Sunday 16 August 2015

2015 #15 Masterclass {By Leandra Franich}

Topic 15: Gels and Mediums

Hi Everyone, Leandra here.

Tonight I'm showing you an in-depth look at mediums and gels. I did a rough overview at the start of this topic, but there really is not a lot of specific nitty gritty info for crafters working with gels and mediums comparing brands. So I wanted to explain some of the products we stock, how they differ from each other by actually opening up the tubs to show you the consistency and texture, and I'll finish with an abstract journal background that I've gradually built up using lots and lots of layers of tinted glazes, and showing you how that came about via a series of pictures.

I could spend every day making backgrounds with texture, colour and layers. That is my go-to zone when I want to relax. It has always been this way since I first started crafting, and so I have been drawn toward texture products like gels, pastes, and mediums for many, many years. I hope you get hooked too. They are kind of addictive I find!

These conclusions and statements summarise how I prefer to work with them, as an experimental crafter, NOT as a fine artist. I have no fine artist training, I don't know the 'proper' rules... I just love exploring these products. You may have similar or different experiences to mine, and that is exactly how it should be... there is no right or wrong in mixed's more about... 'what happens if...?'

To recap what have have been learning in this topic so far.... I have filmed some videos to show you in detail the gels and mediums that I work with regularly. You can find our gels and other products here in the online shop.

A medium is a pourable runny product that is designed to be added to paint to extend the colour, working time, or change the acrylic paint to make it more glossy or matte, 2-tone (interference mica) or perhaps alter it to be fabric friendly. Glazes, as top coats also fall into this category, as do tinted glazes for scumble effects, both dark and light on top of texture.

A gel is a thicker product (compared to a medium) it is translucent once dry, but milky when wet. It is primarily used to alter the viscosity of paint to make it thicker (eg a fluid acrylic can be made into a heavy body acrylic) or thinner (heavy body acrylic paint can be made into a much softer product). Gels have matte, semi -gloss and gloss finishes that can also alter the finish of your paint. So you can easily make a chalk paint glossy and thicker with a gel while not compromising the colour integrity. Gels also can be used to alter the translucency or a paint, for resist techniques, or used on their own as an adhesive for thin tissue through to awkward dimensional objects such as pebbles, buttons, and metal charms. Gels also can have inclusions - mica, chunky or fine beads, glitter. And don't forget about Clear Tar gel for making skins or goopy tinted drizzles. Normal gels also work for toner based image transfers too.

Here are some of the close up photos of samples shown in the video...

Dreamweaver Translucent Embossing Paste - applied very thick, stencil lifted creating suction, dropped to leave ridge at edges.

Golden Granular Gel. These are the larger of the 2 bead gels, They are plastic, and a dye spray on top highlights the texture nicely.

Still very hard to see, but at the top centre is the Glass Bead Gel (very fine small beads that reflect more light than the Granular Gel), and the lower centre is the Granular Gel.

Prima 3D Gloss Gel (admittedly I did not apply the gel as thick as I could have, but it does not have the strong structure I expected for a 3D Gel)

Prima Clear Crackle Paste - a Brucey bonus sample. Not shown in the video as this is weirdly called a 'paste' even though it is a clear product, and the consistency in the tub is odd... reminds me of curdled egg, certainly not a paste, more like a soft, sloppy, almost lumpy gel. But I really wanted you to see how fine the cracks are, much finer than I expected. There is no variety in the crack size in this sample. Very difficult to highlight the texture, as you need a runny product to sink into the cracks like a dye spray. But, very delicate, subtle and pretty.

My favourite.. the skin from paint and Golden's Clear Tar Gel. Here is how it dried after the second application of paint as demoed in the video. Very easy to peel off the embossing folder, and no release agent required.

This just shows you how flexible the skin is. It can even be stretched!

So now you need one of everything right?? They are just so much fun! Remember, pay the price you are comfortable with, and get the size that suits your style of crafting... but if you need archival/ UV resistant properties, then you will need to use Artist Grade products.

So lets finish with my journal pages...I had nothing in mind except that I knew I wanted to see how much depth I could build with glazes

Step One: The page had Golden Gesso and Grunge Paste randomly applied with a palette knife, I made sure to leave some parts of the pages directly exposed (my journal is a Finnabair one). Then Golden Glaze (Burnt Sienna and Violet Earth) were added and blended about. Heavy Body Gloss Gel was tinted with South Pacific Fresco, and applied through the 'Art Is' stencil. The deep blue dried with a glossy finish.

The facing page had some Prima Clear Crackle Paste applied generously, and was left to dry overnight. I was please to see more variation in cracks then I got in the stencilled sample above. French Roast was made into a glaze with PaperArtsy Gloss Glaze, and applied to the cracks to highlight them. Along with some South Pacific Glaze to the edges.

Step Two: I added the same glazes all over again, and you can start to see the depth build already. 

Step Three: Then I decided I needed more contrast at the top and bottom of the pages. So I added a Cheesecake Gloss Glaze at the foot, and kept building depth at the top with shades of orange glazes: Pumpkin Soup, Tango, Brown Shed, Autumn Fire, Blood Orange. This was then topped with Bora Bora mixed into a Gloss Gel and scraped over for patches of gloss and colour contrast.

Step Four: Now I decided it was too dark at the top, so I added some greens to soften it back.

Step Five: So when you build these glazed layers, you have to be a bit more careful about what colour you put where, and if you want to lighten, I did use a bit of Cheesecake (glaze) and then started to build on top again but the colour depth you get with the warm orange shades is wonderful and very easy to do.

Step Six: Then finally I added some Golden Iridescent Bronze (Top) and Cheesecake (Bottom) Clear Tar Gel drizzles, but I was still learning how to control it, in hindsight, I would now prefer drips coming down from the top of the page. But I think I am going to continue and add some French Roast Glaze around the drizzles, to get more shadowing around the texture. I'm still not finished with it. I want to doodle something and block out part of the background too! So its still a WIP. Just need to decide what I'm going to draw on top.

NB. Those last 2 pictures I took in different light the following day so the Orange colours look different to the previous ones, but IRL they are still the same as the earlier shots.

To be honest, I liked these backgrounds at all stages. There were penty of times when I could have stopped, but I wanted to deliberately push myself to keep going, just to see what happened. 

I love how, with a Fresco Paint and a gel or a medium you can easily morph it into a soft gloss, matte heavy body, shiny drippy gel, or fabric paint with the addition of the right product. Gels and Mediums open up a whole new world, and I hope you find time to explore all the doors that are now open to you. Just jump in the deep end! What's the worst that could happen???
We would love you to join in with challenge #15: Gels If you are inspired by any of our guests who blog with us over the fortnight, then please join in and link up your creativity HERE

All links go in the draw to win a voucher to spend on products of your choice from the PaperArtsy online store. The Gels link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Aug 23rd winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.


Helen said...

fantastic videos, and some fabulous ideas - I want them all, now!! Your journal pages look amazing.

craftimamma said...

Thanks for taking the time to do these very informative videos Leandra and now I not only need one of everything (well, I already have some, lol) i also need lots more spare time to try them all ;-)! Some fab ideas as Helen said and your journal pages are wonderful with all that texture going on.

Lesley Xx

rachel said...

so much fabulous information - thankyou so much xx

sam21ski said...

Wow, that was very informative, thanks very much for sharing, much appreciated, now know what they are used for and have a better insight with what to do with them.

Sam xx

Words and Pictures said...

Have already watched Mediums and am definitely inspired to play... Can't wait to get stuck into the Gels too! Thanks so much for these, Leandra.
Alison xx

Claire said...

Great videos, learnt a lot from them! Loving the journal pages, the layers look wonderful - bet they look even better IRL. Claire x

Lucy Edmondson said...

Terrific and informative post!

Lucy x

Craftyfield said...

Great video Leandra lots of information! Hours of experimentation and fun to be had with those products...

Hazel Agnew said...

Finally got to the end! They were really interesting and I sat and made notes! Wonderfully informative! Paused it part way to go and start a project...Little Miss Need To Do It Yesterday! Great Stuff..thanks! Xx

Julie Lee said...

Really helpful and informative posts. Lots of material to work on here! Thank you so much for all that you share. x

Anneke said...

Thankfull very much for showing me all the things you can do with all these products.
It really is very helpfull. Anneke.

Lauren Hatwell said...

oh dear... I can see there are QUITE A FEW gels and mediums I still need to add to my stalwart gang of favourites. It's great to see such an in depth comparison of the different brands and products on the market. Your journal page is fantastic. It kind of needs Valkyries to ride across it :oD as it looks just like rolling clouds in a stormy sky to me. Amazing!

Seth said...

This is a sensational post Leandra. So informative. Thank you so very much for taking the time to put this together. It is truly a master class!

Liesbeth Fidder said...

Wow, great videos and information ! Amazing , Leandra , thanks !! :-D

Etsuko said...

Thank you so much for great video and information Leandra, very interesting materials and I could understand very well in the description. xxx

Art By Wanda said...

Wonderful videos and information!!!!!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those journal pages you are making!!!!!!!!!!!

Cocofolies said...

I'm very late commenting on this post Leandra, all my apologies because it's just a FABULOUS post with so much information enclosed and interest!!!! I'm still on holidays, and that was just the perfect occasion I was waiting for long to take a bit of time for myself to learn new techniques and deepen my knowledge about some products I have and love experimenting.. and concerning your two posts on this theme and a few made by others on gels and mediums, this is a triple WOW WOW WOW!!!.. And your pages are simply fascinating of course!!!!! Thank you very much for the great challenge ideas you suggest each time, all the work and the quality of samples and information delivered every time. Hope I will be able to join in more in the future. Hugs, Coco xxx

Kirsten said...

Fantastic blog post, the video is excellent & so helpful as I always get thoroughly confused by these gels/mediums/whatever. Thanks Leandra.

craftytrog said...

Very interesting and informative videos Leandra, & I love the effects on your journal pages.
Alison xx