Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sealing Experiments

I've had loads of questions on how I seal my colored pencil drawings on Pastelbord to make them frameable without glass.

I've been using first 2 coats of Lascaux fixativ and then 4 light coats of the Kamar varnish spray. I have had good results except that it ALWAYS darkens the colors. Sometimes that's a good thing... sometimes its very bad. Ideally your spray shouldn't change colors though... I mean you work hard to get a picture perfect and then hope the spray doesn't change it too much. That's not good policy.

I found out why the spray (aerosol) varnish and some fixatives change the colors. To keep the sprays liquid they all have a little bit of solvent in them, in differing amounts for different brands, which is why some brands of fixative change colors more than others. If you've ever used solvent when you are making a drawing you can attest to the fact that the solvent with colored pencil really darkens the colors.

So that's why I am so excited about my friend Gary's experiments with brush on water-based varnishes and why I'm joining in on the fun. I had been using the spray aerosol varnish because the colored pencil on Pastelbord is a bit unstable anyway (can be brushed off fairly easily) so I was afraid to brush on a varnish. BUT it seems like if you use a good fixative first you can avoid smearing. Gary has tried Golden's varnish for acrylics with good results so far.

I tried brush on varnish from Liquitex yesterday on a test piece and had some trouble with the pencil smearing. Lots of trouble when the colored pencil wasn't fixed first and much less when it was fixed. Gary gave me some tips to try and I'll see if I can't get it not to smear.

Next I'm trying Lascaux's varnish for acrylics. It too is water-based. They also sell a sprayer that you can use with it so I bought it as well. I'm hoping that since I use Lascaux fixative first, that the varnish, although it is water-based, will have no problems adhering which could be another problem.

The nice part of these alternatives, as well as them not changing the colors of your drawing, is that they also have lightfast qualities to protect your work even more.

So I'll let you know soon!


Scott said...

Thanks for the information Nicole. I'm interested in doing this as well. Thanks for doing all the leg work for me:)

Katherine said...

This is being blogged on Sunday! ;)

Plus I'll put this one on my squidoo lens as well. Can't wait to see the next installment!