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Friday, February 11, 2011

Did You Know? Gel Medium

What is Gel Medium?

Gel medium is a clear acrylic dispersion substance with the thickness of hair gel. Gel medium comes in a variety of thicknesses and properties.

What is Gel Medium Used For?

The primary function of gel medium is to broaden the technical capabilities and results of acrylic paints.

It can:
  • Alter the consistency of acrylic paint
  • Reduce gloss
  • Adhere any mixed media elements (paper, metal, fabric, wood and absolutely anything) to any surfaces
  • Highlight specific elements of a painting, such as the breaks of waves or the edges of clouds
  • Used for collage, decoupage and transfers
  • Prime a canvas or protect paintings

{sample project done on canvas with gel medium and photo transfer techniques}
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Gel mediums  range in consistency from pour-able to mold-able with varying degrees of sheen and transparency.

The basic choices of gel mediums are matte, gloss and semi-gloss, each one providing a different level of sheen on a canvas.

Some gels incorporate pumice, glass or acrylic granules that impart unique reflective, rough or absorbent surface qualities.

Soft Gels are moderately pour-able and hold only slight peaks. Soft gels make excellent glue for collaging. I use soft gel to adhere basically anything under the sun (even the procelain doll Rebecca broke).  Soft Gel Gloss is ideal for glazing and other techniques where transparency is desired.

It is ideal for extending paint and regulating translucency without changing the consistency of paints. Regular Gels hold moderate peaks and texture. The Regular  Gel Gloss is ideal for glazing and other techniques where transparency is desired.

Blend with colors to increase body. They are Good for holding peaks and  dries translucent.

Normally The thickest of gels, extra heavy gels blend with colors to increase body. It is Excellent for holding peaks and impasto techniques and Dries translucent.

It is used to create textured surfaces and dries to a hard film. For a short video about this product.
{click HERE for video}

This gel is a coarse textured medium with a Heavy Body viscosity that holds peaks. Made with genuine glass beads, its unique visual effect – like that of condensation on cold glass – is best seen in thin films that allow the mono-layer of glass beads to be illuminated on a light colored ground. Glass Bead Gel can appear very similar to Coarse Pumice Gel or Clear Granular Gel when mixed with enough paint to hide the appearance of the glass beads.

This thick acrylic gel mediums contain Ultra Violet Light Filters and Stabilizers (UVLS) to protect materials from fading and deterioration caused by exposure to UV radiation. Gel Topcoats dry to a permanent, flexible, non-removable coating.  Available in Gloss and Semi-Gloss sheens. The Gloss version dries with great clarity and a highly reflective surface, while the Semi-Gloss dries to a translucent, more wax-like finish and like all topcoats may appear to alter color saturation. They are not intended as a commercial topcoat for high wear items.

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One of the most important features of gel medium is that it is archival, so that it will not discolor or lose its adhering properties over time.

While gel medium is versatile and effective in painting, it also brilliant for adhering elements. You can apply it as a glue or apply it as a layer before and after integrating three-dimensional elements. I always use gel medium to adhere those bulky and heavy embellishments to my scrapbooks and canvas backgrounds and it sticks very strongly. It takes a longer time to dry (thus allowing you to adjust placement but when dry it lasts forever and as it is archival, it is the best glue for scrapbooks!  You can use several layers of gel medium to create a photocopy transfer, if you let it dry overnight before soaking it and then gently rubbing off the paper. You can also use gel medium to coat collage elements, brushing it on both sides to avoid curling.

{See more videos for gel medium techniques HERE}

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