Considerations in Purchasing, Framing, and Shipping Pastels

Within every collection on this website you will find information about painting size and price, as well s some background on the subject. To view collections, go to a collection page (which may be reached from the menu above or by clicking on a painting on the home page); you can view more information by clicking on any image. There is a button to contact me at the bottom of each page with questions, comments, or to purchase.


Pastel is a permanent medium, and a pastel painting will look good as new for centuries, but they must be handled properly. Framing and shipping them present particular difficulties because pastel is a dry medium of essentially pure pigment that sits on the surface of the support (paper or board, for example). It can easily be smudged (including by a professional framer), and jostling during shipping can knock pastel particles out of place.


In offering work for sale on this website, I have made some decisions to maximize the likelihood that your painting will arrive looking as it did when it was taken off the easel, and that you will be able to hang a piece of original art that you love at an affordable price. Here are my decisions and my thinking:

  • I wanted to offer you the option of choosing a frame within your budget and taste, but did not want to risk shipping unprotected unframed work. Related to this desire to offer the opportunity to frame your own work is the fact that shipping artwork, especially at larger sizes, is extremely expensive because of the packaging, special handling, and weight. I therefore decided, for many smaller paintings, to offer work that is unframed, but that has been fully prepared for placing in a frame using the classic passe-partout method, described and pictured below.  This means that much of the labor--and cost--of framing has been taken care of, as well as much of the cost and risk of shipping.

  • I wanted those who want their work framed and ready-to-hang to have that option. I offer framing in a simple, classic, black and gold plein air frame for most work, and a similar white plein air frame for most seascapes. I will also work with you on your choice of frame.

  • I want your painting to arrive intact; opening a box to a shattered painting is disappointing. I therefore use high-quality framers’ plexiglass instead of plate glass to frame largere paintings (16x20 and above), as described below.

  • I want you to feel confident that you can purchase art online without worry that something might not be as expected, or might not work in your space. You can return any painting for a refund or exchange in the condition in which it was sent.


What is passe-partout?

Passe-partout is an old French framing method that is enjoying a resurgence of interest among pastel artists. In passe-partout, the art is placed between glass/plexiglass and an archival board, and the entire “package” is securely bound around the edges with archival framers’ tape (see example to right).  Passe-partout holds the painting securely, minimizing the movement of pastel dust that can be an issue with other types of framing, including the use of spacers, a traditional method of framing pastels. The passe-partout package can simply be dropped into the frame. It has the added benefit of allowing effortless removal of a painting from one frame for transfer to another without concern of damage. Because the painting is tightly secured against the glass, there is no risk of smearing or smudging; getting moisture or oil on the painting; or losing surface color. I have become a complete convert to this method after using spacers in the past.


Glass versus plexi?

This is another area where ideas are changing about what is best for pastels. Modern conservation-grade plexiglass offers the same characteristics of clarity, UV protection, and non-reflectiveness as Museum Glass, the highest grade of glass for framing. Plexiglass has a major, and obvious, advantage in shipping artwork: it won’t break. I personally find it allows the brilliance of pastels to shine through better, and I also like the fact that its removable factory coating ensures that it is pristinely clean and scratch-free when I purchase it. While Museum Glass is an excellent choice for smaller paintings, I have moved to the use of plexiglass for framing large pieces unless otherwise requested. TruVue Optium is available at an additional charge for those who would like the highest grade plexiglas with all the features of Museum Glass and more.


Prices and Shipping Costs

Prices are in US dollars. There is no tax on art sales in Rhode Island! Because shipping costs depend on several variables, including size, weight, location, desired delivery date and method, etc., shipping costs cannot be standardized. A 9x12 or smaller passe-partout, for example, going only a short distance, might be shipped for as little as $10, whereas a very large framed painting going across the country can run well over $100. After you make your purchase, I will contact you to discuss shipping and will notify you of final shipping charges. I will ship anywhere in the world. 



If you live in Rhode Island or Southern New England, or are traveling this way, you have the option of picking up your painting; just email me at to make arrangements. I can also deliver framed work within Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. 


Questions? Just Ask

Buying art is exciting, but I know from personal experience as an art buyer that it can be helpful to talk to the artist. Contact me anytime at, and we can set up a time to talk. If you wish to complete your purchase directly with me rather than through the website, please don't hesitate to contact me and we can discuss your purchase by email or phone.

 © Jane E Robbins. All rights reserved

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon