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Old 04-04-2009, 02:27 AM
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Donna A Donna A is offline
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New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Hi, Everyone! There is a new fixative on the market! Mine has just arrived, so I've only had a chance to use it on a couple of things. It seems pretty great so far!

The SpectraFix web site is http://www.spectrafix.com/ and there are many pages of great information there! I've spoken with the artist/owner, Della Heywood, and she's lovely! Some great info on the web site and she's adding more and more all the time! I emailed some questions and she answered quickly!

No odor at all! No dangerous fumes that even the regular odorless fix's have! In class, I have the artists either go outside or in to my studio with the HEPA filter fan running to spray the usual fixatives. This can be used in a room full of people with no danger to anyone!

The label says: "SpectraFix casein-based pastel fixative utilizes milk protein and grain alcohol to provide you with a non-toxic, fully archival fixative for all pastel, charcoal, conte, watercolor, gouache, and cross-over techniques. It hold and protects your media without dulling your colors, and because it is All-Natural and Odor-Free, you can spray your project while you work. No more obnoxious odors or unhealthy fumes. Imagine that!"

And then: "DIRECTIONS: Spray a light misting of SpectraFix and allow 1-2 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate before re-spraying or re-working for optimum results. It is always best to spray several light coats while you work, rather than a single heavy coat at the end. SpectraFix quickly dries to an invisible velvety matte finish."

Now, unless purposefully darkening an area with fixative, I've always suggested spraying once over, letting it dry a couple of minutes, then spraying again, etc. so as to not darken the painting! They are suggesting the same thing.

I'm going to do more testing of this this weekend. I'll report in. So far, so good! Donna ;-}
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Old 04-04-2009, 02:38 AM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Thanks for the info Donna. Do you know if this product will be at the IAPS convention?

Peggy
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Old 04-04-2009, 03:04 AM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Yes, Peggy! Della Heywood will be at IAPS with the Spectra-Fix. Looking forward to meeting her. Doubtless, there will be more questions I'll have! I'm sooo glad to have something that can be used very safely without having to take the painting to another location---or to take myself to another location after holding my breath while spraying!!! Yea! Donna ;-}
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:14 AM
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Colorix Colorix is offline
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Sounds very interesting! What I'd like to know is how they've dealt with the problem of Casein being exactly a product of milk, thus prone to be really yummy stuff for molds, bacteria, and wee creepy-crawlies. That is one reason this ancient and time-honoured binder has been shunned for a century.

Charlie
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Old 04-04-2009, 01:52 PM
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David Patterson David Patterson is offline
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Good points Charlie! The following is a statement from the website: "Even though it is milk protein, it is not subject to invasion by opportunistic organisms, as 9000 years of use as an art medium testifies."

I'm interested in seeing this at IAPS.
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Last edited by David Patterson : 04-04-2009 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:26 PM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Hello Everyone,

Donna Aldridge was so kind to post her thoughts about my product SpectraFix, and I thought I would wave hello to all you WetCanvasers and say that I am looking forward to meeting you all at the IAPS convention in Albuquerque this May!

I'd also like to clarify the point Colorix has raised about Casein being vulnerable to critters, molds and decay:

What I'd like to know is how they've dealt with the problem of Casein being exactly a product of milk, thus prone to be really yummy stuff for molds, bacteria, and wee creepy-crawlies. That is one reason this ancient and time-honoured binder has been shunned for a century.

From what I can tell, the main reason casein has fallen out of use is the advent of Acrylic Paints (hooray for innovation!), which ironically arose from work with the casein molecule to create plastic polymers. [ Did you know that milk casein was turned into an early form of plastic? Yup. Your Granny's buttons were made from milk casein in reaction with formaldehyde. ]

Casein, because it is one step removed from the natural state of milk by a refining process (I believe the proteins are precipitated using acids), leaves the casein molecules in a different state which does not attract water molecules and is not reactive and does not smell like Lunch. Microscopic creatures do not take up residence because - once dry - casein is basically inert. Even today it is widely used commercially as a woodworking glue, especially for doors, which really take a beating weather-wise!

On the other hand, I have heard that egg tempera paintings may fare worse in this regard and can attract appetites with sharp little teeth, because its constituents are often not refined, but are used from the fresh yolk. If you store a painting like that down in the cellar, you might find someone has made a lunch of it. But properly treated, egg tempera has proven to be one of our most durable media, as the works of Giotto attest.

As many of us know from sad experience, any artwork or paper can mold or be eaten when stored in moist conditions, so we must always be careful with dampness. But it seems that when kept properly dry, egg tempera and milk casein have resisted decay and cracking for thousands of years. If Degas indeed used casein to fix his pastels, (which it seems he did), they seem to be holding up pretty well too!

The grain alcohol (natural alcohol distilled from grains) used in SpectraFix is at a sufficient concentration to ensure that no bacteriological action can occur either. Thus SpectraFix has a nice long shelf life.

I hope this answers any concerns about biological degradation issues with Casein paint or fixative. (I tried to keep this short!)

Warmly,
Della

Last edited by Heydella : 04-04-2009 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 04-04-2009, 04:41 PM
PeggyB PeggyB is offline
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Della - welcome to the pastel forum, and thank you for the easy to understand explanation of the archival-ness (is that a word?) of your new product. I'm looking forward to trying it as I teach pastel classes here in the Pacific NorthWET at an art center where it is sometimes difficult if not impossible to go outside to use a fixative, and like my good friend Donna, I'm hesitent to use one in the classroom.

Peggy
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:01 PM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Della, Welcome, and thank you very much for the excellent description on how the casein resists little lunchers. Makes perfect sense, and my concerns do not exist anymore. Thanks a lot,

Charlie
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Old 04-04-2009, 05:54 PM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Thank you all for your kind welcome!

Being an artist myself, I developed SpectraFix for my own use to solve the "To Fix, or Not To Fix" question. After spending huge amounts of time on a piece, only to realize that it was still so vulnerable, I wanted a way to secure the pastel, but regular fixatives were out of the question due to the smell. I happen to be blessed with a nose like a dog: It doesn't look like a dog's but I do smell everything.

I am so delighted with SpectraFix because it can be sprayed right there at the easel, takes a few moments to dry and then you can keep right on working without breaking stride. No more trips outdoors, wondering where to lay the piece while you spray it, waiting in the cold,... etc. etc. It revolutionized my way of working... so much so that I couldn't stop talking about it to studio visitors.
So here it is... I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
By the way, I do have great discounts for teachers so everyone can save money on shipping ... email me and I'll give you the link to the page where you can order.

warmly,
Della
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Old 04-04-2009, 07:56 PM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

This is very cool! Thanks for posting about it, Donna! And thanks for inventing it, Della. I'm going to have to try this sometime.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:08 PM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

I received a sample as well and have some tests planned. Results of which I will post here, of course.
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Old 04-04-2009, 08:29 PM
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Paula Ford Paula Ford is offline
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Welcome Della!! I look forward to meeting you at IAPS!
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Old 04-04-2009, 10:49 PM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Della,

Welcome! And there is no question that this is a product we will all be interested in, will test and scrutinize ,and will enthusiastically embrace (and buy) if it works as well as it sounds!

Don
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:46 AM
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Hi Della and thank you so much for describing how your product works! I wish I had not read about the innovative use of good 'ol grain alcohol when I had a mouthful of coffee! Nothing like a good dose of alcohol to keep those bacterial critters subdued. I wish you much success with this product - there is such a need for a user-friendly fixative.

Donna
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:51 PM
dscrimager dscrimager is offline
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Re: New Type of Fixative — Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

I ordered today; I was looking for something like this as well!
Hopefully this will be the answer for many people./

Doug

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