August is Aerosol month, so of course spray paint is top-of-mind. However, I wanted to take a few minutes to speak to some of my favorite materials, and some that never really take the stage: spray fixatives and varnishes!
While there are many spray fixatives and varnishes available, I wanted to call out my favorite, and some that everyone may not know (yet): Lascaux Fixativ and Lascaux UV Protect.
Lascaux may be a little bit lesser known in North America, but they have been making paint since the early 1960s. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, their dedication to quality is unflinching.
Lascaux is widely known around much of the world for having exceptional quality water-soluble systems. That is, they make a wide array of the best acrylic materials available; whether we are looking at their Artists’ Acrylics, their ultra unique Gouache or the materials they have designed for museum conservation and restoration.
With Savoir-Faire becoming a division of MacPherson’s at the end of 2020, Lascaux is now easier than ever for retailers in North America to get their hands on, and with more artists demanding higher quality materials, we see a tremendous potential with Lascaux materials.
The fixative itself is very special, it may be the most recognized Lascaux product in the US, and for very good reason!
First and foremost, it uses a non-yellowing acrylic resin (right in the Lascaux wheelhouse… acrylic plus conservation).
It has some features that we don’t usually think of when we think of fixatives:
- Crystal clear formula, no matting agents, and not glossy
- Completely transparent and colorless
- UV and age resistant
- Lightfast and non-yellowing formula
- Very low binder content
- No fluorocarbons
It also has a list of uses that far exceed our general perception of what a fixative can be used on:
- Wax crayon
- Oil pastel
- Gold leaf
A few notes on questions I often get when discussing fixatives:
- Because it is aerosolized, it does contain some solvents, so it should be used outdoors, in a well ventilated area.
- Because of its low binding content, it is not 100% smudge-proof, but it should not be as a fixative. If an artist needs complete smudge protection, I would recommend multiple layers and/or following up with a varnish such as Lascaux UV Protect, which you will read about momentarily.
The Lascaux UV Protect is equally special, but for different reasons. It is not as well known as the Lascaux Fixativ, but awareness is growing as more artists are looking for high quality, archival UV protection for their final work.
In an aerosol can, it is especially versatile, as it can be used on works that we may not want to brush over for fear of smearing (as with watercolor, gouache or tempera).
It has some amazing features that make it stand out –
- Protects against UV rays
- 3 different finishes: gloss, matte, satin
- Completely transparent
- Quick drying
- Odorless (once dry)
- 100% colorless
- Flexible film
- Age resistant, lightfast and non-yellowing
- Contains solvents (resoluble for conservation & restoration work)
Like the Lascaux Fixativ, the Lascaux UV Protect also has a list of uses that far exceed our general perception of what a spray varnish can be used on:
- Oil paintings*
- Soft pastel
- Oil pastel
- Drawings (such as graphite, charcoal, colored pencil and more)
- Inkjet prints
*Surfaces protected with UV Protect can be overpainted
A question I see often when discussing varnishes is “Can it be used indoors?”:
Because it is aerosolized, it does contain some solvents, so it should be used outdoors, in a well ventilated area.
A few tips for getting the most from your Lascaux Fixativ and/or Lascaux UV Protect Spray
- Read all directions and hazard warnings thoroughly before using
- Shake thoroughly before use (2 minutes or more recommended)
- Stop and shake every minute or so while using, especially the UV Protect Matte and Semi Gloss products
- Test somewhere other than the finished work you will be applying it to, a test painting is recommended
- Apply a thin even coat from a distance of 1 foot (12” or 30cm)
- Avoid wetting or dampening the surface; allow a thin coat to dry and apply additional layers as desired
- Once complete, turn the can on its head and spray for 5-10 seconds to clear the nozzle.
If you have questions about Lascaux Fixativ, Lascaux UV Protect or Lascaux in general, always feel free to reach out to your Account Manager or MacPherson’s Customer Service for more information.