Monday, February 25, 2013

FIXATIVE and other pastel tips

FIXATIVE and other pastel tips

Fixative will change the character of the pastel, (it varies depending on how heavily the spray applied). But I would still suggest a very light spray over the piece and then if you want to brighten up a few areas go back in and do so. 

Practice spraying on another surface before spraying your painting... all spray cans are not created equal and you want to make sure it isn't going to come out in droplets due to a clog, etc.  plus you need to practice distance and velocity.

Tip:  if you value the piece, then do not use non-archival materials in your artwork like hairspray.

*With pastel pencils you may not need fixative because you will probably not have the buildup that you get with the softer stick pastels*

To minimize fallout or falloff from heavier pastel application Take preventative measures.
  1. Use quality paper that has enough tooth to handle the pastel you intend to put on it.
  2. Use workable fixative during the painting process especially when you feel the tooth of the paper is becoming full. (use only a very fine mist- do not saturate the pastel or the paper)
  3. After completing an area of pastel work, gently tap the back to release the loose pastel. (here is where you then might want to use a light mist of workable fixative) then continue working.  Do this periodically during the painting process to keep the pastel firmly attached to your paper.
  4. optimally, you will want to mat and frame when complete- If you are going to stack and store or stand and store you will start seeing smudge and falloff.  If you are planning to store the piece, I would definitely give it a light mist of workable fixative before storing. When you are ready to mat and frame, you can hit a few key areas with fresh pastel to brighten up the pic

* Nothing is really a perfect solution, but here is a storage idea:
You can mount your pastel paper onto museum board and place the mat on the piece for safer storage if you are not ready to frame it yet.
I only recommend stacking if you have firm layers between the artworks.
For example:
  1. Mount your pastel paper onto museum board,
  2. put the desired mat in place,
  3. then layer place a piece of glass (the size of the mat) as the top laye
  4. repeat the process for the next piece.   
The museum board supports the pastel paper. The mat keeps the work away from the glass and the glass protects the surface of the art while keeping the works from warping down onto the piece below.
Always use archival materials as separators and supports and mats!
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