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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Framing Pastels Against the Glass or Not??

Rabbit Brush and Sage
Pastel on board,18 x 24 inches

Nancy Moskovitz asked in a comment about my framing of pastels against the glass. The largest painting I have done that way is 16 x 20 inches on board. Most are smaller. We (Gene and I) have been doing it for about three years I think. I have heard of several artists that do it and have not heard them say anything bad that happened. Some information I found online against it say that the artwork may stick to the glass and become moldy. I think that could happen with mats and spacers as well. The artwork could stick to the backing or mats. If it is going to happen, won't it just happen? If the glass breaks, the pastel is likely to be damaged in either case. We tape the boards, Pastelbord or mounted paper to the glass with clear artists tape.

Here are some pros:
  • If the pastel is taped to the glass, no pastel dust is going to fall or be attracted to the glass to cause cloudiness.
  • We put a foamcore backing, sealed with artists tape on the back. I use standard size frames so if the purchaser wants to change frames, they can heat the tape on the back, remove the backing, take out the sealed painting and glass and put it in another frame.
  • Framing is easier, no pastel falling on the mat.
  • No paintings coming loose from the mat and sliding down and damaging the painting.
  • Less warping with no space in between the painting and glass.
I hope that some of you that have tried the painting against the glass post a comment on your experiences. I would not have tried it if I hadn't seen another experienced artist do it that had already been doing it for years.

We have not used this system with paper that isn't mounted. If I use paper, Gene cuts it to fit the frame and I mark the mat size on it and then the painting does not have to hang on the mat or backing. I think with a good backing this would work and not wrinkle anymore than a hanging piece. I still put a spacer at the bottom part of the mat to catch the pastel dust. I'm sure this is another no-no, but I had several paintings come loose from the mats in this hot weather in Texas that had to be framed again.

So lets hear from you and see if these methods are more accepted "these days" or if we should be doing it the way it has always been done.


Nancy Moskovitz, artist said...

Thank you for such a complete and helpful answer, Jo. I too would love to hear what others have to say. With your method, you could use non-glare glass without fuzziness. The painting would look like an oil. I may just try it!
I love your Rabbit Brush and Sage. Delicious colors. nancy
p.s. thank you too for the link :-)

Jo Castillo said...

Nancy, I hope we get more answers as well. I have heard many more cons than pros, but ?? They sure look nice that way. :) We shall see if others fess up.

Thanks on the painting. I thought I had framed it against the glass but it has spacers. :)

Susan Carlin said...

Hi Jo. I've framed pastel paintings "smack up" against the glass for 30+ years and have never had a problem with it. It honors the painting as a painting to forego a mat, too. Otherwise, someone might think it was a print.
Larger paintings might need something more rigid than foamcore, is all. If the backing is flexible and pulls back away from the glass years after framing, you just take it apart, clean the glass, and reassemble with less flexible backing. Simple! -Ornery Susan

Jo Castillo said...

I was pretty sure that I saw you do that with a portrait, but didn't want to "accuse" you if I was mistaken. :) Thanks. I sure like them framed that way.

"JeanneG" said...

I really like this one.

Jo Castillo said...

Jeanne, thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

Jo, I like the colors and values you chose for your painting. Nice work!

I had not heard of this kind of framing but it sounds very efficient and a good idea! So, no mat, right? Do you use an oil frame with glass added or ?

Jo Castillo said...

Hi Karen, Thanks. I use either a photo frame or an open back frame like for oils. I have bought some of the museum glass. It is very costly compared to regular glass but looks great!

I repeat that this is a big no-no with pastel experts, but I just can't see their arguments. Supposedly it has been done in France for many years. :) That makes it OK, right?

tammy said...

Hi Jo,

I've been doing some "test studies" framing pastels right up against the glass. Disclaimer: I haven't sold any done like this, and am just watching them here in my own home to see how they hold up. I've used paper attached to backing board, and also fairly heavy sanded paper only, taped to the glass using clear artists' tape all the way around. I then put foamcore behind the painting/glass "sandwich" flush with the back of the frame which is bradded in and framer's tape sealed. The paintings I've tested this way have been 8 x 10 inches for the backed ones, and 9 x 12 inches for the paper only. So far, they all seem fine after about a month or so, and I live in a very humid climate.

Jo Castillo said...

Tammy, thanks. I have still been doing this. I framed an 18 x 24 in a heavy frame on Pastelbord a couple of years ago and it is still fine. I hav done up to 16 x 20 with paper and foam core backing. Larger pieces with a narrow frame that would give would probably cause problems if handled a lot. Glass can bend a bit. It sure makes for easier handling, no mat to get dirty when you move them around a lot.

About Me

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Bastrop, Texas, United States
I Grew up in a small town , Magdalena, New Mexico. I enjoy art and the pleasure other people get from my work. I always donate some of my sales and art to charities, especially for children. That started in Bolivia with Para los NiƱos. (Link on sidebar) "I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns." -- Winston Churchill


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