Fixative for watercolors

24 Feb 2009

Q: Is there a spray fixative for watercolor paintings, and if so, should I use it?

A: There is no fixative for watercolors. Fixatives are primarily used for four purposes: 1) to allow the piece to repel dirt and allow for light cleaning; 2) to make it glossy; 3) to affix the pigment onto the surface; and 4) to prevent the pigments from fading. Fixative does not work in this manner when applied to watercolor, so it would be wise to consider other options. Fixative would not allow a watercolor painting to be cleaned nor would it protect it from dirt as well as a frame with glass. Because watercolor paints stain the paper and the pigment does not tend to flake off as it does with pastels or with drawing media such as charcoal, fixative is not needed in between applications of paint, or when a work is finished. One of the strengths of watercolors is their delicate, matte finish, so if one wants a glossy finish, acrylic paints would be a better choice. And even a fixative formulated to protect a piece from ultraviolet rays would not completely prevent a watercolor from fading.

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Antontoo wrote
on 9 Apr 2013 11:59 AM

Schmincke do a watercolour fixative called Aero which is a final fix spray and protects from dust fingerprints and humidity , it states that there is no colour change when applied in thin layers.