I love textured paintings! Whether this is done by working with acrylic paint alone, the use of different application tools, mediums and/or incorporating mixed media elements, texture is a great way to experiment and create paintings that are uniquely personal. In the following blog post, I share my 2 favorite mediums for creating texture: Gel Medium & Modeling/Molding Paste.
What is Gel Medium?
Increases color brilliance
Ideal for making glazes
Used to adhere mixed media to the canvas aka "glue"
How To Use Gel Medium
1. Rather than sticking to how the paint company thought I should use my mediums, I decided to experiment instead. I refused to read labels and as a result, I quickly realized if I wanted to stick something to the canvas, all I needed was my Gel Medium. From that day forward, I began labelling my bottle of Gel Medium: "glue".
2. When I want to incorporate salt, sand and/or sawdust (my favorite DIY texture builders) to my canvas, I do so by mixing equal parts of Gel Medium and my mixed media. The same is true when I want to adhere cheesecloth, newspaper or tissue paper to the canvas: I use my roller to apply a layer of "glue" (aka Gel Medium) to the canvas, place the cheesecloth on top of the gel and roll overtop of it with more gel. It is important to note that if you are trying to adhere heavier items to the canvas (ie. driftwood & stones) your layer of Gel Medium must be thick.
3. Another use for my Gel Medium is to make my Modeling Paste more flexible. Read more about why & how I do this in the section below.
4. Running out of your favorite color? No problem! Gel Medium is a great way add brilliance to your colours and extend your paint.
5. Gel Medium is also ideal to add depth to your paintings by making translucent layers. Read more about this subject in my blog post titled: Washes & Glazes.
6. Gel Medium comes in different sheens (matte & gloss) and viscosities (soft gel, regular & heavy gel). All of them can be used in the same ways I described above.
7. My personal favorites are Regular Gel (Gloss) by Golden & Gel Medium, Gloss by Liquitex
What Is Modeling/Molding Paste?
Extra high viscosity
Color change (when medium + paint are mixed together)
Can be sanded or carved when dry
Tendency to crack
How To Use Modeling/Molding Paste
1. Different companies use different names to describe a very similar product. Case in point: Molding Paste by Golden and Modeling Paste by Liquitex (My two personal favorites). For the sake of simplicity, I use Molding & Modeling interchangeably.
2. Since Modeling Paste is opaque, I usually reserve this medium for the bottom layers of my painting. It offers great coverage, gorgeous texture, and a perfect background for translucent layers. Read more about this subject in my blog post titled: Washes & Glazes.
3. Typically, I like to work with Modeling Paste and paint at the same time. In other words, I do not wait for my Modeling Paste to dry before I add my paint color. I simply mix the two together and roll them on. Because Modelling Paste dries white, mixing the medium and the paint while they are both wet causes the paint to change in color. I like to think of Modeling Paste as a Titanium white. If I add red paint to my Modeling Paste, the colour will turn pink. If pink is my goal, then hurray! I just made pink. But if it isn't, I have a challenge. Can I create a textured, red painting if all I have is Modeling Paste and red paint? Absolutely. First I apply the Modeling Paste, wait for it to dry (at least 24 hours, more in humid climates) and then apply the red paint over top. Doing this will result in a red, textured canvas.
4. As the paste dries, it creates hairline cracks (sometimes even bigger cracks depending on the amount and thickness you use). Personally, I think these cracks look great. For those students who do not enjoy this look, I suggest adding some Gel Medium to your Modeling Paste to make it more flexible. This will result in less cracks. I have found that a 50/50 ratio of paste/gel is a good mix. I encourage you to play around with these ratios and find something that works for you.
5. No Gel Medium to add to your Modeling Paste? No problem! Another way to make your Modeling Paste more flexible is by adding paint instead of Gel Medium. Again, a 50/50 ratio of gel/paint will do the trick.
6. Does my Modeling Paste ever crack off the canvas? No. Because I usually mix my paste with either gel or paint to make them more flexible. In addition, I varnish my painting and allow the varnish to work itself into all of the peaks and valleys I created with my texture.
7. 80% of the time, Modeling Paste is my texture medium of choice. I like the look of it, and it lends itself well to the “distressed, antique-looking” paintings I like to create, because the surfaces can be sanded down and scratched.
8. Molding/Modeling Paste comes in different viscosities (light, regular, hard, extra heavy & flexible). All of them can be used in the same ways I described above.
This blog was created to share my belief that the art-making process is a catalyst for transformation and personal empowerment. I am living proof.