Thursday, June 22, 2017

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Does fixing pastels make them go darker?

An overkill test of the effect of spray fixer on a pastel painting. Did the pastel go darker?

pastel spray fixingIn this test I took a piece of grey pastel paper, folded it down the centre and then applied a selection of hard pastels - all the same make, in this case Sakura Carre pastels -  across the crease.

Then, after folding, one side was sprayed generously with spray fixer - I was using the one made by Sennelier.  I repeated this 3 times, letting each application dry for about two minutes. Here's the result, and I am surprised by how little effect the fixative had. The pale blue on the right and the orange were very slightly darkened, and the dark warm blue on the right went slightly darker and "warmer" i.e. slightly more purple.

Bearing in mind that throughout the stages of painting a pastel you are unlikely to spray fix more than three times - and then only lightly - the effect is minimal.

CONCLUSION? At least with these pastels and this spray, fixing makes very little difference to hue, saturation or value. Just don't do it more than you need to.