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Sunday, December 04, 2016

How to Display Pastel Paintings without Frames


'Desert Light Study'        5x7       pastel        ©Karen Margulis
available $95
 It's a Daily Painter Dilemma.  What to do with all of those little paintings? I needed to find a good way to display and share the best of them. I store the paintings in boxes layered with glassine paper but when I want to share them at workshops I wanted them to be easy to see and protected as well.

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 collectors can easily look through them and actually touch them without smudging them.

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2 comments:

robertsloan2art said...

These are great! I've used Clear Bags and they really don't pick up much pastel at all. Very good protection.

I used to mat paintings on paper, put a mat board behind for stiffener and then shrink wrap them over the mat. The shrink wrap acted like glazing and the whole package functioned as if framed, the buyers could see the art and the mat made it look framed. That was before Clear Bags were available. It could work the same way with mat and back board in a Clear Bag now, which takes up a bit less space than setting up the shrink wrap system.

But you've got an advantage that the painting shows right to the edge, and can do this with paintings that can't be matted. I love using Ampersand Pastelbord but unless I sacrifice a good chunk of the panel area to being covered by the mat, framing has to be with spacers. Though that really doesn't need a back board since the panels are so heavy and sturdy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Karen, for this great tip. I just ordered and received my Clear Bags. I was invited to submit some pastels to the local hospital for consideration for their new urgent care wing. I didn't want to frame them since their interior designer preferred framing after making selection of paintings. But I didn't want to risk the fragile pastels being damaged. Your post about Clear Bags came to me on the very day I was pondering a solution. This is it! Thanks again for all the wisdom you share so generously.
Your fan,
Kath