The Pastel Medium
Care of Soft Pastel Artwork
Pastel pigment is long lasting pure colour and, properly protected, will retain it's colour and freshness for centuries. Until it is framed behind glass pastel artwork is quite delicate, in that, if it is rubbed or has anything scraped across it pigment will be lost and the picture could be spoiled. Unless hung in bright sunlight it should not fade like watercolour and the glass protection prevents the painting dulling over the years as oil paintings tend to.
I recommend that, until it is framed, you store the artwork with it's glassine or acetate protective cover in the foamboard packing it arrived in. To view directly, gently lift the glassine cover and do not touch the painting directly.
Pastels need to be framed under glass, often with a mat which keeps the surface of the artwork separated from the glass, or without a mat using a spacer to keep the pastel from direct contact with the glass. I recommend using a framer who has had experience framing pastel artwork.
I do not use fixative on my pastels as it dulls the colour and flattens the texture. If you or your framer choose to spray the pastel with fixative you must accept responsibility for any resulting loss of colour or texture. Once hanging in it's frame there should be no fall off of dust unless the picture is dropped or otherwise mishandled.
When hanging the picture avoid direct sunlight and large fluctuations in temperature, eg, on a wall above any type of fire or radiator.
I hope you will enjoy your pastel artwork for many years to come!