Friday, July 30, 2010

New Portrait Painting & Some Observations

I just finished the portrait shown and delivered it to the customer yesterday.  This one went fairly easily and I just love this little dog's face.  It's a pastel done on velour paper and everything went fine until I began to spray between the layers.

Velour is a funny/odd substrate in that pastel will all fall off when you don't want it to and will cling tenaciously when you want to remove it!  I swear it seems to know the difference!  So, to prevent problems, I normally spray with fixative between layers then leave the top layer alone or spray very lightly.

I reviewed the SpectraFix fixative not too long ago here on my blog and that is what I used on this portrait.  It's about the only fixative I've ever used that doesn't change the color of the pastel and I think it's the best fixative out there.

However, even with the utmost care, it can "sputter" and leave large drops of the fixative on the painting.  I've had it happen both on paper and with the velour and it's very difficult to correct as the spots show up clearly.  There's not much you can do to correct the spots on paper and even going over the spot with more pastel sometimes doesn't cover it completely.  Normally it's a bit easier on the velour, fortunately.  I waited for the spots to dry completely then took a stiff bristle brush to gently brush the fixative off as much as possible and to sort of fluff up the nap.  I can add back pastel if needed to cover completely but usually the velour doesn't need it.

This time it didn't work that well and the spots were really visible on the background where there was no pastel to begin with.  I ended up adding a halo effect with pastel around the dog to hide the spots.  This worked, fortunately.

I'll know in the future to shield any areas without pastel to protect from these spots! 


sue said...

Nobody would have known different if you hadn't 'confessed' Jan. It looks perfectly natural with the halo. Lovely portrait.

Isn't it the pit when things go wrong in the final stages .. I've had some nasty surprises with fixative on cps before - colours changing dramatically and those splutters/splashes you mention

All's well here though :o)

Teresa said...

Jan! It's gorgeous!! And a dog that cute and sweet definitely needs a halo!

Great job!

Dors said...

So cute Jan. Love it.

Whooops with the fixative. Glad you were able to cover it and not have to start over.

Beautiful job.

Jan said...

Thanks for the support, ladies! I was so relieved to be able to hide the spots as this portrait got interrupted with a trip to Florida and it was hard to get back to it.

teo21 said...

I asked the maker about this problem. They told me you were supposed to saturate the paper & then there wouldn't be any spots! I've not tried that yet. Tammy said...

love the portrait, looks like a really sweet little dog. I have similar problems with fixative on various pastel papers (I rarely use velour) it's so annoying when you think you've finished!

Jan said...

Thank you so much for commenting teo21 so I, and others, will know the remedy for this problem! I so appreciate your comment and am relieved that there is a solution!

Geraldine, this is Poppy and I was fortunate enough to get to meet her before I painted her portrait. She is really a little love and a beautiful little dog.

Debra Babcock said...

I love love this painting! But I love all your work. So soft looking...Like you can reach out and pet them!

Jan said...

Lol, Debra! The feeling is so mutual as I adore your paintings! Seriously, you paint in a great realistic, but whimsical manner that is so endearing. Just great!

Thanks so much for stopping by and hope you'll come by again.

Debra Babcock said...

Thanks for saying that Jan. I needed to hear that so much. I have often referred to my art as "Realistic Whimsy". I started out wanting to paint like you. Your paintings are so soft and just full of tenderness and talent. But such is not the case. ha ha It's funny how my technique chose me and not the other way around. And that's fine with me...Smiles

Jan said...

Oh, this is too funny, Debra - believe it or not, I've always wanted to paint like you! And no matter how hard I try, I end up being a realistic painter! What's that old saying about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence - lol!

I think the reason for the softness in my paintings is the fact that I use soft pastel and, more often than not, my portraits are on either velour or PastelMat or a sanded surface. You just can't get perfectly crisp edges with pastel on any of those supports and I think that's why I find them ideal for animal portraits.

Debra Babcock said... that's the secret! That's good to know. I've wanted to do more with Oil pastels but just haven't taken that leap. Maybe when I get caught up with the commissions I already have and a humongous Doggie Duds order I can try it out...I just love the effect it has on your work.

baby crib said...

When I first saw that painting. I thought it is a true photo of a dog. I was tricked in that amazing painting. It really looks so real.