Do you want to know the best ways to seal chalk pastels? In this detailed guide, we will explore all of the different methods and products that can be used to protect your original pastel paintings.
We will also provide a list of our top picks for pastel sealers.
If you are new to the world of chalk pastels or looking for advice on hanging a pastel painting properly, this is the blog post for you.
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What Are Chalk Pastels?
Chalk pastels are a type of soft pastel manufactured by combining dry pigments with binders and then pouring the mixture into molds.
The great thing about chalk pastels is that they are very versatile – you can use them for detailed work and loose sketches. They also come in many colors, perfect for creating vibrant artwork.
When you’re in a hurry, pastels are an excellent dry medium because they’re easy to mix, blend, and apply. Their vibrant hues produce beautiful, bright art that doesn’t need brushes, water, or harmful chemicals.
Unfortunately, pastels can be tricky and messy, so many artists avoid them. Spray fixative is a solution used to preserve pastel sketches. But using a spray fixative has certain advantages and disadvantages.
When Should Artists Use A Fixative On Pastel Drawings
- Pastels have a vibrant color, unlike most mediums but have a propensity to “move” on the paper or rub off if the painting is mishandled or touched.
- Fixative should be sprayed lightly over your painting as you work to help keep your pastels in place so that you can build your artwork up layer by layer without smudging or wiping the pastel layers off as you go.
- Fixatives can also deepen your dark values, especially during the middle point of a painting, but if you do not want the values to darken, fixatives will not be a good choice for your paintings.
- Before pastel work is placed into a frame, many artists and framers use a fixative spray to keep the dust off the mat and glass. However, other artists will matt the pastel painting to keep the pastel off the glass, preserving the artwork as long as let painting does not change frames.
- Tips On How To Use A Spray Fixative
- Some fixatives can be hazardous to your health. When applying a fixative, take your work outside and prop it up if possible. Read the instructions before using a fixative. Back up a few feet, keeping in mind that the can should be at least a foot away from work. Shake the can and use a medium, even spray, starting from the left and working toward the right.
- Keep an eye on the wind as you spray since this will impact where the fixative falls.
- Add the fixative in light layers. You may always add more fixative as needed, but over-spraying a pastel painting might damage it.
- Let the pastel dry in place before adding another layer of fixative. Read the instructions for the drying time. Most fixatives dry quickly.
- Spray fixative works best on rough “toothy” surfaces made for pastel paintings like Clairefontaine Pastelmat.
- Remember that a spray fixative will not “seal” your work. Fixative is designed to keep the pastel in place so you can continue painting or prevent some of the dust from rubbing off as you handle it.
Best Fixatives For Pastel Paintings On Paper
Use this resin-based and alcohol-based solution, explicitly developed by Sennelier for soft pastels, to seal soft pastel drawings and protect them from the support.
Sennelier Latour Spray Fixative for Pastels prevents the subdued hues of pastel colors from being altered. It’s the most transparent and non-yellowing matte film on the market. For optimum protection against smearing, repeated light applications are suggested.
This transparent fixative, which is formed from a vinyl resin and alcohol combination, leaves a transparent and glossy film to protect oil and chalk pastels against dust and rubbing. It’s available in a 400 ml (13.5 oz) aerosol spray can.
How To Hang A Pastel Painting Without Smudging The Painting
If you’re careful, you can hang a pastel painting without worrying about ruining it.
Here are some tips on how to properly hang a pastel painting:
- Before hanging your painting, ensure your wall is clean and free of dust or dirt.
- Use picture hooks that have been designed for use with heavy paintings.
- Use a hanging wire instead of nails or screws to hang the painting. Ensure that you attach the wire correctly and securely to prevent it from slipping off its hooks.
- Add several fixative layers to your pastel painting so that dust particles are less likely to ruin it.
- Matt the painting so the pastel will not rub on the frame’s glass. Use acid-free masking tape to matt the painting.
- Use a UV glass frame to protect the painting from ultraviolet light.
Fixatives Not Recommended For Chalk Drawings
Using fixatives made for chalk paintings is suitable only, as other fixatives can damage the painting.
Here are products to avoid:
- Cheap fixative
- Mod podge
- Isopropyl alcohol
Only use high-quality fixatives for your pastel art.
Final Thoughts On How To Seal Chalk Pastels
Achieving the right level of protection for your pastel painting will help it last longer. You can avoid smudging and other damages by following simple tips like hanging without nails or screws, using only high-quality fixatives made specifically for chalk paintings, and adding several layers of fixative to keep dust at bay.
Remember that not all sealers are created equal; read product labels before applying any substance to your artwork.
There might be times when you do not want to use a fixative on your pastel drawings because the fixative might darken the values of the pastels. To learn other methods used for protecting soft chalk pastels visit, How to Protect Soft Pastel Drawings without Fixative.