Thursday, March 12, 2020

Second Thursday Tutorial: Gel medium

This tutorial came to mind when I was searching for something "green" for my Second on the 2nd.  Although I went in a totally opposite direction, I stumbled onto photos from a post I wrote in 2010.  Yes, I had a lousy camera back then.

I happened to literally stumble on a sale of a lifetime, where all these Golden gel mediums were 90% off.  The local Michael's store was moving and they didn't want to move anything to the new store.  The idea was you got 90% off the lowest price listed on the item.

Here's the proof that everything I purchased on my table in the photo above, with the exception of the gesso and the pink and white fabric, were listed on this receipt.  The large jars were $0.99 (USD) and the smaller jars were all $0.70 (USD).  You can see I paid a total of $10.79 (USD) which included tax.  I had always wanted Golden products, but like most all of us with a very limited budget, there was no way I could afford them especially since I wasn't making art to sell.

Like some things I purchase, I put them on a shelf in my craft room and sort of forgot about them.  Yesterday, realizing I needed a tutorial for this month, I decided to dig them out and see what I actually had purchased.  I had NO idea what I had purchased, other than seven jars of full body acrylic paint in various primary colors and green.  I brought the green out, thinking I might use it.

Since I knew nothing about these gels, I went to the internet to learn about them.  Sadly the Golden web site was little help.  I never found out what the pumice gel was for, or how to use it.

I also couldn't find anything on this Windsor and Newton acrylic that apparently had a flow formula.  I decided instead of flying by the seat of my pants, I would save these until I understood how to use them.  Since I only paid $0.20 (USD) for this, I thought it could sit a bit longer.

First was high solid gel.  The jar was different, but the product was the same.  It was now nearly $20.00 (USD) at Michael's.  According to Michael's web site:
To achieve a variety of effects and expressions in your acrylic projects, reach for this quality medium from Golden. When used in conjunction with your favorite acrylic colors, this solid gel makes the color feel more oil-like by retaining brush strokes.
All I learned from other sites was this medium came in matte

and gloss. Reading the jar, I learned gels had a thicker consistency than the heavy body acrylics I purchased.  I also learned that when it comes to mediums, there isn't too much difference between brands (unlike paints) because most mediums are made with the same chemical formula.

I was aware from teaching my altered book class, matte and gloss refer to the sheen and luminosity of acrylic paint. Gloss medium will make paint thinner and more transparent, which is useful if you want to paint objects you want to look shiny.

Matte, on the other hand, produces a non-reflective surface.  It tones acrylic paint down which is glossy by nature.  Gloss and matte can be mixed equally to get semi-gloss gel. 

Michael's web site also gave this advice when it came to this next jar, which was extra heavy gel:
To achieve a variety of effects and expressions in your acrylic projects, reach for this quality medium from Golden. When used in conjunction with your favorite acrylic colors, this extra thick gloss gel alters your paint's working properties and opens up new creative possibilities. It easily blends with colors and increases paint body - excellent for holding peaks and working impasto techniques - and dries translucent. 
I learned the same from reading the Golden label.  This product now sells for $16.99 (USD) at Michael's for 8 ozs.  What you are looking at is a jar that holds 16 ozs.  Remember, I paid $0.99 (USD) for my jar.

I got all excited when I saw this.  Apparently this is a combination of extra heavy gel medium and molding paste.  Granted, I've made my own molding paste, but I've seen how others use real molding paste and can't wait to try this.

If I get tired of using the gel/paste mix, I can use the hard molding paste which may be what others are using.  Today, this product costs $27.99 (USD) at Michael's for 16 oz.  I paid $0.79 (USD) for my 16 oz. According to their site:
Molding Paste can be used to create foundations for painting either to create texture over a smoother surface, or to smooth out a textured surface. The absorbent qualities of Molding Paste make it suitable as a ground for nearly every painting and drawing media. This paste is excellent for building surfaces and creating textures. Dries to a hard, yet flexible, opaque film and blends with colors to tint and extend paint.
It appears they don't sell the hard molding paste.  BTW, some companies call it modeling paste.  It is apparently the same product.  It's thick enough that you can embed objects in it before it dries and you can mold it into specific shapes.

I found this at a site called Just Paint:
Currently, three products make up the range of GOLDEN Molding Pastes. They all have a thick consistency derived from the high levels of added solids. For Molding Paste and Hard Molding Paste, these solids include marble dust, a large particle-size calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate imparts significant whitening and is also often used to create the tooth in acrylic gesso. The solids in Light Molding Paste include hollow spheres which provide even greater whitening. All of these products dry to a fairly opaque white or light buff-gray. It is this opacity that makes them quite different to work with than other mediums, especially when adding color.
You can add acrylic paint to the medium or color over it after it has dried.  

One of the acrylics I purchased and thought I might use in my test.  These are 4 oz, as were all the colors I purchased.

Just Paint suggested you could use heavy acrylic like that in the jar above, or you could use fluid acrylic with your gels.  Since I am far more familiar with my fluid acrylics, I think I'd prefer to use them in this experiment.  After all, they are all Golden products (and NO, I'm not getting paid in any way to mention the name Golden and there are NO affiliate links).

I also drug out a few stencils and my large plastic palette knife.

I decided to begin with the high solid gel.  The jar of matte was smaller than the jar of gloss, which is the only reason I grabbed it.

I decided to combine the green gold with the gel medium.

You don't want to know what color it reminded me of as I was mixing the two together. 

Oh great!  I didn't mix enough.  After cleaning the palette knife, I mixed a much smaller batch,

but got more fluid acrylic than gel this time.   What can I say?  Can't rewind the day.

I was now excited to use the molding paste.

I got out a stencil and was going to clean my palette knife when I realized I had waited so long, only soap and water would clean it now.

If this gel/molding paste combo looks dreamy to you, it's because it was a joy to work with.   It was also a dream to mix, too.

Ah!  What fun.  Now to remove the stencil and admire my work.

Oh no.  The stencil lifted the gel and the molding paste right down to and including some of the 110 lb card stock I used as my substrate.

I'll have to determine a way to cover the mess when I actually use this as my background.  It was very late this last evening when this was finished, and the lighting in my craft room is atrocious.  No amount of color correcting in Photoshop made it any better.

When I tried to show the height of the molding paste, it was even worse.  The colors were terribly distorted.  How the green gold turned out yellow, I can sort of understand, but the titan green turning blue is beyond me.

I have no time to play with more of these gel mediums this month, so I will have to try a few more in the upcoming months.  Thanks for joining me today.  When this post goes live, you will find it on my Tutorials page under Gel Mediums.

Just to let you know, I will be out of touch later today Thursday and most of Friday.  I will be around to visit late Friday, since I won't have access to a computer until I get home.  Thanks again for joining me for this month's tutorial.

20 thoughtful remarks:

aussie aNNie said...

goodness all of these goodies so cheap and I struggle to get them here, so expensive. Good on you and you will have a wow of a time using them..xx

Iris Flavia said...

Well, who can resist to something like that?!
And a fun way to use them. Great outcome, too!

Valerie-Jael said...

Fantastic bargains, wow. Have fun playing. Pumice gel is for creating a rough texture. Have a nice day, Valerie

froebelsternchen said...

I love this textured super pattern you created!
These are very expensive here .... super bargain prices Elizabeth! Great stuff for your art! Even though I think this is all already dried up meanwhile if you got these 10 years ago --- I bought some Golden pastes here 4 years ago and they dried up so quickly. Never will purchase such stuff again.
Have a good time out!
Susi xxx

nwilliams6 said...

What a fabulous find you had! So glad you decided to play with some of them - the effect is very cool. I can't wait to see what you make with your finished result. Fun stuff! said...

WOW ~ What a fantastic find! Glad your playing with some of your deals. If you google golden video mixed media you find all kinds of info also look on pinterest. Enjoy your day!

Barbara said...

The color is a mystery, but it’s nice!

kathyinozarks said...

Awesome bargains Elizabeth-and I have been wanting to try what you did with a stencil-so many new things new learn about and try

Nancy said...

That was the shopping trip of a lifetime for a crafter! What fun to sort through your products and try some out.

Divers and Sundry said...

What a sale! You hit the jackpot! You'll have so much fun playing with all your new supplies :)

Christine said...

Love Michaels deals nice work.

Caty said...

Wowww You get a lot a things so so cheaper Elizabeth !! Good supply ! Here gel medium is very expensive. I love the wonderful background you have created, lovely texture. Enjoy !
I wish you a very nice day, and send big hugs,

da tabbies o trout towne said...

The end result of this project Elizabeth turned out really great !!! That was a good deal; I've seen as low as 75% but never 90 !! ☺☺♥♥

DVArtist said...

Wow what a steel you got on all that Golden. Thanks for showing us how you used these too. I can't get over the prices you paid. That doesn't happen very often. I guess it was you lucky day for that.

Unknown said...

You got some super buys for sure. That was lucky. I just love finding bargains like that. Especially when we get materials you don't know a lot about but it gives you a chance to play and see what they do without spending a ton of cash on something and then realizing it isn't what you would want. I will say I don't like hard molding paste as it is difficult to use and prefer the soft stuff. I learned that by buying the hard past which cost me more than I wanted and just not liking it at all. That why these bargains are the best. Have a good journey to wherever you are off to, whether it is near or far. Hugs-Erika

J said...

Elizabeth you certainly bagged some bargains, I have things Ive bought and totally forgotten about and then when I get them out don’t have a clue what to do with them, YouTube sometimes helps.
Jan x

butterfly said...

What a bargain bonanza! And at that price, you can play and experiment to your heart's content without worrying about wasting lots of expensive product! Looks like you've already been having plenty of fun. I don't know how the Golden pastes will sand - I'd expect the hard one to maybe work a bit better than the gel one, just because it probably has a slightly more opaque formula - but everything's worth a try at least once, right?! There are quite a few youtube videos around with ideas for how to use the pumice gel - it's really just a way to get some even funkier texture onto a page or painting.
Alison x

Meggymay said...

Oh my, finding bargains of those quality products would have been a real happy shopping trip, especially if you weren't expecting to see them on offer. It was a supper set of photos showing how you experimented [played] with them.
Yvonne xx

Jeanie said...

What an incredible find! I would have bought ever container, I think, at that price (even though I'm not doing this much anymore!). Love the pieces you've shown and oh, what fun to play with all these fabulous media! Thanks for this one and congratulations on the big haul!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Wow! What bargains and what a great time you had too! Hugs,Chrisx