Soft Pastels

24 Feb 2009

Q: Is there any way I can add something to soft pastels and/or the surface I'm working on to make the soft pastels fix better? Does turpentine make them fix?

Turpentine is used to start a pastel painting because by blending the turpentine with the soft pastels you can fill in shapes more easily. It is not used as a fixative, however, because it can change the chemistry of the pastels from a soft texture to a diluted flat, matte surface. A spray fixative for soft pastels is best, but make sure to read the labels before purchasing. Some will dry leaving a hard, shiny surface, or even a cloud. Latour has been proven to be the best on the market. It is the most transparent, least-yellowing matte film available.

--by Camille LaPointe-Lyons

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