Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Painting Tutorial #2

In an effort to incorporate our own images in mixed media paintings I attempted to teach myself a quick method of making acrylic gel medium transfers.  It's darn tricky business.  Perhaps I didn't use enough gel medium on the photocopy of my sketch?  Maybe too much or too little water and over rigorous rubbing on the back of the photocopy when removing the fibres of the copy's paper?  When I kept rubbing off the toner ink too, I gave up!  

Rubbing my fingers raw!

Yesterday, with my keeners, we each tried to make a gel transfer with the same poor results.  If anyone has any insight into gel transfers, I'd love to hear from you!

We promptly abandoned the transfer thing and moved right into playing with acrylics.  With no real plan, I flooded the panel with water and began dropping my favourite, hot colours into it.  Pushing the wet paint around a pond appeared.  The gals followed suit and we all went blindly into the unknown.

Me and Karen adding pearly white to our ponds

We established horizons, developed background trees and foreground foliage.  But we didn't have any focal points.  So we cut out animals from my wildlife note cards and strategically adhered them onto our paintings.  To ground the creatures, in the landscape, we tucked their feet into the scrub brush by burying them under more splattering, stamping and globing of thick, textured paint.

Kari stamping

Kari's bear wasn't doing what she wanted it to, so she removed it, camouflaged where it had been and instead opted for a little flock of birds in her top left hand corner.

Karen's, Kari's and my finished paintings

Kudos to both gals.  It was a tough challenge which they both rose to and completed great paintings ... Karen's first, ever!

To see the complete photo essay please click here:


  1. Oh, so beautiful. On the gel transfers front, I have found better results with gloss gel medium than I have with matt (unfortunately, because I prefer matt). Also, you really have to do no fewer than four layers of gel medium and allow it to dry overnight in between each layer. If you do that, I've found you can actually scrub the last bloom of paper off with a brush. I use Golden soft gel medium for mine. Anything stiffer than that just doesn't work. Hope that helps! Can't wait to see you and Bill this weekend . . .

  2. Alice, I've found that, as previously commented, the gloss medium works much better. The photocopy must be a commerial one (your ink jet printer will not work here), and a minimum of six coats of gel, thorough dried between, works best (I often use 8 or 9 if I want a really clear transfer). When removing the paper, I use a fine spray of water from a bottle, scrub lightly with a plastic scrubbie, and repeat until the paper is cleared off.