On my you tube channel I’ve made a video about a common question: should you use a fixative for pastel portraits? Let’s explore this in my video.
My Early Days with Fixatives
In the video, I talk about my early art days. I used fixatives for charcoal and graphite, which was great. But when I switched to pastels, I tried using a fixative too. Big mistake! It made the colors dull and the bright details disappear.
Other Artists vs. My Approach
Some artists say you should use a fixative. I don’t agree, and I explain why in the video. You don’t always need to do what others say. It also depends a lot on the material, the paper you are using.
A Story About Picture Framers and Fixatives
I share a story about a lady from Vienna who had a bad experience with a framer using a fixative on her portrait. It ruined the artwork. She asked for my help, but I couldn’t fix it because every artist’s work is different.
My Personal Approach to Fixing Pastel Portraits
Do I use a fixative? No. I tell you in the video that if you use good pastel paper like Pastelmat, your work will stick just fine. Just handle it carefully and frame it behind glass.
A Word of Caution About Hairspray
In the video, I warn against using hairspray as a fixative. It can make your portraits yellow. If you really need a fixative, pick a good one made for pastels.
When to Use Fixative Exceptionally
There’s one time I say it’s okay to use a fixative: when your paper gets too much pastel and you can’t add more layers. If you paper is saturated and you would like to draw another layer over it. A thin layer of fixative can help you keep going.
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