It’s Friday and it’s time to put a question to an Advisory Board member. We’ve slipped into the question: Do you use fixative?

Today we have Felicity House to share her thoughts.

 

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No, I don’t normally use fixative.

But I’ve pastel artist friends who do. Their style is to work much more thickly with pastels and as they layer up, they spray fixative between layers and then continue to work on.

I remembered this recently when working on an interior of my dining room – rather foolishly, I’d drawn a bit too carefully in dark blue! I couldn’t seem to lose the initial drawing which, although sound, was too dominant. 

Knowing I probably wouldn’t be using it again, I bought a small can of Daler Rowney Perfix Colourless Fixative. Hand in a fist, I rubbed back the picture surface with the heel of my hand; when sufficient pastel was removed, I was able to fix what remained with a coating of the spray.

Once dry, I reworked the piece with fresh lively pastel marks. It seemed to do the trick.

Here’s the first knocked-back pastel:

 

Use fixative or not: 1. Felicity House, the knocked-back pastel work for using fixative
Felicity House, the knocked-back pastel work for using fixative

 

And then the post-fixative pastel with re-stated marks: 

 

Use fixative or not: 2. Felicity House, the re-worked piece with lively pastel marks
Felicity House, the re-worked piece with lively pastel marks

 

Usually, I work quite thinly with pastel marks. Often, this is over an underpainting with tonal washes of neutral watercolour to plot in the composition. This helps me establish darks and reduces the need for thick layers of pastel, for me anyway. So generally I find no need to use fixative at all. I prefer to keep the pastel marks and colours lively and fresh. 

Even those artists who fix their preliminary pastel layers don’t usually fix the final surface as it can deaden the colour and luminosity. 

 

Felicity House PS, "Dining Room," pastel, 56 x 50 cm.
Felicity House PS, “Dining Room,” pastel, 56 x 50 cm.

 

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Thanks for sharing how you use fixative, Felicity!

(To read what other board members think, click here.)

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You still have time to enter the Dakota Art Competition!

 

Dakota Art Pastels runs a Quarterly Competition and the deadline of 14th December to enter their fourth one of the year is fast approaching.  But you still have a few days to enter!

To inspire you, here’s Diane Allen’s painting. It won an Honourable Mention in the third quarter contest.

 

Diane Allen, "Lemons in a Blue Bowl," pastel. Honourable Mention in Dakota Art Pastels Third Quarter Contest
Diane Allen, “Lemons in a Blue Bowl,” pastel. Honourable Mention in Dakota Art Pastels Third Quarter Contest

 

So get entering HERE!

Prizes will be awarded on 31st December.

And that’s it for this time!

Gail

PS. Speaking of entering, why not be an Early Bird (and be rewarded with a lesser fee!) and enter the PleinAir Salon? You still have time to grab the early Bird pricing until the 15th of December. Why not enter a piece into Dakota Art Pastels and into the PleinAir Salon – one for two!

PPS. One day left to VOTE on your favourite from the November PleinAir Salon Contest! VOTE NOW!

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