Getting "melted" appearance with pastels

24 Feb 2009

Q: I want to use chalk pastels on unprimed canvas and have the colors achieve a melted look. How might I do this?

A: Pastels are water soluble, so you can achieve this effect by mixing dust from the pastel sticks with water. However, when the paint dries the canvas will pucker. A better choice would be to use acrylic matte medium, thinning the medium with water if necessary. Please remember that any pigments will likely darken and perhaps lose some brilliance when mixed with water.

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