View Full Version : 'Gritty' Spray Fixative To Add/Restore Tooth?

11-19-2011, 12:19 PM
Is there workable spray fixative that will add or restore sanded-like texture to paper or support, (AKA "tooth")? Maybe because it contains abrasive or similar?

Like many posters, I have had issues with blending and layering, particularly when it seems built to the point I lose contact with the paper's texture. I thought I might have read about such a product here in WC Soft Pastels, maybe in the righteous "How to Get Started" thread, but now I cannot find it again.

In the future, I think I may try to get a stronger start before working by choosing or preparing a better working surface, beginning either with Colourfix primer or gesso plus pumice or marble dust, or just by picking better paper like Pastelmat, Wallis, Art Spectrum, etc. Even so, I can think of a bunch of ways such a product would be handy, (including some pieces I am already working on and smearing around), and would be grateful if anybody's heard of something like that. Thanks!


11-19-2011, 12:42 PM
Now that's a challenge to fixative chemists. Spray tooth from a can, grit in the fixative liquid.

Jim, it might work if you're willing to spend a little money on it to get some clear grit from one of the Derivan products that goes into acrylic gesso to give it grit, and a bottle of fixative that's just liquid along with a mouth atomizer. You could always experiment with mixing mica or marble dust or other grits in with liquid fixative and blowing it on with that. I wouldn't do the experiments on real paintings though till they worked on swatches.

If you try it, keep us advised. I know there's at least one fixative that comes in a bottled liquid because it came with my Maimeri gouache starter set. The mouth atomizer was separate. Don't ever inhale through the mouth atomizer though.

11-19-2011, 02:23 PM
I do know some of the fixatives like Krylon do add some tooth when sprayed on overworked Canson paper. The negative is that they significantly decrease the brightness of the colors, they really darken them (at least that is what I've seen, so I avoid them). If you are going to work over the whole piece, than I guess it wouldn't matter. But I hesitate to recommend it knowing how much it will darken the painting. You just have to know what you will get if you use it. Maybe experiment on some scraps of paper to see if it works for you. You could also mask off areas that you don't want sprayed, and just spray the area that needs it. Maybe use a piece of tracing paper with holes cut out in the areas that need spraying, lay the tracing paper over the painting and spray away (keeping the painting flat of course while spraying). Just an idea, I don't use the stuff for pastels (I do use it for graphite sketches, it works well for them).

Another thing for you to consider is to pick a color paper that will add to the painting you are working on, so you will feel less need to keep adding layers of pastel, thus resulting in loosing the tooth. If you feel the need to cover the paper color because it's not helping the painting, then you will be grinding much pastel into it, thus your need for more tooth.

I do have a question, I probably should have asked it first: What kind of paper are you using? I'm assuming Canson, but maybe not.

Also, Krylon has a fixitave that claims to preserve the color and intensity of the original artwork. Not sure if it is so, but it is cheap enough to buy and try on some scraps of paper to see if it really is true. Take a look at it here, Dakota sells it. (http://www.dakotapastels.com/pages/pastelaccessories-fixatives.aspx)

Using sanded surfaces can help, but I think having a light touch, especially in the beginning of the painting, is key to not filling the tooth of the paper too quickly. Even sanded papers can fill up if you are heavy handed, it just takes a bit longer. Fixatives do add tooth somehow, but I would try it on a scrap paper first to see if the results are what you want.

11-19-2011, 09:11 PM
I like texture, so I use Krylon spray workable fixative so I can layer thickly. It does a fair job. I've also used Spectra Fix with similar results. If there is anything on the market that's better for this purpose, I'd sure like to know about it.

11-21-2011, 12:38 AM
I've used the Spectra-Fix heavily on Art Spectrum paper and I felt like it gave me more tooth - really didn't change the color either. The great thing is you can do several layers and really get the under layer solid and get some tooth back on top. It certainly isn't like you put pumice or grit down, but the surface isn't smooth - it feels a bit rough.


11-21-2011, 09:07 AM
I may be mistaken, but are not the Diane Townsend Terrage pastels made with pumice, so that when they are fixated, the pumice will provide new tooth for the next layers? Instead of spraying on tooth, it is built into the pastel, to interact with fixative.

11-21-2011, 08:32 PM
Charlie, I know the Townsends have pumice in them, but I thought that was so they would kind of bite into the paper when being applied ... I'm not at all sure if the pumice in them would provide new tooth when fixed. Perhaps someone who uses them can weigh in?


11-22-2011, 07:27 AM
I saw a promo video once, where they said and showed it worked.

11-22-2011, 04:33 PM
Ah, interesting factoid to know about the Townsends!! Thanks Charlie!