Hi, I work with pastels a fair bit and love the medium, but am having lots of problems getting my pastels to stay on the paper despite my applying layers upon layers of fixative. I'm now using Daler and Rowney's perfix colourless fixative (after reading a review that ranked it ahead of other fixatives). I was using Windsor & Newton's professional fixative before this. I really hope someone could help me resolve my problem. Many thanks.

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Hey Lim...here's a link to a youtube video that may help


Many thanks Jane. I think I am not applying the fixative in the correct way. How far away from your painting should the can be? The instructions on the can of Daler & Rowney says 30 cm. Is that too far away?

When I use fixative......I always spray it a lil closer than it says on the can.......just my way but tbh I don't really use it that much.......xx

Hi Lim,  I work in pastel a lot, at one time it was the only medium I used.  Just a thought are you using the rough or smooth side of the pastel paper.  It is best if you use the side with the little dimples as they help to grip the pastel.  Go easy on the fixative in fact I never used it and my paintings have travelled (unframed) from the UK to Canada and never smudged.  Sometimes if you use too much pastel you will get to a point where the pastel will slip and the paper will take no more.  Fixative can help this.but go easy with it.   

I hope this helps.


Hiya Lim,

If you haven't tried it yet, check out Clairefontaine Pastelmat paper or board. It's a little weird to get used to, but persevere and you'll find that it holds way more pigment than any other paper, gives nice crisp edges when you need them, and layering up is almost infinite. Because it absorbs most of the pigment it also creates very little dust, so you don't need to use fixative.

Have a nice day


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