Using SpectraFix is easy!
Use it to fix charcoal, pastel, conte, pencil, watercolors, gouache, tempera or on mixed media cross-over techniques without even holding your nose. It is also perfect for use in securing that underpainting layer before you varnish or apply oil paint. It dries to a velvety matte finish within 1 - 2 minutes, so sprayed and unsprayed areas are indistinguishable.
First of all, make sure that you have removed excess charcoal or pastel dust clinging to borders or naked areas which you do not want to be colored by tapping the sheet gently on an edge. Try not to breathe pastel dust. Blowing is not recommended as it makes the dust airborne and the pigments easily work their way deep into lungs.
For thick applications of media, tapping gently on the back will generally remove excess without disturbing your work. Remember, if you are working vertically, the dust does fall downward and will come to rest on the lower areas of your art, so be sure to tap from the top down. Tilting the easel forward while you work can also help in this regard.
Spraying across your artwork at an angle is a great way to maximize the drift of the spray and allow it to fall on the maximum area. Either set your work upright or lay it down. Some artists suggest upright, so that any droplets that form on the nozzle will not fall on your artwork, but on the floor. This is good advice, but may not be pertinent, as our spray nozzles do not drip. You may also consider spraying from two opposing angles to really hold the pastel firmly.
Generally speaking, a light misting on every layer of pastel will help hold the foundational layers better than a final soaking coat. It will also ensure that the painting grips its support from the bottom up, and final layers of color can be added to 'tune' the overall color symphonics at the end.
Soaking layers are fine, but the crystalline powdery pastel will compact a bit more and be slightly less brilliant due to less light penetration between the crystals.
While the casein in SpectraFix does not seem to 'sediment out' over time, if you have let it sit for many weeks, giving it a shaking ensures that the casein is evenly mixed into the solution. If the nozzle plugs up, just scratch it gently with your fingernail or another small object and remove any clots. Then spray again. The alcohol in the formula will dissolve any remaining blockage.
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