Monday, July 21, 2014

Pastel Painting: To Fix or Not To Fix?

I just HAD to paint the other night after all my chores were done, so grabbed my newly organized dry pastel boxes and went to town. Here's the result, more pastel painting fun in my 'Channeling Rothko' series:

 Channeling Rothko 2, 2014, 9in x 12in, pastel on paper

 Channeling Rothko 3, 2014, 9.5in x 12.5in, pastel on Colourfix paper

After I finished these pastel paintings, I took them outside the next day to spray with Pastel Fixative... and it saturated some of the colors into the paper, making dark areas appear in the painting surface! This meant I had to reapply another layer of pastel in certain areas to "repair" the paintings.

That's always a challenge to the pastel artist; to fix or not to fix? Fixing is generally done by using a light re-working or final Fixative spray to lock in the dusty paint pigment powder that lingers on the surface of the pastel painting after the majority of the dust has been tapped off. Some pastel artists don't use fixative, others swear by it. 

I have found one of the tricks to using a fixative spray is to hold the can at least 12 inches away from the painting surface, start spraying off the edge of the painting surface and use a moderate to quick sweeping motion to apply the spray to the surface, making sure to keep the spray can the same distance from the surface all the way across (avoid the sweeping arc that has a more forceful spray at the middle of the arc than at the beginning and end).

For more detailed information, here's an interesting article about Fixatives from the Artists Network Pastel Journal and here is a place, Dakota Art Pastels, that specializes in supplying pastel painting supplies with a write up on their different fixative products:

Happy Arting! :)  Tristina

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