Attention Pastel Artists

February 16, 2005

Read the following for pastel options with GOLDEN's Acrylic Ground for Pastels and an updated best practice statement about GOLDEN's Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish.

Designed with pastel artists in mind, GOLDEN's Acrylic Ground for Pastels provides sufficient tooth for the uniform lay down of pastels on any prepared surface. This product is translucent so it reveals the underlying surface. If desired, it can be applied over standard Acrylic Gesso or colors. Acrylic Ground for Pastels can be applied to paper, canvas, wood or any primed support. This allows almost limitless applications for media typically confined to standard papers.

Experiment for varied techniques: Acrylic Ground for Pastels can be blended with small amounts of GOLDEN Acrylic Paints to achieve tinted grounds; adding Fine Pumice Gel will lower the tooth; Coarse Pumice Gel will increase the tooth. For unusual effects, also experiment with additions of Micaceous Iron Oxide, Black Mica Flake, Coarse Alumina Gel and other products.

When working with fragile products like soft pastels or charcoal, it is important to apply a fixative to secure the material. Until recently, GOLDEN has offered Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish as a fixative option. However, as part of an ongoing effort to evaluate the best practices for using our products, GOLDEN has recently decided to update our recommendation relative to Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish and Pastels:

  • Due to the varying effects and changes that can occur when using the Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish over Pastel, various drawing media, Watercolor and Gouache, it is recommended that you do NOT use it for fixing, top coating, or varnishing these mediums, unless first testing and experimenting thoroughly.

  • The effects and changes noted above are primarily a darkening of the work due to changes in the nature of the surface and consequently, the refractive index. While there may be ways to fine tune the process by using a combination of satin or matte varnish over an initial gloss coat, or very light coats of varnish, we feel that the significant darkening observed in many cases, may constitute unacceptable changes for many artists.

  • If deciding to continue with this varnish application, both the media and the substrate should be taken into consideration. Test all brands and colors to avoid bleeding or darkening of colorants. Begin by applying very light coats of gloss varnishas a fixative. Once enough light layers have been applied to create a dried glossy film, begin layers of desired sheen in subsequent coats.

For more detailed information on Acrylic Ground for Pastels or Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish , please review the Acrylic Ground for Pastels Product Information Sheet:

or the Archival Aerosol MSA Varnish Product Information Sheet:

For questions on specific projects , or any other GOLDEN product, please contact Tech Support at [email protected] or 800-959-6543 / 607-847-6154 Mon. - Fri. 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST.