I remember a previous lifetime when I had a flower shop. The swipe technology for credit cards was new then (yup, it was that long ago) and from time to time the machine went down. This particular time one of the young members of my staff told a customer that she could not accept the credit card because the machine was not working. "Whoa!" I said, use the "zip, zip" imprinter machine, which we still had, and even if we didn't we could have taken the card information, gotten the customer's signature and processed it later. But what is the backup if the Internet goes down?
We do so much of our communicating and business online these days... some people even store their documents in the "Cloud", but what do you do if you can't access the Cloud to retrieve them?
Okay, if I need to order silk scarves for a workshop I could pick up the phone and place the order; if I needed to have something printed I could actually take the file to the printer instead of emailing it; snail mail is still available for paying bills and other communications needs... as is the phone; there's still TV, radio and newspapers to catch up on the news events; entering art competitions would go back to applying by mail; and I would have to go back to printing and snail mailing my newsletter, class brochures and invitations to events.
It's an interesting ponderance though and I'm sure we would find ways of doing the things we need to do, but it does show how our lives have been changed so much by technology... in such a short space of time.
These mediums are similar to liquid mediums in many of their properties, with one notable exception... they are thick and hold their shape. This allows for adding texture and depth. They come in a variety of viscosities from soft gel to super heavy gel with a range of viscosities in between. Again gloss dries clear, matte dries slightly cloudy, although quite cloudy if you are using student grade gel medium… so watch out for that when purchasing.
· To thicken paint
You can save some money on expensive paints, either soft or heavy body, by adding them to some gel medium and mixing them well.
· To use as glue
These mediums make great glue for adhering heavy weight materials in your work, such as cardboard, heavier fabric, shells, buttons etc.
· To create dimension
Mix some colour into a gel medium and then extrude it using a cake decorator’s icing bag to write words in your work, or create a dimensional stencil applying the gel over the stencil with a palette knife.
· To create skins, transfers and appliqués
Amazing acrylic skins can be made with one or two layers of gel medium with or without colour mixed in. You can build up layers to create a thick skin and then cut it into tiles to use in a mosaic. Appliquéd things like leaves can also be made using gel medium, finished and applied to the work using gel medium as glue. Image transfers are wonderful to add to your artwork and gel mediums are just the ticket to create them.
· Impasto painting
Get all the body you need for this type of painting, without spending a fortune on paint! Because many gel mediums dry clear the beauty of the paint colour shows well.
· For use as a binder with powdered pigments
Using a gel medium with powdered pigments will create heavy body paint. Mix thoroughly and store in a 125 ml or 250 ml mason jar.
· Modelling or Moulding Paste
This thick medium also allows for texture, dimension, gluing etc, the difference is that it dries white. It can be mixed with paint but it will dry the colour you see while it’s wet.
· Faux Encaustic
Matte gel mediums are also used to duplicate the appearance of encaustic wax pieces of art. The milky appearance of the mixtures create the look of wax... without the heat and fumes!
· Mason Jars
Mason jars are amazing for storing paint and mediums that you have mixed yourself. The two-part lids seal very well and as they get damaged or encrusted with stuff, are easily and cheaply replaced. Always use the size that will give you the least airspace for the amount that you are storing, and it's also a good idea to wipe the lip of the jars and the lid insert with a damp rag... this helps stop the lids sticking or letting air in, which will dry out your paint/medium.
To clean Mason jars wipe out most of what was stored in them, leave them open so that the remains dry and then soak them in a bucket of water until you can just lift out the gunk, rinse and dry them. Presto! They are ready for your next concoction. By the way, this is the time to purchase them as it is summer canning season and they are readily available.
Well the seashell piece did finally dry, after which I applied some brushes of peach colour to it to tie the colour scheme together. After that I applied some Interference Orange paint to give it an ethereal shimmer, and finished it off with some metallic gold touches to the high points of the texture. It is now at the framer getting it's "beach wood" frame. I'm looking forward to getting it back and including it in the New Edinburgh Studio Tour this coming September.
I am very pleased to announce that next week Erika Déruaz will be writing about how she creates her phenomenal "fractured flowers" paintings. I love what she is doing with them and am so pleased that she has agreed to share this with you. Don't miss it!