View Full Version : Alcohol spritzer?

04-30-2010, 09:19 PM
I have been doing occasional pastels for a long time-on my own obviously-just reading a couple postings that talk about alcohol spritzers [not the drinks]. I've never heard of that! Is it something new- like in the past twenty years? Is it an alternative to the toxic fixative i still use? I tried to search the forum but came up with 239 references- would some kind person be able to enlighten me!? I feel totally out of it! Thanks! :confused:

04-30-2010, 10:30 PM
I've not heard of alcohol spritzers, but there is a great fixative that is non-toxic and can be used in your studio with no harm. The main components are casein and alcohol. It is called SpectraFix and can be found at Dakota Pastels and I think at Fine Art Store as well. Both of those stores are on-line. There is little to no shift in value with it's use, the only thing is to use it with caution on LaCarte since any moisture on that paper can be terribly destructive.

If you do a search on Spectra-Fix you will find a fairly long thread with Della, the creator of this wonderful product, weighing in on various issues.

Hope this helps!


05-01-2010, 12:06 AM
:) Hello. I Don't think it is a fixitive they are refering to when they say Alcohol spritzer really. Alcohol can be used to melt the pastel when doing an under painting with pastel---It dries quickly, especially if you are painting on site, outdoors. Then when its dry, you can go back into the painting with more pastel, using the local colors perhaps in your scene or subject, and finish the painting. Many of us use it the alcohol that way, in either a spray bottle or with a brush. I was recently reading a Demo where the person giving the demo, used water after using the alcohol to really make a loose runny underpainting. That was on the New Mexico pastel society newsletter , but I don't recall the artists name. I really like doing this, as I can do a value pattern with the#244 Nupastel, alcohol it down, then finish it with color and not loose my place. I also use Turpinoid at times for this, or just water. Hope this helps!! I am sure others can explain it better.

05-01-2010, 12:20 AM
Hi there!

No, it's not the alchohol you drink :lol: !. What I sometimes do is paint a pastel underpainting, blocking in all my colors using a somewhat harder pastel to do this. I then take some alchohol (from the drugstore), and place it in a spritz bottle. Lay the artwork flat, and spray/spritz it to set the pastel. It dries rather quickly, as it evaporates. The pastel is now ready to be painted over with your sticks to get your desired effect. I often use Pan Pastels for the underpainting, as they are transparent and give a watercolor effect. It is a fun way to achieve an underpainting. I like doing this on white Wallis pro paper, as it takes the wet media very well. You can also use the alchohol with a brush, using it as you would water, and set your pastel underpainting that way as well. I've used both approaches and have liked the results.

IMaybe has described the approach rather well too - it seems like there are quite a few people using it. I know Paula Ford posted a detailed approach explaining how she uses the alchohol with brushes, and I posted an underpainting spritzed with alchohol - each had a different but effective result. I tried Paula's approach with the brush and liked it quite a bit. I know I will be using it again.

Hope this clears things up a bit!:thumbsup:

Donna T
05-01-2010, 10:07 AM
Hi Rachel, I am a fan of the alcohol spritzer too. Sometimes I just want to establish the dark areas and prevent them from mixing with future layers and a spritz of rubbing alcohol is just the thing. If I'm working on one of the papers I prepare myself which is not real toothy or something like Uart I can rub in the darks with a Viva paper towel and give them a light spritz before moving on to the rest of the painting. I save any spray bottle around the house that puts out a fine mist. I also use this little perfume atomizer that I found at a Bed Bath and Beyond. It puts out the finest mist that I have found so far.

05-01-2010, 11:21 AM
Thank you all for your help- i am definitely going to check this out further! I haven't done much underpainting, mostly because of the horrible workable fixative, but this will open up new possibilities. And Lynn, i will also check into the non toxic fixative- i can't wait to take the old stuff to the hazardous waste dump...cheers and happy pastelling [is that a word?] to all!:wave:

Paula Ford
05-01-2010, 02:47 PM
I also love an alcohol underpainting, but don't spray it on. I pour it in a cup and use a flat synthetic paint brush and brush it on to liquify the pastel. It gets rid of all those white dots that are so annoying.

05-02-2010, 03:36 PM
thx Donna - will look into that at bb&b.
} Ed