Before wanderlust I didn’t really know anything about mediums other than online crafty people used this thing called gel medium in much the same way that I’ve always used pva glue… I’ve been using gesso for about eighteen months now but that is the extent of it.
Now, I’m only just starting to realise how much there is that I don’t know about them. we had a lesson about some of the main types of mediums, including why we might use one over another and a second lesson where Kasia took us through the process of creating a piece using different mediums. Both have really helped me get a better understanding. There’s lots of info out there (which I’d never bothered looking at before) so this isn’t going to be a post about the why’s, how’s and what’s of mediums.
Realising there are so many different types and not knowing which ones to start with, I treated myself to a golden starter kit which helpfully came with a wanderlust discount. It contains:
Extra heavy gel (matte)
Regular gel (semi-gloss)
Soft gel (gloss)
Light molding paste
Coarse pumice gel
Clear tar gel
My starting point was to grab a piece of card and add a bit of each, playing with creating textures, peaks etc and then seeing how it look and held its shape once it was dry – a lot of the mediums dry clear and its obviously useful to know which before you slap it onto your art. Once dry I played with adding a layer of paint and seeing how that went on. alongside this I also mixed each medium with a bit of paint to compare the results. I’m obviously picking things up from wanderlust because this kind of experimenting and testing and comparing is not something I’ve ever done before! Normally I just start using things and learn as I go along.
I then got started with my project for this week – creating a mixed media landscape including different mediums. As I got working I realised that as well as the different effects you get by applying paint with and over mediums, you also get a different effect by putting the medium over the paint. And it’s good to know which dry opaque in this case!
I don’t think photos will ever do this justice because of the importance of texture but left to right we have paint with heavy gel on top, paint mixed with heavy gel and heavy gel with paint on top. Top to bottom we have dylusions turquoise, dylusions crushed grape and white opaque ink. Chosen mostly because they were what I saw first on my art table. I’d be interested to have a play with other things such as gelatos, chalk pastels and paint pens.
On the right, where colour is over medium, you get more obvious shadows where the nooks don’t get paint cover or in the case of the ink, it pools into the nooks. The middle, where medium and colour are mixed, offers a more solid cover. On the left, medium over paint, you get a mix of texture, that of the paint and that of the medium. The medium has the effect of pushing the paint backwards in the image.
If you like working with texture and haven’t seen dabbled in mediums, try a taster set like the golden one so you can compare different ones, find your favourite and learn what works well for different things. And whilst I’m normally all for jumping in and just giving it a go, I think there’s value in doing some comparison first – you can always cut it up and use it in your piece later.