Artists Unique Methodology
Pastel is pure pigment, the same pigment used in making all fine art paints. Pastel comes from the French word ‘Pastiche’ as the powdered pigment is ground into a paste, mixed with a small amount of binder and rolled into small sticks about the size of your little finger. It is similar to the chalk used on blackboards at school but with much higher pigments and less binding agents. Pastels come in cake (like a lady’s powder foundation), sticks as mentioned above and pencils. They also come in hard and soft and vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Most of the better quality pastels are archival which means that the painting will be permanent, remain fresh in colour for many years if hung and framed correctly.
A painting is created by stroking the pastel across an abrasive surface embedding the dry pigment into the ‘tooth’. By using the width, side or point of a pastel a variety of textures and detail can be created. Using the right sort of paper many layers can be made producing subtle shades or vibrant marks.
To prevent the particles of pigment from becoming loose, you can fix pastels with a spray fixative / adhesive over the finished painting. Many professional artists including myself are not fond of this as to date, there is not a pastel fixative that doesn’t alter the colour or freshness. Instead different surfaces are used that grip the pastel and techniques are utilised during the painting process to ensure the pastel stays in place. However, in the final fine details, some loose particles may occur and are common with pastel paintings. To overcome this, an inner invisible mount allows any loose particles to collect behind the outer mount.
When hanging a pastel painting it is important that it is not hung in direct sunlight nor over a direct source of heat such as a radiator as both create static which may cause some of the tiny particles of pigment on the surface to lift off and form on the inside of the glass of the frame.
If you are an overseas customer your pictures may not be framed but all efforts to ensure your picture arrives in super condition will be taken and your painting will be mounted ready for framing.
If you received your painting unframed, then please handle with the following care. Remove outer packaging, card, bubble wrap. Your mounted pastel painting will be wrapped in a sealed clear film but inside there will be a sheet of Glassine opaque non static paper that covers the image. Carefully open the sealed clear film on a flat table and very gently lift off the glassine paper to view your painting. DO NOT touch the painting as it smudges very easily. If there are any loose particles on the surface, gently turn over the painting so it is face down and tap the back of the painting 1 or 2 times only to remove the dust. Turn back over. And view again. Replace the glassine paper and reseal in the clear film and packaging, keep flat and store in a safe dry place where it’s not going to be knocked or anything put on top of it and have it professionally framed as soon as possible.
“Printmaking is fun because it takes a perfectly simple process like drawing and makes it as complicated and error-prone as possible.” – George Bodmer
Reduction linocut prints are made from the same lino block for all the colours in each printed design.
The process starts by cutting away usually the lightest colour from the lino using specialised carving tools and then printing this onto each sheet of paper in the numbered edition.
The printmaker then carves away the second colour from the same block and then prints the second colour over the first registering the design carefully with markers. This process is repeated for each colour in the design until the final layer is printed.
It is a time-consuming process with each print taking up to a week – sometimes more to produce depending on the number of colours and the intricate details of the design.
As you can see from the image of the ‘Social Gulls’, there is not a lot left of the tile except the red legs and beaks, the final colour that was printed in this design. This is why once printed no other edition can be made as it has been almost totally cut away.
Each limited-edition reduction lino print is unique due to the hand printing process and the final hand-finishing / touching up details.
There are many types of printing paper and relief printing inks – my preferred choice of paper is Fabriano 250gm smooth printing paper and Schminke water-based printing inks.