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Old 08-10-2007, 02:25 PM
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Kim Bolick Kim Bolick is offline
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Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please

This is a soft pastel painting on canvas coated with Colorfix primer. I would love some help with two things:
1. What suggestions do you have for the background? I don't want it to distract from the musicians.
2. Does anyone know a way I can seal this without damaging the pastel? Is there some kind of varnish I can use?

I appreciate any help you can offer. Thank you!
Kim
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Old 08-10-2007, 02:53 PM
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maggie latham maggie latham is offline
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Re: Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please


Kim,
Lovely painting! Have you been fixing the layers with fixative between applications? In my experience of working in pastel on stretched canvas using Colorfix primer, I have always varnished it with Acrylic varnish. One coat of gloss and then two of matte. I brush it on, but it has to be fixed really well other wise it smears. I have known other artists to use thinned down acrylic medium in a sprayer, sometimes between the layers, and I think some have used a spray varnish such as Golden UV spray varnish. All darken the painting quite a bit.
Is this your first painting executed in this way? If it is, I would strongly suggest that you do some tests on small canvas paintings first to test out the possibilities of sealing. Acrylic varnish does change the nature of the finished pastel, and makes it look more like an oil/acrylic painting.
There is an archived article by Sandra Jackoboice in the Pastel Journal….(If you go to either the Pastel Journal’s web site, or hers, there is a link to a PDF file) …which might be interesting for you to read ….about her techniques with pastels on canvas.
Please. Please, do some tests first so that you don’t ruin your nice painting.
Maggie
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Old 08-10-2007, 04:27 PM
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Kim Bolick Kim Bolick is offline
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Re: Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please

Thanks, Maggie, for all the great info and encouragment. I did one other pastel on canvas. When I used fixative, it disolved the pastel, but I had not used the Colorfix primer. I will try fixative on a small area in the background since I plan to rework that. I will also read the article you recommended and do some tests with Acrylic varnish. BTW, do you have any ideas for how I can handle the background? Maybe a different color(s)? I have seen some of your work and love the way you handle color. I just ordered Susan Sarback's book "Capturing Radiant Light & Color in Oils and Soft Pastels." Color and light is something I need a lot of work on. Thanks again for your help!
Kim
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Old 08-10-2007, 09:48 PM
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maggie latham maggie latham is offline
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Re: Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please

Kim,
Thank you for the compliments on my work. I hope you don’t think I am being rude, but I prefer to share my experiences of techniques and materials I have tested myself rather than critique or give advice on color. Color is such an intuitive thing for me, that often I can’t even explain why I put things together or why they work (and they don’t always)! There are a lot of seasoned, very experienced pastel artists on this site who will be able to help you better than I in that area.
Getting back to fixative, yes it does dissolve pigment sometimes, especially the paler colors. I often compensate for this by going heavy on the whites expecting a lot to be dissolved. Fixative can be used to your advantage sometimes, especially if you have a dark under painting, and want some of it to pop back out.
I think if you are painting on canvas to frame without glass you will definitely need an acrylic coating of some kind to permaently ’fix it' and preserve the painting.
Have fun experimenting…
Maggie
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Old 08-11-2007, 05:26 AM
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Dark_Shades Dark_Shades is offline
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Re: Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please

Hi Kim

I love this as it is and wouldnt touch it - the colours give it a glow, energy and light...... its all spot on ........

well done
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Old 08-11-2007, 11:19 AM
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Kim Bolick Kim Bolick is offline
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Re: Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please

Thank you, Dark Shades. I appreciate your kindness! Maybe I'll just try adding a bit of texture to the background with more lines/hatching/scribbles. I can always blend if it doesn't work.

I took a peek at your virtual gallery. You do beautiful work! Especially love the Kissing Cousins on the Beach!
Kim
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Old 08-11-2007, 01:13 PM
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Kim Bolick Kim Bolick is offline
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Re: Soft pastel painting on canvas: Need advice, please

"I hope you don’t think I am being rude, but I prefer to share my experiences of techniques and materials I have tested myself rather than critique or give advice on color. Color is such an intuitive thing for me, that often I can’t even explain why I put things together or why they work (and they don’t always)! There are a lot of seasoned, very experienced pastel artists on this site who will be able to help you better than I in that area."

Maggie, I definitely don't think you are being rude. I am SO THANKFUL for your input! Thank you for sharing your experiences with this medium. I learn so much from other people, but I know the best way to learn is trying things for myself. Yes, I will enjoy experimenting!
Kim
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