So a valuable lesson was learnt whilst working on my latest project...always test out the fixing spray before applying it to something that you've worked extremely hard on over the passed three weeks! A bad habit of mine is to rush the last leg of the 'painting' after starting off very slowly. When the endless hours of working are near to a close, I'm like a small child on their birthday, so excited to open presents, or in my case, finish off the project!
When I first start out with any new artwork I plan out exactly how I want the finished piece to look which will hopefully go somewhere near to what I am visualising in my head. Part of this process is to go over every single detail many many times creating several layers of fine pencil strokes, each carefully weaved into the previous markings. Concentration is primarily focused around the animals eyes and face and is gradually relaxed as I move outwards towards the background areas.
So what went wrong? Unfortunately pastel pencils leave fine dust particles onto the paper which can easily be moved or removed if desired making it one of the versatile mediums to draw with. A good sealant works by applying a fine mist of glue-like spray over the painting to keep everything in place. In this case the fine mist was more like a sporadic splattering of big fat blobs which made the picture look like it had been left out in the rain accidentally (definitely not the look I was going for)!
How was the problem rectified? Surprisingly I was able to work over the leopard by adding more layers of the pastel pencil over the existing picture which worked out okay, but the background was the real problem as it didn't have sufficient details/variety of colours in it. I tried to scrape off the hard shiny blobs with a knife but this also smoothed out the 'tooth' of the paper and this only ruined it further as pastel pencils would no longer adhere to it. The only solution that I could think of was to darken the background as much as possible especially around the outer framing area which seemed to cover most of the staining and to refine any impossible marks on Photoshop.
Many have said that they actually prefer the darker background to the original one as it adds a sense of mystery to the painting. Although there is not much that I can do with the original artwork now, all is not lost as the finished piece will make some fabulous prints!