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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

A Great Way to Protect and Share Pastel Paintings

'Lowcountry Pleasures'              5x7            pastel              ©Karen Margulis
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 It's a Daily Painter Dilemma.  How will I  decide what paintings to share at my Open Studio?  I paint just about everyday so that adds up to a lot of paintings. Sure some are just small studies and some have  been sold and some just aren't up to par.... but that still leaves quite a few paintings in need of a good home.

I have read some tips for successful Open Studio.  It is suggested that your studio should be like a gallery with only a small number of framed paintings on display.  Oh how I wish it was that easy.  My studio is a working studio and classroom. It would be hard to make it look anything close to a gallery. And Framing!  I rarely frame my paintings since I sell them unframed through my online galleries.

I need  a good compromise! I think I found one.  A way to display unframed pastels while keeping them protected...and no frames are needed!

Crystal Clear Bags to the rescue!

A painting with it's foamcore and clearbag package
I've actually used this method of displaying pastels for years. And I can vouch that paintings left in the bags for years are no worse for wear. Here is what I do:
  • Order a selection of Crystal Clear bags to fit your painting sizes. I usually allow for a bag slightly larger than my painting size so it fit's snugly.  What are Crystal Clear bags? They are high quality clear bags with an adhesive flap seal. They are acid free and archival safe. They come in an huge array of sizes. I order mine from clear bags.com
  • Cut a piece of foam core the size of the painting. Slip this piece of foamcore into the bag.
  • Slip the painting into the bag. The foam core backing will provide support. Since it fits snugly in the bag there is no need to tape the painting to the board. Also the snug fir means the painitng won't move around and get smudged.
  • I take an extra step and include a preprinted slip of paper with my contact information and care instructions. I suggest that the bag be cut off and pulled away from the painting. You can take the painting out without cutting the bag if you are careful.
Yes you do get some residual pastel dust on the inside of the bag but it isn't enough to make a difference. The key is to make sure the painting and foamcore fit snugly inside the bag. You do not want the painting to be able to slide around.

To give you an idea I order bag B75 for my 5x7 paintings. They measure 5 7/16 x 7 1/4

A basket full of recent 5x7 pastel paintings
I have selected some of my favorite paintings and packaged them in clear bags. I put them into baskets so my visitors can easily look through them and actually touch them without smudging them.


Cindy Michaud said...

Great suggestion. Hope the open studio sale goes well...keeping paintings without frames is as big a problem as storing them in frames! here's to a successful sale...

Polly Birchall said...

Love seeing your paintings. I don't often paint in pastel but I must pass this on to a friend of mine. Thank you

Anonymous said...

You confirmed what I've been doing for some time. I love doing pastel and enjoy looking at your art work.
Keep up the good work.

Catherine Selinger said...

I've been doing this for awhile based on your advice about handling the minis. So thank you Karen as always! A great time for this tip so that we can take advantage of seasonal sales! And don't we all LOVE THAT? :)

Ale said...
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Adriana Guidi said...

Great idea Karen thanks for sharing!!I started to pack them in a basket inside leftover sleeves from the mats from the art store.I'll now check out the ClearBags site.Oh and thanks to you I also ordered Moo cards. They're great!!Always love your ideas!

Vicki Johnson said...

isn't static electricity a problem?

Karen said...

Thanks for all of the comments and tips!!! I don't find the static electricity to be a problem. Sure, a little dust remains in the bag but not enough to do any harm!

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA said...


WOW!! LUV, LUV this idea. Can I ever use this idea big time.
THANK YOU a hundred times over.
This should work great for on my original smaller portfolio pieces at the art shows.
I cannot lose this idea. Too useful.