Friday, February 4, 2011

Gel Mediums; The Secret Desire Of Artists (or, How To Go Broke Quick)

Oh.....the possibilities......the yumminess.....the COST

Sorry for the delay on this, the first post on gel mediums. I have been slightly mentally distracted and figured I really needed all my faculties for this series!
Here is what I want to propose in the next couple of posts~~having a lot of gel mediums is a great thing, but when you don't use the specialty gels that often, or if you live out of the U.S. and are paying premium prices for them it is hard to pick what to buy when they ALL look so darned GOOD! (and are, I must admit)
So what I will be using, unless otherwise stated is a soft gloss gel medium. I happen to have Golden and Liquitex both, have used both a fair amount and really see little difference other than Golden has almost no *acrylic* smell and Liquitex does. If this is a factor for you, (allergies, etc) then I would say purchase the Golden Soft Gel in gloss.
Now for the fun part.
There are all those specialty mediums that look intriguing but you haven't a clue what to do with them. Or how much you would actually use even the small sampler sized jar. I loved Golden's Pumice Gel and had the tiny sampler sized jar, but found two things that I have to give it dings for.

First, I had to add a regular gel to it to make it malleable enough to knife or brush it onto a surface and get it to stick.
Second, even with the cap fixed on tight, I only got to use half of it before it dried up. 

That gave me pause before ordering a large tub and got the brain rolling on *what can I use as a substitute*??? And so it started---how can I replicate some of these?
And then there is that wonderful glass bead I have not purchased it yet. I see it in others work and wonder if I would use the tub up or have most of it lost to petrification. (not to be confused with putrification, which is another story all together, like when I tried to dry out the used coffee grounds and they grew mold instead...)
So I began scouting around the studio for things to put IN gels. Things that would add texture, simulate some of the ready made gels, but allow me to mix a tiny amount on the palette and not go broke. (and I will fess up; I'd rather be ORDERING.....there is nothing like getting a shipment of art supplies....)
Dollar stores and outlet stores are great places to look for things to put in gels. I have purchased decorative sand (floral section), tiny pebbles, glass round beads, and then my stand by from the pet supplies, Budgie Grit

Cheap decorative sand, glass beads, and my stand by~~Budgie Grit! A lot of bang for the buck!

I also have used well dried---and BIG EMPHASIS on the WELL DRIED part---spent loose tea. If you know someone who has a nice little cafe that serves specialty tea, especially the Jasmines, ask for a filter full of the stuff after brewing. It will take a day or so in a colander lined with toweling and a bit of stirring, but you end up with an amazing organic product that mixes well with the gels.
On line, American Science Supply is an interesting place to visit as they have arts and crafts leftovers and other odd things you just might NEED. *ahem* Yes, need. I got my assortment of glass beads from them, on sale. Their catalogs are fun too, just for evening reading and getting the thought process going, or more like, "What on God's green earth was some of this stuff ever used for?" And they have a sense of humor too.
I will do four canvasses with a stencil technique that I can claim no credit for; I found it on marianne's art blog and she does some amazing work with all different types of gels and transfers. I highly recommend giving her a good read if you want to learn more about gels in finished products, and her experiments as well.

Foam meat or vegetable tray cut down, cookie cutter  for stencil, canvas primed dark and a few leftover paperclay hearts to get this party started.

So if you want to follow along, you'll need one small tub of soft gloss gel, items to put in it, and either canvas boards (good for experiments as well as a final product) or canvas. Paints, know, all the normal goodies.
And remember, I have been making some of this up as I have gone along, so you're seeing what happens just as I do! The only thing I have tried to clean up is the junk on my work table, and that failed miserably. LOL!!!
Now, off to the gel races.....



Karen S said...

I love playing around with gel mediums -- but that's all I do -- play. I am now endowing you with the responsibility of getting me beyond mere "play" -- LOL.

I save used tea bags (for the paper) -- now I'm going to get to use the tea too! And yes, if you let them sit in a bowl on the counter, the ones on the bottom will mold -- which leads to interesting papers, but not sure how healthy that is for someone with mold allergies...

marianne said...

wow! thanks for the mention! have never had glass bead gel petrify (or putrify), but light modeling paste, crackle paste, etc. do, and i don't know a work around for those, b/c they are much more porous than the soft gel. i am waiting eagerly for the continuation here- love the way we all teach each other!

NuminosityBeads said...

Thanks for your mediums post. I hope that mine have survived the freeze in my Arizona studio. I never thought I would need to worry about that!

xoxo Kim

Gloria said...

Oh how excellent. I will have to definitely save this so that I can refer to it. How exciting. I'd like to be able to follow along with what you are doing but I wouldn't be able to keep up with the "Scythe" woman. eheheheehehe, Tee Hee I mean. :) Definitely though, I will pick up some goodies. Great post.

Ima Weed said...

Okay, I'm taking notes, saving trays and going to get some gel medium. I have not 'played' with gels and am ready to learn something new and have some fun, too.

Caio Fern said...

hummmmmmmmmm................ real objects of desire :D
kiss . , have a great weekend, Anne !!

Elena said...

Holy crapola! THANK YOU!!!!! I think I'll move into your garage. I can help shovel.

Cathy Bueti said...

Anne thank you for this post! Looks like I can learn alot! I already have some gel medium and would love to play along with you! :) the title of this post! lol

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hey All,

This is limited to how to use one gel for an assortment of textures. I wanted to be able to make it more affordable for folks who don't use a LOT of the gel mediums.
I will cover some of the other gels I have as we go along, and what they are useful for, and which are the Prima Donnas of the line.
I really DO love Golden gels....I love-love-LOVE them! But the wallet gets mad at me...thus....the series of posts.
I just hope they will be helpful.


Jan said...

I shall gather my supplies today although I'm not running to the store for budgie grit! This is very generous of you, Anne, I think a lot of people will be eager to follow along.

Christine's Beadworks said...

Just what I needed, something to kick start one of my new year's resolutions. I've got a studio full of stuff gathered with the idea of experimenting (fear of failure has kept me back) but what's the harm in playing. I think there's some gel medium in the closet somewhere (but what the heck is budgie grit, lol).

Anna Rosa Designs said...

Hi Anne,
Just popped in to say Hi!
I've been out of blogland for a while with way tooo much personal stuff to deal with.
Lurve the photo of you~you sexy, pretty gal.
Chat soon,

audrey said...

Oh, Anne, this is exciting! So happy you are doing this Gel tutorial. I have a number of small Golden gel samples - needed some good inspiration to do something with them. I know you will offer good advice.
My company is leaving Sunday after 3 weeks+. I am ready for some quiet time and time to do something in my studio.
Thanks for your generosity in posting the gel information. We all appreciate it!!
Love you, girlfriend.
♥ audrey

Sunshineshelle said...

Maybe you will get much more unique (ie better) results making these than just buying supplies?? it reminds me of a cooking class I once went to & ended up with rocks instead scones (wrong flour) sounds like you're getting much better results :)

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

That reminds me of my poor mother when she first got married. Dad was from the South and used to homemade biscuits. Mother, from the North, had NEVER made a biscuit in her life.
So the first meal she served up a plate of biscuits, Dad took one, tried to bite into it, hit it against the table, then bounced it off the wall.
As I recall, mother was near tears while he was laughing......I was given biscuit duty as soon as I could stand on a chair and mix....


Marie S said...

I love this I can hardly wait to see what you do with this.
I treat gel medium like I do translucent polymer clay so I think you could also mix in red pepper, black pepper, coffee, fresh flowers, glitter, sand from the beach and dirt too.
Will you try this for me;-D LOL!!
Too bad you could not mix snow in there, you have so much on hand!!
Love and hugs and I am looking forward to all of your experiments.
Love and hugs.

Aimee Jeffries said...

Good to know about the smell of the medium, as I have allergies too. I'm so glad I spotted your profile pic commenting on another OWOH blog I was on..I thought I lost you LOL. I really wanted to follow your blog, and didn't know I had reached my follow limit! So I had to clear a bit of "space" for new ones :)

Robbie said...

You're on! I'm game for to get my supplies together so I'm ready! Yippee! I love to play like this!!! THANKS!!! You are a doll for doing all the 'heavy' work for us!!!

freebird said...

This ought to be interesting. I have some of the gels in a sampler pack but haven't really used them. Now I am afraid to open them and find out they've dried up on me, lol.

dosfishes said...

Absolutely Fabulous Anne! I agree 100% - no smell from the golden soft gloss gel. I have a big nose, I would know.....budgie grit, yes you do learn something every day and having ducks I should know about grit.....Looking forward to seeing your creative play with the gels. I have recently discovered fiber paste and I gotta say, this stuff I like, now you have me
thinking, hmmmmm, how could I replicate. Great post. xox Corrine

Sympathy for The Devil said...

have a nice weekend...xxoo


Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Hi All!

I cut it short on the computer last night so missed most of the comments.
@ Marie, no, I am not mixing SNOW in! LOL!!! (BTW, it is snowing again here....ick!)

@ Aimee, glad you found me and squeezed me into your follow list! :-)

@ Robbie, everytime I do a tutorial I swear......that I'll never do one again! hahaha!!! I always seem to forget something and have to go back and redo a post.....

@ Freebird, as long as the containers have not been opened you should be fine. My drying problem was after I had used half of the contents and then it was a while before I got back to use it again. But do note how quickly things dry and don't leave bottles open when not in use (like I forget and do....)

@ Corrine, YES! I would love to know what would work for fiber paste! I think we would need a heavier base gel, but I bet we could figure something out!

@ Mita, HELLO!!!! ♥ Glad to hear from you!!!


Hope said...

Wow this looks like fun!

Cameron said...

This is so interesting and informative! As someone still learnining about all these fun mediums and what to do with them....I truly appreciate this!

Anne Huskey-Lockard said...

Thanks Cameron,

Stay tuned....I am slowly working thru different additives and everything is drying soooooo slow!
Gels are fun as long as you don't get freaked out the first time one does something odd. It just happens. Kind of go with the flow, and you'll be fine!


*Ulrike* said...

I am learning so much from you. One day I'll get my act together and try it out. For now too many irons in the frying pan, but I love to read what you've been doing!

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