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Blog Category: Artist Crayon

Step 3 - Mounting the Artwork on a Panel

At the beginning of the mounting process I realized that I didn't have a table big enough for the arwork so I had to be creative and decided to place a mirror closet door on top of the smaller table I had available.

 

First I carefully trimmed the extra canvas around my piece. The trimmed canvas at this point is a bit larger than the cradled panel to account for possible misalignments during mounting. The wood panel I always use for mounting my art is an Ampersand Claybord

 

My favorite mounting adhesive is Gudy 831, a very aggressive double-stick adhesive film especially suitable for applications on rough or textured surfaces. It's acid free (pH 7), it passed the photo activity test (PAT), and will not dry out or discolor with age. It's available on rolls with a single release liner. Gudy 831 can be purchased online from Talas in different size rolls. However, if you don't use a large quantity of adhesive as I do or are just experimenting, I suggest you buy Grafix Double Tack Mounting Film which comes in sheets of different sizes. This is also acid free and archival. 

  

After carefully unrolling the adhesive onto the surface of the Claybord, I burnished it with a brayer and trimmed the excess around the edges. I punctured the air bubbles with an X-Acto knife and burnished the area until the air was gone.

 

Next I created a fold on the release liner to expose a 1" wide section of the tacky area of the mounting adhesive.

 

I positioned the canvas over the Claybord and, when perfectly centered, I pressed the canvas on the exposed 1" section of adhesive. 

 

Then I slowly pulled away the release liner while unrolling the canvas over the adhesive. With a sheet of tracing paper covering the canvas, I gently rubbed the surface with a rag until all the release liner was pulled out. As I forgot to take a picture of this step, I'm using a reference from an older artwork. 

 

I turned the board upside down on the mirror to trim the extra canvas with an X-Acto knife.

 

Trimming the extra canvas.

 

Here's the canvas mounted and trimmed.

 

I rolled a rubber brayer all over the surface protected by tracing paper.

 

Then I placed the board under weights overnight. Heavy books will do especially with smaller pieces. 

 

Finally I painted the sides of the cradled board with acrylic.

 

On my next post I will talk about the process of getting my artwork professionally photographed.

 

Step 1: before varnishing

Step 2: sealing the artwork

Step 3: mounting the artwork on a panel

Step 4: having the artwork professionally photographed

Step 5: applying the final varnish

Step 6: framing the artwork

 

Step 2 - Sealing the Artwork

After cleaning up the artwork from debris and cat hair, as explained in Step 1, I taped the canvas on a piece of gatorboard. Any rigid surface like cardboard or foamboard can also work for this purpose. Then I took it outside to begin the sealing process.

Sealing the piece creates a separation layer between the painting and the final varnish. Because the final varnish ages and collects dust and grime through the years, it needs to be removable for conservation purposes; if it sticks to the painting it would be impossible to replace. 

However, there's another very important reason for sealing. In my technique, beside colored pencils, I use wax pastels (Neocolor), both the water-soluble and water-resistant ones, and blend them with heat . If I were to apply the final varnish without sealing, the water-soluble pastels would get wet and possibly smeared by the brush during the painting process. I use a final varnish because I frame my art without glass.  

I sealed the artwork with Golden Archival Spray Varnish, gloss. This sealing varnish contains ultraviolet light filters and stabilizers (UVLS) to provide archival protection and inhibit light damage. It's a mineral spirit varnish and therefore I apply it outside while wearing a dust mask on a non-windy day. I lean the artwork on a wall so that big droplets fall onto the pavement and not on the painting. 

Golden Archival Spray Varnish can be used in place of fixative by colored pencil artists who frame their work under glass. It not only protects from UV damage but it also completely suppresses wax bloom formation, a problem that occurs with some wax-based colored pencils. For this purpose, 5 or 6 light layers are sufficient.

Considering that my piece is very large and needs complete sealing, I sprayed a total of 12 light layers, waiting at least 30 minutes in between. After each layer I bring the artwork inside the garage and let it dry away from sun and moving air. I rotate the artwork from a horizontal to a vertical position at each spraying session and always spray from side to side at about 10" distance. When the sealing process is finished I let the artwork rest inside for a few days. 

On my next post I will show you how I mount the canvas on a 40" x 60" x 2" Claybord.

Step 1: before varnishing

Step 2: sealing the artwork

Step 3: mounting the artwork on a panel

Step 4: having the artwork professionally photographed

Step 5: applying the final varnish

Step 6: framing the artwork

 

Step 1- Before Varnishing

I've finally finished my 40" x 60" piece and now I'm preparing the surface for varnishing.

Step 1: I begin by going over the highlights that lost their brightness with a white Neocolor. I will then examine every single square inch of canvas (in this case 2,400 sq inches) with my strongest magnifiers. If you work with colored pencils and wax pastels like Neocolors, you know how easily tiny debris of pigment can become embedded in the surface. The goal is to lightly scrape off the debris and the occasional cat hair using a small X-ACTO knife. This takes some patience of course but it's a worthwhile effort; it's very disappointing to notice debris after varnishing because, at that point, there's nothing one can do. 

I will post five more steps to explore and update the intricacies of my method of glassless framing. After more than 10 years of experience with this method I have developed a reliable technique that I'm always happy to share. 

Step 2: sealing the artwork to create a separation layer before the final varnish

Step 3: mounting the artwork on a panel

Step 4: having the artwork professionally photographed

Step 5: applying the final varnish

Step 6: framing the artwork

 

Almost There

This piece was definitely a challenge due to its size and complexity. So many times I wanted to give up! Over the last few years I put it aside for other artworks; I took several long breaks but always went back to it.

A method that helped me persevere was to concentrate only on a small section at a time, sometimes just a single pebble. I imagined that pebble to be like a small painting so I could feel a sense of accomplishment when it was finished. I then pretended to start a brand new painting with the next pebble. I also never compared how much I had accomplished with how much more I had left to do.

Now I can see the finish line and I’m so proud of myself.

Here is a quote that inspired and comforted me throughout the long process:
“Small steps may appear unimpressive, but don't be deceived. They are the means by which perspectives are subtly altered, mountains are gradually scaled, and lives are drastically changed.” ― Richelle E. Goodrich

Size: 40" x 60"
Medium: Prismacolor and Luminance colored pencil, Neocolor artist crayon
Surface: extra fine texture canvas primed with Art Spectrum Colourfix primer

How I prime canvas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc-I9wz10dI
Development of one pebble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HczdXkNlzg0
Technique: Icarus Painting Board

 

My Largest Work in Progress

This is a progress photo of my 40” x 60” canvas in colored pencil, artist crayon/wax pastel and a little acrylic. I started this work several years ago but I had to put it aside for other projects. I was finally able to resume it recently. As you can see, I’ve completed a little less than 2/3.

This piece is definitely a challenge due to its size and complexity. I concentrate on one pebble at the time and try not to look at how much is left to do, not an easy task. A friend of mine posted this comment on Facebook: “Oh wow! Now that's what I call dedication!” My reply was: “Dedication and insanity, I need them both.”

Size: 40" x 60"
Medium: Prismacolor and Luminance colored pencil, Neocolor artist crayon/wax pastel and a little acrylic
Tools: tortillions, paper stumps, color shapers
Surface: extra fine texture canvas primed with Art Spectrum Colourfix primer
How I prime canvas for drawing media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nc-I9wz10dI
Development of one pebble: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HczdXkNlzg0
Technique: Icarus Painting Board

 

“Pebbles from Heaven, No. 3”

Title: "Pebbles from Heaven, No. 3"
Size: 16" x 16"
Outside frame size: ​23" x 23"
Medium: colored pencils, wax pastels and oil pastels
Surface: Art Spectrum Colourfix Supertooth board
Technique: Icarus Painting Board

Original available here. 25% of the proceeds will be donated to Caterina's Club, a charity that provides free, warm, nutritional meals to underprivileged children in Orange County.

Giclees available here

More information on my "Pebbles from Heaven" series on this blog post.

 

“Pebbles from Heaven, No. 2”

Title: "Pebbles from Heaven, No. 2"
Size: 22" x 22"
Medium: colored pencils and wax pastels
Surface: Art Spectrum Colourfix Supertooth board
TechniqueIcarus Painting Board

Original sold. Giclees available here

25% of the proceeds was donated to Caterina's Club, a charity that provides free, warm, nutritional meals to underprivileged children in Orange County. 

More information on my "Pebbles from Heaven" series on this blog post.

 

Wax Bloom: How to Remove it

If you use wax-based colored pencils or wax pastels and artist crayons, you're familiar with wax bloom, that cloudy, white film that forms on the artwork. Don't wipe it off with a cloth or you'll risk smearing the pigment.

I have a simple solution; just blow warm air over the surface with a hair dryer or a heat gun. If you're not in a hurry, let the heat of the Icarus board do the job for you. When you're done with your drawing, final fixative or varnish will take care of wax bloom for ever.