I've been in search of a way to paint in pastels and then frame the finished painting without glass. Impossible usually because of how fragile pastel is on paper---just the slightest touch will brush away the pastel, smear the image, or rub out any texture you've created. Most pastels are framed under glass with a spacer between the painting and mat to allow any loose pastel dust to fall between the mat & spacer to avoid marring the face of the mat. Pain-in-the-butt framing, but a necessity with pastels. Because framing is one of my least favorite things to do (and it's darn expensive too having to use archival matting, acid free foam core, etc!) I've dreamed of finding a way to paint in pastel without all that framing fuss. After doing some extensive research, I went to work on Wednesday and tried a technique for the very first time that was suggested by another pastel artist (http://www.rockmouthart.com/art/content/glasslesspastels.html) whom was very generous with sharing her method. (Thank you again Tricia Messinger!)
As I sprayed the first layer of diluted PVA size onto my pastel, I was just a touch disappointed to see it melt the pigment and watch bits of it drip down the surface I'd prepared... Once I blew it dry tho, I was beginning to get excited---the color that seemed to melt while wet returned almost completely (tho a tad darker which she warned about). The drips added texture (ok, so I didn't really want texture right there, but that was ok---it was my first attempt and I knew this was essentially an experiment!) I have a hard time not producing a piece of artwork that isn't supposed to be immediately saleable upon finishing...so I don't often experiment like I should! Happily, I was able to continue working on the piece and with added layers of the size (and a more careful application to avoid dripping) and continued use of the blow dryer I was able to produce something in pastel that was truly "sealed"! It still looked like a pastel, it was still brilliant with color, but it was protected---WITHOUT GLASS!!!
I'm just a little EXCITED!! With an abundance of wood boards leftover from signs my husband has made, I have materials galore to draw from to create surfaces of all sizes for future pastel paintings---no more am I limited by what I can afford in framing materials---no more do I have to even use frames (the latest look in galleries seems to be wrapped canvases where the painting extends around the edges of the canvas or board) which means NO FRAME!
Here is the finished painting---I used the pastel I painted in Independence as my subject matter, so now I have one to keep and one to sell---tho this one is not quite finished---close tho.
This next photo shows the board I used as my surface---I puttied the edges and then used acrylic silicone to seal the edges which I'll probably just paint black now or use some simple wood molding painted black to frame the piece. I covered the surface I painted with 2 coats of Art Spectrum Colorfix Pastel Primer in black (http://www.cheapjoes.com/art-supplies/5643_art-spectrum-pastel-primer.asp) before I went to work with the pastels. Time to go finish this painting and start a new one---think I'll try something big next time...