The Painting Won’t Accept Any More Pastel!
(Don’t Worry There’s Hope!)
This is when there is just too much pastel on the surface and the texture of the board is totally covered and filled up. The pastel is pushed around with no adhesion to the painting, leaving the artist unable to complete their work.
There are many different variables that could contribute to this overloading of pastel. The most common occurrence is when the artist uses pastels that are too soft and they used them too early in the painting process. The texture on the board accepts and holds the pastel pigment only when its pores are not completely filled. Even with the perfect surface such as the marble dust treated Masonite, the surface can get still become overloaded.
There are a few fixes that I have used over the years to save an overloaded painting. Here are two of my techniques to get the surface to accept a few more layers in such an emergency.
One of the ways would be to use a "workable fixative" spray. This comes in a spray can and you can purchase fixative at any art supply store or online retailer. It is a little toxic and I recommend spraying your painting in a well-ventilated room or even outside. Spray an even coat, holding the can about 12 inches from the painting. Apply this in a back and forth motion. Please make sure that it is a very light and even coat. You need to spray with no visible patterns. After it is thoroughly dried, repeat another coat if needed. You will notice that it did darken the colors a bit but the surface will now accept some limited pastel applications. It will not accept a great amount pastel but at least you will be able to adjust the colors and complete that area of the painting.
A second technique that I like to use for overloaded pastel on my board is using leftover marble dust gesso mixture from when I prepared my boards. First, I will try and lift as much of the pastel as possible with a kneaded eraser. Once much of the pastel is removed, I will cover the affected area with a light coat of the marble dust mixture. Let it dry and after I can repaint the affected area. This is a more radical technique but there are times that even the fixative won’t work. This will save the day and your painting.