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Storing Pastel Artwork Safely

Not every piece of pastel artwork is destined for the wall. Even if it's not your best work it's wise to know about storing pastel artwork safely.


Not every piece of pastel artwork is destined for the wall. Even if it's not your best work it's wise to know about storing pastel artwork safely. Artists produce lots of art. Sometimes it needs to be stored safely until framing, posting or just to save on space. Even when these pieces aren't our best work, it does serve to keep them safe so we can see how much our methods, techniques and styles have improved over the years. the other thing with pastels is you can't reuse the paper too easily so once it's done, it's done, there's nothing left to do but store it or throw it away. So this is what I do with my artwork which is awaiting framing, postage or just needs a safe place to live until I sell it or take it to a show. This is my Kingfisher pastel drawing, I don't use fixative but I do use Pastelmat which does grip pastel pretty well however it will still smudge unless protected.

So once I've removed the tape from around the edge it leaves me a handling edge I can use to move my artwork about without touching the pastel. I then cover it with a piece of glassine which is a specialist paper which will protect the surface. You can buy it in sheets or as a roll but it can also be reused. I very often produce artwork in standard sizes so even after folding the edges of the glassine over, it will always fit another piece of artwork in the future.

Once I taped the glassing down on the back of the artwork I give it a good rub, this will push any loose pastel back onto the surface of the pastelmat as well so everything is firmly in place. Make sure you do it on the back as you could pucker the glassine on the front which could mark your artwork.

I then store my completed artwork or test pieces inside a photographers portfolio hardback folder. You can place multiple pieces of artwork in each sleeve and as every piece is covered in glassine and you've pushed the loose pastel onto the surface there will be no issues with static. the portfolio can be stored underneath a bed, upright in a cupboard etc with your artwork being safely stored.

Most of my pastel artwork is A3, 12x16 inches or below so I've found a 13x19 inch portfolio book is ideal as it allows for the extra handling edge and the artwork remains loose inside so it can easily be removed for framing/selling etc.

I found mine on Amazon but I'm sure there are plenty of other places you can buy them, they've definitely saved lots of my artwork from damage but I also know where everything is. You could use this method for colour pencils, charcoals, waterolours, acrylics (when dried) etc but I wouldn't recommend it for oils as they need to breathe until varnishing.

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Categories: panpastel, pastel pencils

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