KEEPING FRAMED PASTEL PAINTINGS NEATER

Any pastel artist who frames their work will tell you that pastel dust is an issue. Over time pastel dust falls from the work and dirties the bottom edge of the matting. When framing and matting a pastel painting, before mounting the matting into the frame fix a thin piece of mat board (about an inch wide) around the back of the last mat, an inch or so from the window opening, on all four sides. This will give a space for that dust to fall and not smear the bottom edge and will keep the artwork just a little farther from the glass.

Oil Paint Thinner

To thin my oil paints, I prefer Weber Odorless Turpenoid. It’s thin and colorless and it decreases drying time. I pour into a glass jar with lid (think pickle jar) and reuse. The paint sediment will fall to the bottom of the jar leaving the clear turp floating on the top. Although odorless, the thinner is still a hazardous material and should not be poured down the drain (save the fish people).

I recently tried a non-toxic thinner, Oil of Spike Lavender. This medium smells like heaven, that is if you are a fan of Lavender, which I really really am. I poured a small amount into a bowl and dipped my brush directly into the lavender oil then into my paint. The strokes started out very smooth however as I was working, the painting started to get gummy. As I reworked the painting adding layers the medium started to have a sticky consistency. Also, the smell of Lavender can be very intense and made my eyes tear after prolonged use (or was I crying over my sticky painting?). This product is also much more expensive then the turp.

In the end, I decided to continue to use the odorless turp when sketching out my painting and save the Lavender for the final details.

Information regarding the disposal of toxic chemicals in Warren can be found at the Sanitation Division 586-775-1400.