Sonni
01-02-2009, 06:21 PM
OK...here's what I did:

1-banged the daylights out of the board it was taped to to knock of dust (there were a lot of layers on this).:eek:

2-put about a cup or so of water in the kettle (too much and it sputters) on the electric burner and waited until it built up a head of steam (it toots).:music:

3- took off the tooter and leaned the board at a slight angle toward the spout. Had it TOO close :eek: and could see spotting so moved it back to about 12 inches. (heats still on, kettle still on heat).

4- turned painting upside down and repeated. I was concerned about even distribution. (heat still on, kettle still on heat). My guess is that I did this between 6-7 seconds on each turn.

Yes, I saw the darks darkening, and pulled back when they really got dark. I also saw the lights darkening, or the color underneath the lights coming through. That was a pretty interesting process and I almost forgot what it was I was doing. :rolleyes:

5- I brought the painting back to the studio and took a photo, and let the painting sit as long as it took me to get out the hair dryer and find a plug...
I used the high and hot setting (no patience, here), moving the dryer back and forth across the painting--maybe a minute or two? Put my finger on the dark and red, only a very small shadow of color. I did not notice any dust blowing off while I was drying.

I don't know how this would work on a larger painting (this is 12x16). When I do it again, I'll steam from all 4 sides as I noticed a couple places where either the pastel was thicker or the steam didn't penetrate as much, that more pastel did come off on my finger when I tested.

Now that it's dry, I am painting over with scumbles that work where they didn't before. I don't notice a loss of vibrancy. If anything some of the lightest lights are a little darker. Since I'm going over the area again, I'm getting a better quality of light. I'm also able to get a better quality of darks.

For sure I wouldn't do this on the Sennelier vegetable paper, or anything not permanently adhered to a support. The buckling was very slight, though.

p.s. I e-mailed Degas. He said, "no comment.";) :D

Deborah Secor
01-02-2009, 07:04 PM
What paper is this, Sonni? Did you say and I missed it?

Will you try it on porous paper from the back?

Deborah

DocBoots
01-02-2009, 07:15 PM
I am so heartened at how many of you don't own or can't find your irons!!
(When my mom was a young homemaker she ironed the family's underwear! Fortunately by the time I came along she was too busy running a small business to be so anal - but I've always felt a little guilty that my iron rusts between uses!).

This is another fabulous thread - I haven't been using fixative at all but I'm nervous when I have to transport them. This seems like such a nice (and as was said before - nontoxic!) way to do it!!

~~ Boots ~~

Sonni
01-02-2009, 08:56 PM
Deborah, it's professional grade wallis sanded paper. I'll hunt through my stuff to see what there is on unsanded porous paper. Do it from the back? Is that what Degas did?

Boots, I haven't owned an iron for decades.

Deborah Secor
01-02-2009, 09:28 PM
I own two irons, having combined households with my mom lately, and I can't locate either one! If it needs ironing I don't use it, then sooner or later it gets recycled out the door.

Sonni, I know some people have done it through the paper from the back, but I have no idea why! Canson seems like it would turn to mush (probably not, but it seems wimpy to me.) What about something like watercolor paper?

Gang, be sure to rate this thread, too! We want this one in the Library...

Deborah

Potoma
01-02-2009, 09:31 PM
If it needs ironing I don't use it, then sooner or later it gets recycled out the door.
I don't suppose it is recommended to toss a pastel in the dryer. Anybody up for trying that experiment?
:evil:

nana b
01-02-2009, 10:47 PM
I've been following this thread with great interest. I decided to try it myself. I do have a good steam iron (not that I use it that much) and I have steamed three tonight. My steam iron worked great..no drips or runs. If this works, I will be steaming all my painings from now on.
I'm going to take a look at them in the morning and will report back tomorrow on how they held up. I hope it works to my satisfaction because I'm getting tired of worrying about the fragility of the pastels in storing and framing. I definately don't like the spray fixative. Wet canvas is awesome! Thanks Donna for starting this thread and everyone else too!

nana

Peiwend
01-02-2009, 10:57 PM
Well, well, well, here I am thinking that old guys like me are the only ones who don't do much ironing. LOL

______________________________Wendell

Sonni
01-02-2009, 11:38 PM
Nana, why don't you put them in the oven on low for 10 minutes?

Wendell, at 35 I didn't do much ironing. What do they look like, by the way. The same?

Deborah, I tried it on a sketch done 4 years ago on vellum. Must have been in a coastal Mexican town, because there aren't any palm trees where I live. Lots of pastel, lots of dust (I was a pastel wannabe then). Since I don't care what happens to it, I steamed the back for a looooong time. Nada. Stuff still came off on my fingers. So I steamed the front for a long time 2-3 minutes, until the steam ran out. Then dried with the hair dryer. Some pastel is coming off, but not as much as before it was steamed. Not as successful as the Wallis paper. Didn't try working over it as it's destined to be fire fodder.

Before, dry
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2009/111873-1-01-09_steamed_palms_before.jpg

Damp after steaming both sides (it curled but I put a book on it and it flattened out again)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2009/111873-1-01-09_steamed_palms_wet.jpg

The tea kettle (in case you're wondering...:D )
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2009/111873-1-01-09_steamed_tea_kettle.jpg

Dried after using hair dryer
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jan-2009/111873-1-01-09_steamed_palms_dried.jpg

nvcricket
01-02-2009, 11:44 PM
THIS IS THE BEST THREAD! I was sucked into buying a steam cleaner off a late night tv sales pitch, I have an iron, and I also have a tea kettle. Will try all three

CAROL

bluefish
01-03-2009, 07:27 AM
At one of the museums with a large collection of Degas paintings (Barnes Museum, MET, Philly Museum, etc.) they stated that he somehow steamed the back of the paper to hold the pastel - of course there was no 'wallis' or other modern papers and a lot of the early artist used plain brown paper - I'll see if I can find anymore info on Degas methods and will post it here - maybe a search of the 'Barnes Museum', outside Philly will have something - they own a lot of his 'Dancers' series.

The 'microwave' oven was a 'tongue-in-cheek' comment but may have some testing possibilities - everything gets soggy in the microwave, therefore it may impart a small amount of moisture, enough to hold the pastel - will our testing dept and/or Nana try it out and report back to us.

'blue....':angel:

Donna T
01-03-2009, 09:49 AM
Hmmm ... I'm wondering how steaming the back of the paper would make any difference and how on earth do you hold it and steam at the same time without burning yourself? Did Degas hang all his pastels on a clothesline or something and steam them from the back? If you put them face down seems like you would lose a lot of pastel and possibly risk smudging them. I hope you guys don't get carried away with microwaves and ovens and dryers. :eek: :lol:

Nana, what kind of paper are your paintings on? Mounted or unmounted?

Sonni, So you're saying that steaming a sanded surface like Wallis is more effective than steaming a surface with little or no tooth. I guess that makes sense.

I'm going to see how Canson, UArt, 140lb watercolor paper and 300lb watercolor paper hold up today. Just going to steam unpainted samples to see how much unmounted paper warps. There's no point steaming a good painting if the paper ends up all buckled, even if the steam fixes the pastel.

Donna

nana b
01-03-2009, 11:09 AM
Sorry, I could have dried them last night but was busy with something else.
This morning though, the one I steamed only half of is still darker on the steamed side. The smudge factor is much less on the steamed side but but is not "fixed" firm.
My conclusion is....if you want to deal with less dust in storing and framing then it wins hands down compared to the spray fixitive. This is on the Wallis unmounted paper. You will still have a darkening but that can be a plus in some situations I think.
Now mounted paper may present some problems and I will test some later tonight.
This is interesting and we should test steaming the backs also. I suspect that there might be less darkening that way. It might be tricky to manage steaming the back of only one side for comparison.
Donna, I'll be watching for your test result on the other papers, mainly the U-art.
Carol, I bought a clothes steamer last year and couldn't get the results I wanted with clothing so I returned it, will be interested in how that works!

blue, the microwave is kind of scary right off hand but maybe if we put the painting on top of a damp paper towell or just put a wet/damp rag in with it...who knows. We are the great frontier here at WC. Who knows what we can discover..after all the microwave was discovered kind of by accident, right?

Onward...gang!!

nana

Donna T
01-03-2009, 11:52 AM
I just steamed Canson, UArt, Art Spectrum Colourfix, 140lb watercolor paper and 300lb watercolor paper. I took photos of all the papers before and after steaming but only one is really worth showing.

Canson before:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Jan-2009/97763-P1010774canson_before.jpg

and Canson after steaming:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Jan-2009/97763-P1010782canson_after.jpg
Sorry about the blurry photos but I think you get the idea. NOT recommended for Canson paper! :eek:

The other papers showed no change. In all fairness, my UArt sample was slightly warped to begin with. We talked about this in another thread recently. I steamed both sides and it's now sitting under some heavy books. Maybe this will be a good way to flatten warped paper before we put pastel on it? I'll let you know. Personally, I don't think I will steam anything that isn't mounted in some way, other than the 300lb watercolor paper - that stuff is super sturdy.

Donna

Sonni
01-03-2009, 01:40 PM
This morning I found that the tractor painting on the Wallis paper (which was taped to a board) settled back into its flat shape. No warping. Maybe patience is a virtue after all.

I microwaved a small piece for 15 seconds. No bueno. All it did was warp the board a little and give off a bad smell. The mineral molecules heating up? Dunno. For now I'll stick with the Sonni Steamer in metalic gray. :smug:

Deborah Secor
01-03-2009, 02:14 PM
Be careful, Sonni, that you don't start a fire! Burning Wallis won't improve it.

I feel like you all are intrepid explorers, wending your way through technological experiments trying to rediscover what Monet apparently knew a hundred or so years ago...but that's because he used the 'technology' of the day.

Deborah

winecountry
01-03-2009, 04:52 PM
Hi Donna asked me to comment here as she is following the Aunt Wally thread in the pastel studio and I mentioned I steam fixed this work.

The following is just how I've worked this out, I have no idea how it will work in any other circumstance beyond what I state here.

Before steam fixing I used to do underpainting work by applying pastel and melting it to watercolor states with water, water works as well as min spirits and other stuff, is easy and non toxic. so I use it, sometimes I paint with it mixing colors. So it was an easy move to steaming. I use only Ampersand pastel boards...so I can do many things and it holds up.

I ended up steaming when a friend who was moving gave me some things to take to a donation center, and one of them was a Scunci steamer for clothes. With this steamer I have far more control than an iron or kettle. I can do it very light as a finish, or really heavy until the pastel runs in rivers. I can do spots or the whole thing, I can plaster it down or leave it loose. It does not change color as a fixitive. If you use it heavy it will change the structure of the crystals and some may not want that, if so then just use it lightly. I can create different surfaces on the painting, like in Aunt Wally some are very smooth and some are textured. Sometimes I get the surface quite wet and work the fresh pastel into that. I also use it when the tooth is getting filled and it allows many more layer to go on. IF you steam a place that is really thick with pastel and work over that, it is harder to get clean whites, but it can be done.

About the loose dust I don't know much, as I frame all my work directly on glass, since I have a stiff board this is not much of a problem, and I love being able to have it framed like an oil, or the ease of changing frames. the largest I work is 16x20. I've re framed one of these and a very tiny ghost image was on the glass, since I work so heavy this is not a problem. There seems to be some controversy over this old French method, but I've never had a single problem, I use Museum glass and it looks like there is nothing between you and the pastel, like you could reach out and touch the surface. I also read of a show down South, where there were matted and framed on glass pastels. Someone did not control the humidity, and the next morning all the matted works were fogged and the glassed works were perfect.

So bottom line for me is I use it mainly as a way of manipulating the surface for effects I need, or to get more working tooth, and sometimes to control areas of dark dust, so it won't fall on the work. In my experience, unless you do it lightly, it will alter the surface to a more clay like finish, but fresh pastel can be put over it.

here is a pic of my steamer. The steam is under high pressure, and can be controlled with a finger trigger to be a big wet blast or a gentle dry fog. I wouldn't be without one, it's become a very useful tool that allows me more range in how I use pastel
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Jan-2009/103030-steamer.jpg



If you have questions, I'll subscribe for a while and answer what I can

KJSCL
01-03-2009, 04:56 PM
Something tells me it won't work with La Carte. Once any type of water gets on that surface it just wipes off.


Actually you can steam fix on LaCarte. However, it's not something I would personally recommend because I didn't really like the results. I have found that so long as the paper is completely covered with pastel and you don't touch the painting until the paper is dry, the surface will not dissolve. The first time I experimented with this a while back I purposely rubbed the paper while it was still damp and the texture of the paper felt mushy. If I would have kept touching it, I'm sure the paper's texture and the pastel covering it would have come off. However, once the paper was dry the surface was fine. The colors darkened and remained darker than original even after it was dry, but very little pastel would actually rub off. I wouldn't recommend doing this with a good painting, but I would recommend those who do use LaCarte to experiment with it, you may like the results.

And for those who really aren't faint of heart, try an alcohol wash on LaCarte. 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol will NOT dissolve LaCarte's surface. Sneezing on it will, but the rubbing alcohol won't. (I've haven't tried it with Turpenoid) One tip for you should you decide to try it is to ensure you dry any water off your brush first before using it to brush the alcohol on. Again, try it on a scrap piece of LaCarte.

bluefish
01-03-2009, 05:05 PM
Monet was not into new technology as was Degas - Degas tried all sorts of innovative methods, techniques, and materials.

All the experimentors here @WC are making Edgar proud of them! :thumbsup:

Donna T
01-03-2009, 05:08 PM
Colleen, thanks so much! That's a lot of useful information. Do you routinely steam your finished paintings or mainly use steam during the painting process? It would be nice to control the amount of steam - with the iron it's kind of hit or miss.

Kathy, thank you for the information on LaCarte! I had no idea you could use alcohol on it. What didn't you like about the finished look of the steamed paper? Did it change the look of the pastels dramatically?

I just gave two of my "better" pastels a light steaming. I hope they won't look too different when they dry. Oh, I steamed a warped piece of UArt this morning and put some heavy books on it while it was still damp. It's dry now and much flatter!

Donna

Deborah Secor
01-03-2009, 05:14 PM
:lol: Degas must be rolling in his grave..."Monet indeed!"

Thanks for all this great information everyone! Wow--terrific stuff here.

Deborah

bluefish
01-03-2009, 05:55 PM
Are there any Dentist on line today? Maybe a 'laser' will bond the pastel and not change it's value!

Keep going with the experiments, girls - the world is watching!


'blue....';)

annette71
01-03-2009, 06:06 PM
Donna,

Great results...

Thank you for documenting your experiment so thoroughly...i definitely will try it soon.

Annette

winecountry
01-03-2009, 06:51 PM
Donna,
as I stated, I frame directly on glass without spacers, so don't need to fix my final surface, tho sometimes I do if there is a really loose area. Mostly I use the steam fix about half way through on places that are getting too filled up, or places where I want to have some special effect. I notice with a light steam there is no discernible effect on the color or the surface. Heavy steaming will cause a slight reduction in the whites, esp if there is a lot of dark under it and the white is thin. You would be hard pressed:lol:( sorry for the pun) to get to "heavy steaming" with an iron. The steamer puts out such a huge force because it is like a pressure cooker, and has to cool 5 min before you can unscrew the top.

saramathewson
01-03-2009, 07:35 PM
I love this thread! I've been reading all the posts and learning so much!

Thanks guys!

Sara

saramathewson
01-03-2009, 07:41 PM
With all of these experiments going on, has anyone tried steaming a pastel mounted on gatorfoam? Or one that is done on primed gatorfoam? I'm wondering how that support would hold up, regarding the foam core?

Sara

Sonni
01-03-2009, 11:51 PM
Donna,
as I stated, I frame directly on glass without spacers, so don't need to fix my final surface, tho sometimes I do if there is a really loose area. Mostly I use the steam fix about half way through on places that are getting too filled up, or places where I want to have some special effect. I notice with a light steam there is no discernible effect on the color or the surface. Heavy steaming will cause a slight reduction in the whites, esp if there is a lot of dark under it and the white is thin. You would be hard pressed:lol:( sorry for the pun) to get to "heavy steaming" with an iron. The steamer puts out such a huge force because it is like a pressure cooker, and has to cool 5 min before you can unscrew the top.

Thanks for your posts. I, too, often frame directly on glass and have had the same experience of a slight "ghost" of dust when I removed the glass--a plus over the inevitable dust on the mat. No problems with sweating under the glass, either. I've also had good luck shipping with just the glass and no frame, which is cheaper for me and the client,who picks out the frame (that's when they find out how much framing costs!). My particular interest is in texture (coming from an oil background), and I found I could get that with the kettle steaming, then layering over. So now I'm wondering how many times I can steam and work the same painting....:D . What you are using sounds much more controlled, and I like that. Somewhere a Scunci steamer is waiting for me.

Sonni
01-04-2009, 12:03 AM
Donna, you can also use turp or Gamsol on la carte.

bluefish
01-04-2009, 07:33 AM
Where do you purchase a 'Scunci' steamer in the 'states'? After reading how affective it is, I need to try one!

Also the direct pastel on glass is very interesting - since I also use 'ambersand' but in the 24x36 size, glass makes a heavy package after frame up - last year I used anti-reflective acrylic sheet on two paintings with spacers and they both sold - I now plan on utilizing the acrylic sheet directly on the pastel (the acrylic sheet is a lot lighter than glass and the anti-reflective is a lot more economical than museum glass - although not as presentable).

this is one of the most enlightening threads we have had in some time -thank you girls for all your valuable input!

'blue....';)

saramathewson
01-04-2009, 10:09 AM
Blue, where do you get panels that large? Do you have to special order them?

Thanks, Sara

Colorix
01-04-2009, 10:13 AM
Super thread!

My steam-iron (used by Hubby when *he* irons his shirts, I wear t-shirts...) can 'shoot' puffs of steam when held upright, so I'm going to try that.

Degas probably steamed the backside of the paper for the same reasons he applied fixative and varnish there -- to try to bind the pigments to the paper without wetting the surface layers. And then he did that too, he even mixed pastels with varnish. Seems he tried about anything conceivable. (Except microwaving...)

Heat can roast pigments, and you get burned sienna, ochre, umber... But if I remember correctly, visible steam (yes, there exist invisible too, for the half inch closest to the spout) isn't as hot as invisible, as water droplets have formed, so they would be boiling temp or lower (100 C for us who use logical metric system). Pressurized steam can get hotter, but I do not know if that small thingy can get it up high enough to do damage.

Microwaves... Now, that oven works so the waves exitate the H2O molecules -- makes them vibrate faster, generating heat. I suppose there just is too little moisture in dry dust and dry papers. Would be all sorts of funny (peculiar) chemical reactions from heat and radiowaves... Besides, food is going to be put into that oven...

Colleen, thanks for the 'scoop' on what happened to matted and directly-against-glass pastels when humidity hit. I frame about 30% of my paintings against the glass, and it works great. I've said it before, but as I recycle old pro frames with glass, I've come across pastel work about 50 years old, framed against glass. Pastel dust was in perfect condition, even though the backing board and paper were browned and brittle due to being acid materials.

Just an aside comment: One of my paintings were taken by the collector to be reframed. I write on the back of my paintings that they are painted on acid free paper, and with acid free mats. The framer had stamped on the back of the reframed painting, well, cardboard: "Backing board made of acid free paper". The collector wouldn't know enough to ask for that, so he must have gotten inspired by my scribbled notes. :-)

Question: What if one whacks, steams, and then apply some light coats of fixative? (Will try it myself, but if someone already knows, do tell.)

Charlie

winecountry
01-04-2009, 12:19 PM
Have no idea where you'd get a Scunci, since I got mine from donation...I'd try googling it , and there are other brands so maybe try portable household steamer. The big difference is to have a unit that creates pressure. Mine is in a little bag, with a lot of accessories I never use, but they are designed to do

"general cleaning, spot cleaning, scrubbing countertops,BBQs grills, vents and tile work, also the stove, appliances and small areas, clothes, fabric, drapes, carpets, stain removal, cabinets, and larger areas. Works on windows, glass,(do not use on cold glass it can crack) countertops, doors and vertical surfaces"

Hey maybe that's how I can clean my vertical mini blinds!:clap: :clap:

and maybe that's how you can justify having it, you get a cleaner more santiized home and wrinkle free clothes as a sideline to your art:lol:
here is the page from the booklet.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Jan-2009/103030-sc0001e865.jpg

winecountry
01-04-2009, 02:00 PM
Update,
The mini blinds are CLEAN! it works fantastic, I had a faulty chimney and the soot on them was not coming off with any of the usual methods, wow are they clean and nice again and also the spot is off the carpet, the fingerprints off the door, the icky line of gunk around the sink liner, tile grout is clean too, and that hard to reach place behind my faucet! OK now you have a way to justify it to your partner, clean the hubcaps, BBQ, motorcyle, RV...

When I use it for my pastels I don't use any attachments, and be very careful this is a high pressure scalding steam, use common sense, and read all the directions, as mine says don't use vinegar or other cleaners in it to descale.

I may not get any art done today:lol:

knippes
01-04-2009, 03:29 PM
For anyone who is interested, I found the Scunci steamer on Amazon.http://www.amazon.com/Scunci-SS1000-Steam-Cleaner-Attachments/dp/B00024JYAG/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1231100691&sr=8-1
Unforutnately, its out of my price range, but I did find this one too, which looks a lot like the Scunci one to me. http://www.amazon.com/ToolsNow-Electric-Steam-Cleaner/dp/B000OP3ABM/ref=pd_bbs_4?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1231100691&sr=8-4
-Kym

bluefish
01-04-2009, 05:11 PM
Sara -you can get the 24"x36" boards almost everywhere - Jerry's, ASW, Italian Art Store, Pearl's, Rochester Art Supply, etc. They also have the new Unison boards in this same size- hope this helps!

Steamers - in today's Kohl's Sale ad, they have two steamers listed - a big unit called a Tobi fabric steamer on sale @99.99 and a small Shark deluxe handheld steam cleaner for 49.99!

when I go off the island this week, I'll top at Kohl's, take a look and report back -

Just read an article that stated that some of the pastels from the Impressionist era that were combined with fixative were in satisfactory condition but the unfixed ones were like they were painted today! It also stated that pastels bind themselves over time due to the moisture in the air reacting with the sizing in the paper and the gum in the pastels.

'blue....':angel:

Sonni
01-04-2009, 05:43 PM
Thanks, Kim. I read the reviews on both. You can get the Scunci for $58.00 + shipping, and the other is $20. When I read that the $20 gadget in trying to steam clothes, spit water half the time, it was back to the Scunci. The justification was that it's good for cleaning the bathroom and kitchen surfaces. To bonafide lousy houskeeper (but perfect in every other way:smug: :evil: :D ) it seemed like a good deal. Amazing that when I was married no one ever gave me something like this for Xmas.:rolleyes:

Sonni
01-04-2009, 05:49 PM
Just read an article ...It also stated that pastels bind themselves over time due to the moisture in the air reacting with the sizing in the paper and the gum in the pastels.

'blue....':angel:

Well, then, maybe a little steam does hurry along the process...

Steamin' Sonni ;)

nana b
01-04-2009, 09:41 PM
I'm finally back to the experiments! I steamed a painting on R-tis-tx board and a Wallis painting that was mounted on an acid free foamboard (also called gatorbaord I think). Both boards passed the test and show no wear or tear. Nothing came unglued...I figured there might be some problems with the boards and/or the glue holding them together.
Neither of the paintings are giving up much at all with the touch test!
What's next? Bring it!:D

nana

winecountry
01-04-2009, 11:05 PM
I found the Scunci for $44 on the web, I forget where.... did a search on Google, It's very well made, and I've never had it "spit". Thanks to this thread, I finally read the book and found out all the stuff it does...My place is much cleaner this evening, but I didn't get my art finished:lol:

amandanator
01-05-2009, 02:09 AM
Donna, thanks so much for starting this thread! I usually frame my own stuff because I'm afraid the framer will smear the painting before it's under glass. Can't wait to try this out.

My Mom has a Scunci steamer...I guess I'll have to go a-borrowin'! :)

Mandy

bluefish
01-05-2009, 08:19 AM
Just think girls, you can fix your pastels with the steamer and tidy up your 'orange shirts/blouses and blue socks' with the same gadget! :lol:

knippes
01-05-2009, 09:41 AM
Hey Blue,
Is that still the uniform of the day for IAPS???:wave: Gotta start thinking about what I'm going to wear you know?? I must make sure that there is enough room in the suitcase for lots of new pastels...:rolleyes:
-Kym

bluefish
01-05-2009, 10:22 AM
I bet that there will be a 'run on' orange shirts/blouses and blue socks as May draws near! :lol: Better start shopping now - they make wonderful Valentine's presents too! And outstanding 'Easter Outfits'!!!:D

bluefish
01-05-2009, 01:29 PM
Just don't wear the 'uniform' in the St. Patty's Day parade!:lol:

artist_pw
01-05-2009, 02:10 PM
Hi:

In one of our recent MAPS meeting, an artist had a short demo about how she has been experimenting with steaming. She left the painting pretty much vertically, and used a steamer - you could do that with an iron, and that way avoid any big drips. If you burnish, in Bill Creevy's book I think, he used a small rounded palette knife to press the pastel into the surface. I thought that was a very good idea. Anyway, just trying to help. :)

Deborah Secor
01-05-2009, 05:23 PM
Yep, Paula, you can use a burnisher--pretty much as you describe it--or the rounded bowl of a spoon.

Has anyone used the steam on Somerset Velvet yet?

Deborah

bnoonan
01-05-2009, 06:40 PM
Wow - tremendous wealth of information here.

Colleen and Sonni

Question about the pastel on the museum glass. Do you tape the paper right onto the glass at the edge to keep the paper from moving from the glass? I'm curious.... I realize it's not about steaming but equally as fascinating for me.

I'd do anything to cut down on the mat dust.... short of using less pastel and losing some of the lovely textures on wallis.

Ok - reading and keeping this post on my "to read" list.

Thanks again for starting it Donna.

winecountry
01-05-2009, 07:56 PM
I would not recommend this for paper, unless its a small colorfix or wallis (8x10) which is pretty stiff. It would be fine if the paper is mounted. The work has to touch the glass, and stay still, as I mentioned I always work on ampersand pastelbord, which is coated stiff hardboard. I have done paper and put a piece of mat board there, but it's very tricky.

Basically I lay the pastel on a table with the edge hanging over, lay the glass carefully on top, and use padded bulldog clips to hold it together, one on each side. Then I take acid free tape(black shows less) and tape the edges with only 1/8 tape on front, so it won't show under the frame, making a closed cell of the whole thing, which I can then just frame like you would an oil, drop it in and put a few brads. Easy to change frames too, and I've shipped this way. If you wanted real saftey, they now make an acrylic "museum glass" but it's twice as much. I've never tried anything bigger than 16x20.

uuglypher
01-05-2009, 10:10 PM
Steaming pastels-

Fascinating thread! Since it seems reasonable to suspect that the success of steaming is likely the result of moisture - and subsequent drying with rearranged adhesion pattern- on the pastel's binders/gums, I'm wondering if it works better with those brands using a significantly greater amount of "binder" in their manufacture than with those brands that claim to be made almost entirely of pure pigment and are the softer, more"buttery", and more crumbly/less cohesive of the sticks we use?

Any observations or thoughts in this regard?

Dave in East River, SD

winecountry
01-06-2009, 01:07 AM
Dave, your post is very strange, not the message but there is a bunch of garbage code with paypal when I pulled it up. I don't have paypal or use it...so don't know what happened

re your question, the Ludwigs are really pure they fixed as well as my more commerical brands...the big factor was how much I steamed them, like light fog or heavy saturation.

Sonni
01-06-2009, 01:43 AM
Barbara, I tape mine the same way as Colleen, only I don't use museum glass because it's hard to come by where I live. When I get really good at this, I'll pay the price and hunt some down. I have done it with Wallis paper on board, and a heavy charcoal paper, and Mattson paper taped to a hard board such as foamcore or matboard. The paper was flat (not warped in any way) when I did it, so with hardboard on one side and glass on the other, it has no place to go. As Colleen said, it's a sealed unit. I've never done this with anything larger than 16x20 either.

Dave in East River. The test I did with the tractor painting had several differnt brands of pastels--Sennelier, Great American, Schmincke, and Ludwig. The thickness of the pastel seemed to determine how well it set on this piece.

saramathewson
01-06-2009, 11:02 AM
Thanks Blue for the info on the ampersand panels. I have some 16x20 panel that I will try out first. I have been working smaller--around 9x12, since paper in that size is cheaper:) I have been using colorfix and wallis mostly. But have these panels in several different sizes. I like the idea of framing up against the glass. I alo want to give primed gatorfoam a try.

Sara

bnoonan
01-06-2009, 11:34 AM
Wow - Colleen and Sonni - this is fabulous news. I've been seeking an alternative from matting work and using the proper frame with glass is just the thing.

I've been working with Wallis Board from Dakota mostly or just Museum Quality Wallis Paper. the board is more recent but where I see myself converting to on a regular basis. It's just the right firmness to mount with.

Anyway - I'll give these a try and can't wait!

As for steaming... I'm still reluctant. I think what I truly want to do is learn like some of the folks I've studied with.... go lighter on the pastel layer and see if I can accomplish the same depth of color with less pastel.

Hah - have you seen my sheep and rams? It's going to take a lot of practice.

LOL Barb

Donna T
01-06-2009, 12:49 PM
Thanks for the info on that framing technique, Colleen and Sonni. I've heard of that before but have yet to try it. It's so humid where I live - I wonder if I would trap the moisture in during the framing process. Where do you get acid-free black tape?



As for steaming... I'm still reluctant. I think what I truly want to do is learn like some of the folks I've studied with.... go lighter on the pastel layer and see if I can accomplish the same depth of color with less pastel.

Hah - have you seen my sheep and rams? It's going to take a lot of practice.

LOL Barb

I can't bear the thought of you easing up on your pastel layers, Barb! That textured look makes your work so distinctive. Be careful if you steam those sheep and ram paintings ... steam shrinks wool! :rolleyes: :lol:

Donna

bluefish
01-06-2009, 05:34 PM
Donna - you can use black electrical tape available @ Home Depot - I use small strip of cellophane tape just to hold it position, then seal the back completely to keep out that moisture.

NEW STEAMERS - for all of you that want to jump on the 'California Steamers Bandwagon' here is a couple of neat looking steamers!

1- Rowenta Commercial Garment Steamer - ready to operate in just 90 seconds - 1 gal-cap. water tank provides up to 2 1/2 hrs of continous use.

Deborah- you could steam all 16 students paintings at the end of class for them to take home without a mess.

2-Rowenta Expert Iron and Steam Generator - 33-0z-cap water tank can be filled during use - no need to cool down first. Iron is connected to a 6 ft. steam hose and heats up in 3 minutes.

Anyone trying these, please give us an update - this thread can be the 'Consumers Report' of pastel steamers!

have a pleasant evening everyone - 'blue....' :angel:

Sonni
01-06-2009, 05:46 PM
Wow - Colleen and Sonni - this is fabulous news. I've been seeking an alternative from matting work and using the proper frame with glass is just the thing.

I've been working with Wallis Board from Dakota mostly or just Museum Quality Wallis Paper. the board is more recent but where I see myself converting to on a regular basis. It's just the right firmness to mount with.

Anyway - I'll give these a try and can't wait!

As for steaming... I'm still reluctant. I think what I truly want to do is learn like some of the folks I've studied with.... go lighter on the pastel layer and see if I can accomplish the same depth of color with less pastel.

Hah - have you seen my sheep and rams? It's going to take a lot of practice.

LOL Barb

I use white artists' tape, but black sounds better for the reason Colleen gave.

Also, I did another experiment with steaming an old pumice gessoed piece that had been lying around for ...um...years. Tooth filled, dusty smeared...steaming gave it new life and layers. It's posted over on the other side. You could take one of those sheep you aren't that happy with and see if you can give it a new dimension....:cat: Baaa-BAAAA

Peiwend
01-06-2009, 06:14 PM
Most of my pastel paintings are shipped and I use Lascaux fixative but would like to also try the steaming method.

Donna, I use Framer's Tape II which is a clear acid-free archival tape and available at Jerry's or Dick Blick. It is like a thick wide "Scotch" tape and is easy to use. Since it's clear, it won't show against the glass if you don't get it exactly right around the edges.

However, I use it when framing with mats also. On the table I put the backing board (3/16" Bainbridge Archival Foamboard) first. On this I put the painting mounted to a spacer mat (archival matboard for a smaller work or 1/8" Archival Foamboard for a larger work). Over this, I put a double archival mat and the glass. I tape this sandwich all around the edges with the Framer's Tape II. I then fix it in the frame with either offset clips or turn buttons. It took a long time at first but now it goes quite fast. With this method, I haven't had any problems with the pastel coming loose on the mats during shipping.

By the way, the gallery cuts rigid styrofoam insulation a little larger than the frame to use for packing for shipment. It is inexpensive and lightweight so it doesn't add a lot to the shipping cost.

I hope I haven't gone too far off topic here.

________________________________Wendell

Snowbound
01-06-2009, 09:59 PM
Oh, the steaming thing. I don't, but have nothing against the idea for pastels. I do have an iron, which I acquired specifically for flattening seams in quilting, and which I refuse to use for any other purpose, on principle. For same principle, I refuse to buy any steam gadget (for purposes of maintaining my reputation as only partly domesticated).

But thought I'd add this observation: I've noticed that if I leave a finished pastel painting undisturbed for a couple of days, the particles do seem to bind together, much as Dave suggests, and without any loss of texture. Vermont summers are becoming increasingly humid, and the moisture seems to "set" my paintings. As a result, they are dustfree (though not smudgeproof!). For the winter, I keep the humidifier right by my easel, so that the air in that area has some humidity in it, and that seems to work. I have yet to have pastel particles on my mats, even after transport. I use a variety of papers, some sanded (or pumiced) and some not. The secret seems to be just letting them sit long enough for the pastel to rebind.

I do also mount similarly to the way Wendell describes, though I use points to fix in the frame. Yep, once you get used to doing it this way, it goes really fast, and it is a snap to swap out frames.

Dayle Ann

winecountry
01-07-2009, 12:12 PM
For those of you considering a steamer, FYI I see some big ones listed, just thinking that a gal of water weighs over 8 pounds, plus the weight of the steamer. The Sucnci, holds about a pint, but I never fill it up, and I've never run out. I think it would easily do a class, as you are only lightly steaming, and even if it did, it takes only a couple of mins to heat up again.

Wendall, The clear tape sounds good, but don't know how it would stick on glass, have you tried that?

bluefish
01-07-2009, 12:27 PM
Maybe one of the organizers of IAPS should invite the 'steamer manufacturers' to the May convention - they could set up their 'steaming' equipment in their booths and demonstrate on actual paintings done by our Deborah! Wouldn't this be neat?

another classic by 'blue....' :angel:

Peiwend
01-07-2009, 12:54 PM
Colleen, maybe I didn't make it clear, but when I tape around about 1/8" of the tape is on the glass surface. This is hidden by the lip of the frame when installed. The Framer's Tape II sticks beautifully to the glass and I find it very easy to work with. It is made specifically for mounting and sealing by professional framers. It can be removed with heat without damage to the materials.

I have several other framing tapes but the Framer's Tape II is the one I use the most. It is not cheap but the extra price is well worth it, in my opinion.

_________________________________Wendell

Donna T
01-07-2009, 12:57 PM
A humidifier ... interesting, Dayle Ann. So now we need to know whether it's the moisture that sets the pastel or the combination of moisture and heat. These experiments could go on forever!

blue - I can see a steamer being made especially for pastelists. Seriously, there are other pastel related products for sale that seem much less useful than something that could possibly cure the dust-off problem! Someone could make a small fortune! :eek:

Donna

bluefish
01-07-2009, 01:21 PM
I'm right on it Donna! The 'bluefish' pastel steamer! You open it's mouth, squeeze it's tail and out puffs 'bluesteam'! :lol: Now if I can only get a booth next to where Deborah is doing those pastels @ IAPS! :D :D

Sonni
01-07-2009, 01:32 PM
I'm right on it Donna! The 'bluefish' pastel steamer! You open it's mouth, squeeze it's tail and out puffs 'bluesteam'! :lol: Now if I can only get a booth next to where Deborah is doing those pastels @ IAPS! :D :D

maybe I should try to make it to IAPS after all....

winecountry
01-07-2009, 03:03 PM
Thanks Wendell, I did understand that, and making the tape stick with some kinds is not at good as others, I'm def going to order some of the clear, thanks for the tip.

FYI I don't think a special pastel steamer is needed, the Scunci is perfect as is,
with attachments you can easily get into places, if you don't want to hold it, and yesterday I used it to clean my car, FANTASTIC, got off the scum on the steering wheel, the coffee stains off the carpet, the darkened armrest is new and the mystery spot on the back seat is gone, and it did a great job on the windows. All done with NO toxic chemicals:thumbsup:

I promise I'm not getting paid for testamoinals, I just think it so funny I've had it for two years and never used it for anything but my painting...if you get one read the book:lol:

Colorix
01-07-2009, 04:15 PM
A humidifier ... interesting, Dayle Ann. So now we need to know whether it's the moisture that sets the pastel or the combination of moisture and heat. Donna

Exactly, I was thinking the same. Would spraying it with a fine mist be as good?

How long would it have to dry before framing?

Tap water or distilled... ummm I guess that one is obvious, but would filtered tap-water be as good as distilled?

Charlie

bluefish
01-07-2009, 05:35 PM
Charlie

If you experiment using your garden hose, please show us the results! :smug:

'blue....':angel:

Colorix
01-07-2009, 06:06 PM
The high pressure one, for stripping off lichen? ;-)

bluefish
01-07-2009, 06:20 PM
you got me - I never stripped a 'lichen'?

maybe it would work like Sonni's 'cottage' painting!

have a nice evening- 'blue....' :wave:

by the way, what is 'lichen'?

Sonni
01-07-2009, 11:05 PM
I've never seen a lichen stripping, either...Plenty of lichen on that cottage painting, though, buried in symbiosis:wink2: . Garden hose? I use it to wash off the pastel, not preserve it.

Charlie...nothing is good as distilled...:D

winecountry
01-08-2009, 01:31 AM
Because I often "paint" with pastels as I begin, ie I take a brush of water and blend the pastel strokes to a fine flat surface of blended color, and then let it dry, it dries fixed, hard and immovable, even touchable without coming off on the finger, I say this leads me to belive the water fixes it, but because it's steam, it dries fast, like immediately, and the "droplets" being so small wet things evenly

bluefish
01-08-2009, 09:09 AM
Another idea for the experimentors:

A 'acrylic paint' manufacturer from the land 'down under' makes a very fine 'mister' to keep the acrylic paint wet on the canvas so it acts more like oil paint. They also make a low viscosity acrylic medium that would 'set' pastel if applied.

How about a 50/50 mixture of medium and water mistered on the pastel instead of the steam - the water fine droplets would evaporate leaving the transparent medium to bind the pastel -

Sounds like a viable option to me - anyone care to try? Any acrylic 'misters' out there? Sonni, you like a challenge, any acrylic equipment? Donna?

'blue....' :thumbsup:

nana b
01-08-2009, 07:04 PM
Colleen, I think you have something there. I remember trying water last year and it did give that "fixed" surface. But if I remember right, that happens with turpinoid too...so maybe it's the wetting that does it no matter what the liquid is. ??? So, now if we could create finished wet paintings, they would be automaticaly fixed? Is that cool or what?

So the steam is just the vehicle to get the liquid on evenly without drips and runs so it will bond. Is this profound or something??:eek:

nana

Donna T
01-08-2009, 08:23 PM
Hey blue, if you diluted the acrylic medium enough to get out of the mister would it still act like acrylic medium? I have the paints, a very fine mister and matte medium. It's the only acrylic medium I have on hand and I use it to mount Wallis or UArt to museum board. I've tried thinning it with water and it loses its "glue" abilities. Do you know the name or brand of this low viscosity medium?

Donna

bluefish
01-08-2009, 09:24 PM
Donna

The mister I was referring to was the 'Atelier Fine Mist Water Sprayer' - they allege it can be filled with water or 'Atelier Interactive Unlocking Formula' (you wouldn't have to dilute this- it's one of their mediums).

Tri-Art makes a low viscosity medium that's available from'fineartsupply' and Dick Blick - I believe 'Lascaux' has one to , also Atelier and others.

I don't know what type of mister you have but most will not handle viscosities of regular mediums, that's why the low viscosities may work.

'blue....':thumbsup:

Peiwend
01-08-2009, 09:50 PM
One could also try a watercolour medium made with gum arabic. This medium is meant to be thinned with water for washes. In theory, the addition of gum arabic to pastel would yield watercolour or gouache depending on the purity of the pigment in the pastel.

____________________________Wendell

nvcricket
01-10-2009, 12:30 PM
VELOUR TRIAL


I steamed an old velour painting, (it is one of my failures). This is a painting that I had used softies on (Great American) and it had no tooth to hold the soft pastels and the pastel sloughed off and ruined the painting. When I steamed this, IT DID NOT FIX THE SOFT PASTELS TO THE VELOUR. It didn't harm the paper, the paper wasn't supported, it didn't curl, and the fibers weren't damaged. I think it may have fixed the areas that I had used pastel pencils on (hard pastel), but the penciled areas on this were not the issue with this painting. After it dried I picked up the piece tapped gently and the GA color just rolled off.

Carol

Donna T
01-10-2009, 12:48 PM
Thanks Carol, too bad the steam wouldn't give a second life to your painting. It was worth a try, though. I guess the kind of surface makes a difference as to whether the steam will affect it or not. Would this be a good way to remove pastel from velour? It's good you got your steamer going again in case you need to use it for, heaven forbid, cleaning purposes. :)

Donna

winecountry
01-10-2009, 01:04 PM
Carol and Scunci owners please note, in the instructions it says

Use tap water only. Do not place descaling or other substances in the water tank...DO NOT(their emphasis) use vinegar or other descaling substances, if any deposits remain in the tank you can add some water, swirl it around, cover with the cap, shake and empty it. Repeat as necessary
In addition it says don't tilt more than 45 degrees in use

nvcricket
01-10-2009, 01:14 PM
EEK, thanks Colleen, I just edited that post. Thanks for the advise, I had lost my instruction manual, and relied on advise found on a search on how to clear it out.

Carol

Sonni
01-12-2009, 03:57 PM
Carol and Scunci owners please note, in the instructions it says


In addition it says don't tilt more than 45 degrees in use

OOOOOoops. I just got my Scunci today and was going to use distilled water, because I wonder what the chlorine and other stuff that's put into the water, along with mercury and other metals already there, will do to pigment over time. Guess I'll read the instructions first.

But then, now that I think about it, the steaming process should remove all that. Duh...

westcoast_Mike
01-12-2009, 06:53 PM
Sounds like they don't want you using anything acidic (vinegar, descaling solution, etc). I doubt that distilled water would be an issue.

winecountry
01-12-2009, 08:03 PM
I've used both, however it seems that if both were ok they'd say so, from now on I'm using tap. Some gunk does build up eventually, but by rinsing and doing what they say, it all just falls out.

David Patterson
01-12-2009, 11:32 PM
Below is a copy of a post I did in here in 2007...thought I would share it again.

David

Ref:

The latest edition of the Pastel Journal (Dec '07) has an article about Dennis Rhoades and his beautiful Western landscapes. Within the article, Dennis explains how he goes about fixing his soft pastel paintings using steam.

I followed his instructions to perform my own steam fixative test. I used a hand held steamer filled with distilled water, holding the steamer about 3 to 6 inches from the surface, moving it back and forth until it was very wet. Half of my surface was masked off, so I would be able to compare both areas when the surface was left to dry overnight.

My test surface was a 5"x7" light grey colored Colourfix (sanded surface) paper. Colourfix is similar to Wallis, and handles moisture very well. The Pastels I used were very soft, imitating the final layers one might have in a completed painting. I did no layering of pastel, so this was done applying only one layer of pastel directly on the colourfix paper. The pastel brands I used were Terry Ludwig, and Great Americans.

The test results showed noticible darking, although very slight, in the blue, green, and red areas. No noticible darkening was seen in the yellow areas.

Granted, this may not be the most scientific test, but my desire was to see if the color quality was effected with steam being used as fixative.

Dennis said that after he fixed his paintings with steam, that no pigment would come off when you touched the surface. When I touched my test sample, equal amounts of pigment came off on my fingers for both sides...and it was a very light touch! So, that being said, I'm not sure how well the pastel was "fixed". I would assume that the moisture from the steam had to of settled the pastel dust some, keeping it from flaking off in the future.

Under a 16 power scope, I saw no change in the physical qualities of the magnified pastel particles. So...no flattening of the particles took place - the "diamond" effect looked like it was still present.

My final thoughts - this method might work for those who don't care about the pastel darkening a tad. I will probably use this method on some of my future work. Well...maybe on just my miniatures!

Please note: If your monitor is not calibrated correctly, you may not see a difference in the test areas. Since I do a lot of photography, my monitor is calibrated every other week.

PS:
I've been steaming my miniatures lately and see now change. I never saturate a painting with the steam...just settle the dust.

Below are different photos of the test sample:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2009/65479-steamBase2_copy.jpg

Close-up of blue pastel

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-Jan-2009/65479-steamCU_copy.jpg

Donna T
01-13-2009, 08:09 AM
Thanks for sharing your study, David! It's good to know that you didn't see any major changes under your microscope. I trust your scope much more than my eyes. :rolleyes: So, are you steaming your pastels or did you give up on it since you were still able to lift dust off with your fingers after steaming?

Donna

bnoonan
01-13-2009, 11:04 AM
David - fabulous comments and research for us.

Does anyone think that the distilled water is just a manufacturer's recommendation specific to the use on the steamer's parts so that they don't get "gunked" up by the particles in the water? I know my irons have recommended distilled water - not sure it effected the mist setting at all.

Just a thought.

David - as a past scientist, I'm thrilled to hear of the magnification result.

Now will you paint some artwork of your microscope? B

David Patterson
01-13-2009, 02:20 PM
Donna - I still steam my smaller paintings. The fact that the pastel comes off to the touch doesn't matter to me...it's the fact that the steam settles those particles that might fall off during any movement or jarring of the painting. before I steam, I do what Deborah does...I rap my Wallis paper really hard.

Barbara - My hand steamed said to use distilled water. I think that is very important, because if any blockage occurs in the steamer, it will spit water, and those areas that receive the "spit" will need to be touched up.

David

DocBoots
01-13-2009, 08:51 PM
VELOUR TRIAL


I steamed an old velour painting, (it is one of my failures). This is a painting that I had used softies on (Great American) and it had no tooth to hold the soft pastels and the pastel sloughed off and ruined the painting. When I steamed this, IT DID NOT FIX THE SOFT PASTELS TO THE VELOUR. It didn't harm the paper, the paper wasn't supported, it didn't curl, and the fibers weren't damaged. I think it may have fixed the areas that I had used pastel pencils on (hard pastel), but the penciled areas on this were not the issue with this painting. After it dried I picked up the piece tapped gently and the GA color just rolled off.

Carol
I saw someone over in A&W who mentioned steam fixing on velour - if anyone is interested, it seemed to work for her (see post #10 in this thread):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=537487

~~ Boots ~~

(I tried my first 'attempt' today with my tea kettle and an old sketch on Canson - the paper curled (as previously described) but was easy to flatten out relatively well after, but I didn't get terribly good fixation. But I was also making soup on the other burner and trying not to burn myself with the tea kettle... maybe multitasking isn't the best thing!)