There’s something seriously sadomasochistic about creating a 5 foot wide pastel drawing. Here’s why.
They are very difficult to store.
Some pastel artists will use something called a spray fixative. It applies a clear coating that bonds the pastel chalk particles to the paper, reducing the chances of smudging and “preserves” the drawing. I learned a long time ago this also slightly alters the look of a piece. To some artists the alteration is insignificant, to artists like me there’s it is simply unacceptable. I will not fix a drawing ever at anytime.
This leaves the surface more vulnerable to damage from smudging and other forms of contamination such as dust prior to framing.
Theoretically to store a pastel before framing one could cover it with tissue paper and store it in a flat file drawer system. 2 problems here. First my studio is too small for 6 foot wide flat files, and I honestly am not even sure they make them that big. Second, I use very high end, very expensive pastels these days. I use them because of their incredible vibrancy. The colors are incredibly saturated and beautiful. You have to see them in person to really get a feel for how really, really rich they are. I don’t want anything coming in contact with the pastel, not fixative, not tissue paper, not anything. Ok I’m a little stubborn:) but it matters to me. I put in the time, effort, and money to make these the highest quality pieces I want them to stay at that level.
I have idea’s on how to get them to the framer’s without anything coming in contact with the surface. I can build a recessed cardboard carrier, keep it flat the whole time. Shouldn’t a problem.
Storage until then? Until I can afford to frame them (will get to that problem shortly) I am storing them on the walls of my studio. Problems again. I have high ceilings but a lot of work building up in here. A couple more of these pastels and I’m out of space:( They are also vulnerable to dust but I don’t have too many worries about smudging.
So as it has been explained to me due to their size these can not be framed using glass. Ugh. They will need to be framed with plexi-glass. Ok simple right? Nope, more problems. The static electricity from the plexi-glass will over time draw the pastel figments away from the paper and to the glass surface, obviously creating an undesired effect. To offset this effect the drawing will need to be framed in a deep box and spaced back from the glass.
Also…I always liked the double mat look. Due to the large size they will need to be single mat. I can live with that though and I have considered though no mat as they have tape edges that will be peeled away upon framing. A mat may not be necessary.
Anyhow due to all of this framing for just 1 piece like this will cost around $1000. I am ok with that price if its of the highest quality but coming up with that uh I already spent it making the piece lol.
And the amount of pastel dust all over my studio is incredible.
So why create artwork that is so difficult to store, costs $1000 to frame, has around $700 in pastels on it, high quality expensive paper, the model, the studio overhead etc. ?(time spent yeah right)
I have to.
So I contemplated not. I contemplated making some more small pencil drawings, work on something else, ink, a smaller pastel maybe. I contemplated it for all of about 2 hours telling myself all of the above and why I shouldn’t, but I could see her, I could see her 5 feet wide and she was powerful, she was beautiful. I never stood a chance, she was getting made and she was getting made at this size!
So I make art that is difficult to store, to frame and even more difficult to sell (I will have to find very high end buyers). Sadomasochism at its finest!
I think though if I can make 12-15 of these and frame them I’ll have a body of work I can approach a serious gallery with. Until then…