Lean on fat

The Art2Life Visonary Path came to a close, after an intense and interesting three months, and to encourage the community to keep sharing inspirations and successes and cries for help, Nick created a subscription website, which has recently opened for business. Under a thread called Your Favorite Finishes, I asked if anyone knew a good way to finish a mostly acrylic panel ending with a layer of oil pastels.


I already knew from Googling the question that this is risky territory, because oil pastels never dry completely. (Oh!) Though there is a Sennelier spray that dries the surface enough to make it dust resistant, most people choose to frame oil pastels under glass.

Ignoring the age-old recommendation never to put acrylics (AKA lean) over oil (AKA fat), I went ahead and applied a final layer of matte medium, hoping to encase and stabilize the gooey surface.

Yikes! This was not at all what I had in mind!


Disgusted, I threw it straight into the trash can, but then fished it out again the next morning to post as a warning to my A2L community.

There are always one or two people in a supportive group who chime in with, “but I kind of LIKE the texture of disaster! Could you capitalize on this?”

I often do love textured surfaces. Look at this nice rowboat I photographed on a beach in Puglia a few years ago!


However the peeling on my own piece was NOT beautiful, and I wasn’t willing to muck up my new orbital sander with flaps of goo. But after another night’s sleep, I retrieved it from the garbage can a second time, and went at it with scrapers and gouges, getting back down to a more stable layer. Glued on some bits of Amazon Prime tape (of which I have an embarrassing supply lying around!), and renamed it “My summer of shopping dangerously”! I think that will do for now, and I have put it back on my shelf of works in progress.


What I have learned: if in doubt, just try it anyway! Nothing is precious, and layers of history on a panel sometimes make for interesting surprises.


One Response to “Lean on fat”

  1. Trudy Levy Says:

    Good to know about the medium on oil pastels as I have started to incorporate that in my work, though I just cover with oil medium which takes away the pastel look??? Like your second version and am really intrigued with the current final. Been painting on watered elmers glue on my Styrofoam pieces, it does change the color.

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