Hi — over the twenty years I've been trying to do art I've grown more and more to hate fixatives (I’ve used all various kinds)—
so nowadays I want not to use charcoal/pencil/pastel/etc or mediums that require fixativing—
… could anyone please recommend other mediums I might employ in their stead? mediums that would not have to be fixatived?
forgive me if this is a stupid question—
I'd appreciate specific brand-name recommendations—
I just finished two bookcovers (in addition to stand-alone pictures, I do one-of-a-kind poetry books with handpainted covers) in gouache with charcoal/pencil/pastel and now I'm facing the job of having to spray them and I dread it—
what can I use in place of charcoal/pencil/pastel/etc?
I've searched online for an answer to this problem, but haven't found anything. Maybe there is no solution.
(I usually work with gouache/mixed media on paper or canvas sheet)
I share your dislike of fixatives as I am a charcoal/pastel lover. The spray on fixative just dulls the colours down and I dread using it too. But I can't abandon pastels, such a gorgeous medium. I put things I want to keep under glass or at least in a plastic sleeve in a portfolio, I know it's not ideal as things smudge, but seems better to me than drowning the lovely colours with spray on varnish.
Sorry I can't come up with an alternative but preserving your pastel work is worth researching I am sure. There are some old masters of pastel (e.g.de la Tour) whose works have survived for centuries, and I am sure he had no access to spray varnish!!
thanks for your thoughts ... yes I too especially like the effects I can seem to get only with charcoal/pastel,
and when I was younger I had less antipathy to the fivatives, but lately it's been more and more of an effort to
spray, so much so that my production level has declined . . .
I've tried ink and various markers as replacements for charcoal/pastel, but without much luck...
I'm hoping there are some mediums I can find to use that would be as effective as charcoal/pastel/graphite without having to deal with the hassles of fixativing . . .
I live in a small town and have to buy my supplies via the internet, so it's hard to research new products . . .
So far there seems to be no solution to the problem of fixatives changing pastel colors -- but I have read about Spectrafix, which is supposed to be a natural casein. I read that Degas used casein on his pastels. There is a great site called amien.org which researches chemical components of painting materials and here is a thread on Spectrafix:
Thanks Diana, that's really interesting!
try hairspray, readily available anywhere, and i know pastel artists who use it to great effect
well, remember that you want a really fine mist. and you don't want hairspray with any kind of conditioners. i'd MAYBE use a little sample hairspray in the field, but not in the studio. But this all begs the question of an alternative to fixatives, and I guess the answer is no. Now- didn't some artists used to steam the underside of their charcoals/pastels to fix them? seems i've heard that, but who knows how well that works (or why).
The steaming idea is interesting too. That could well work - of course you can paint over your pastel work with water (which fixes it more firmly to a paper surface as you are activating the gum binder) and it becomes more like a watercolour then - although of course it changes that lovely texturey grainy look of pastel. But steaming it - yes could well work!! Thanks again Diana, I might just try that!!!
here are some interesting thoughts from artist/teacher Richard mcKinley:
" One of the techniques Degas employed was the application of steam. A kettle of boiling water provided the fine water vapor and he reportedly applied it—in a variety of combinations of pastel and mixed-media—to produce different effects. At times, the stream was gently misted over the pastel surface to settle the outer layer of pastel. This didn’t produce a hard “fixed” surface like an application of resin-based fixative. Instead, it helped to bind the delicate outer pastel layer, making it less prone to migration and less fragile. He also applied the steam to thick passages of pigment, creating a pastel paste. This was then manipulated, either with a painting knife or brush, as the paste dried. Spraying water would have created a similar effect but steam was easier to regulate, allowing him to create a viscosity that met his needs. At other times, he would combine charcoal, watercolor or gouache with the dry pastel and then steam them together, creating interesting textures.
I assume you have tried ordinary waxy coloured pencils. I have a friend who does lovely work with coloured pencils.
I don't recall problems with smudging.
I would love to see a sample of what you have done. Kinda difficult to think of what might suit your style if I can't see it lol.
thanks for suggestion— waxy colored pencils? I'd appreciate a brand-name suggestion, live in a small town and have to buy supplies online—
to see a sample of my work, there's about 400 thumbnails posted on my art blog:
thanks for the suggestion— I'll try it
Nice paintings bill!
Just a thought for fixatives ... have you tried clear spray paint? I used to hate drawing mediums as well ... until I abandoned fixatives for an actual clear coat ... won't go glossy as it will absorb into the paper ... but keeps the vibrancy.