What You'll Find Here

I post daily (photos of my journal pages, things that inspire me and personal bits and pieces) to inspire and encourage others. I have always believed that if I can do it, so can you.

You'll find resources (my favorite supplies, books, slideshows of my art journal pages, favorite bloggers, etc...) listed along the right hand side of my blog.

I've been teaching both in person and online workshops for almost twenty years now. You can find out more about my classes by scrolling down along the right hand side of my blog. I strive to make classes accessible to everyone (both beginner to advanced).

I love teaching and truly believe that deep down inside everyone is an artist, capable of creating something. There is power and knowledge in the act of creating something with your own hands, made from your own heart and head.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at EGorey99@sbcglobal.net

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Acrylic Mediums

I hope this helps clear up the confusion on acrylics, gel mediums, etc...I wrote this several years ago (and have posted it a few times over the years) on various acrylics and acrylic mediums. If you have more questions, drop me a note.

The companies I buy from are Nova Color in L.A., Golden Paints, Lascaux and Winsor Newton. Invest in a few tubes (5 or 6 colors at most) of acrylics. You do NOT need every color. I teach a class called the Wonderful World of Color Theory where we make every color of the rainbow using about 6 colors: Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Blue, Azo Yellow Medium (Golden calls it Hansa Yellow Medium), Titanium White, Burnt Sienna and Black. My personal palette adds Paynes Grey & Titan Buff (Nova calls it Raw Titan Matte) to those colors...

The best way to apply acrylics when you are working in a book, is thin and in layers. If you want it thick, make sure you can leave your book open and let it dry properly. Acrylics dry fast if applied thinly. Remember: waxed paper between the pages. The way I paint is to apply the paint in layers and wipe each layer w/ rags or paper towels. I actually scrub and swipe the page!!! Then place waxed paper between each page.

The only difference in the paints-tube vs. jar is the consistency. If the tube paints or jar paints are too thick, put some gloss medium into them. Gloss medium will also "extend" the amount of paint you have (DO NOT buy extender though that will extend the drying time). 50/50 with the acrylics is a good ratio. You won't lose pigment if you buy a good quality acrylic.


Fluid Medium-available in matte (matte has a substance in it to dull the gloss. If you apply it in layers it has the tendency to look 'cloudy'), gloss (if you get a high quality product like Golden or Nova Color, you have to add several layers for it to look high intense gloss), polymer medium, fluid matte medium, fluid medium-you can use these for collage but I have found them to be too 'wet' of a glue. What I like to do is to add any of these (my fave is either gloss medium or polymer medium) to my acrylics to 'extend the amount of paint' that I have (but do not buy what they label as extender as that extends the drying time-eek!).

Glazing liquid-available in satin, matte or gloss. I have a hard time
telling the difference between the satin and gloss (by finished work alone). Use these with any kind of acrylic to create transparent, colored glazes.

Acrylic Gesso: An acrylic ground that is flexible and is used for prepping or priming surfaces. Available in several colors including white, black, beige, brown, etc...

Acrylic Gel medium: Used to thicken or thin paints. Used as a texture gel. Also used as a collage adhesive. Available in a variety of 'thicknesses' most students seem to prefer soft gel gloss or regular.
Remember you can buy just one kind and if you want to thicken it, leave it on your palette for an hour or so. If you want to thin it, add polymer/gloss or matte medium to it. The best way to apply it is THIN and to the back of your image. I place the image then on the surface I am gluing onto & rub w/ a paper towel or rag. If working in a book, i do not place glue over the top of the image. This will help to prevent pages from sticking. Also, you only need ONE kind of gel medium.

Acrylic varnish: available in 3 finishes: gloss, matte and satin. Seals the surface to protect it. I never seal or coat the inside of my book pages. If I'm working on canvas or a surface that does need to be protected, I'll seal it using the Gloss medium and Varnish combination.

There are other mediums out there used for various reasons and purposes. Some of my favorite additional texture mediums are-

Clear Tar Gel-to drizzle, fling, flick, write, draw, etc... with. I love using this stuff. Paint with it. Put it in a bottle. Write in it. Embed things in it. Draw or write with it. Make marks and doodles with it. Let it dry raised. Comb into it. Splatter with it. Pretend your Jackson Pollock with it. etc... I've used it alone. I've mixed it with paint. I've painted over it. I've painted under it. Texture love in a bottle.

Micaceous Iron Oxide- Yum that you can't eat. Shiny, mica filled surfaces. Paint with it. Mix it with your paint. Paint over it. Paint under it. Use your caran d'ache neo art watersoluble wax pastels with it. Write into it. Draw into it. Make marks into it. Stencil with it. Gritty, but FUN!

Don't leave out stamping, stenciling, painting, prepping, writing with/into, drawing with/into any of the above mediums like gel medium, gesso, or the fluid mediums. With a handful of favorite products, you have a whole rainbow of colors, textures and applications at your fingertips!


Amy said...


As always, hugely (is that a word??) informative. I love when you post this information because I ALWAYS learn something new from you. Whether it's been about pens, papers, tape, or paints....thank you for posting it!

T and J said...

thank you for this - it's always good to have a refresher

Anonymous said...

What about adding water instead of gloss medium?

cynthia said...

Great info , Kelly, thanks for going into this. I have a question about the wax paper. Do you mean you put it between pages to keep the page you are working on from spreading paint to other pages while work in progress? OR do you mean that when finished, you store wax paper btwn pages to keep them from sticking to each other? Thanks, cynthia

Lisa Gallup said...

Thanks so much for all this info! I loooove Nova Color, thanks to you! :) When I order paint, that's where I go now. :)

Kelly Kilmer said...

Adding water breaks up the binder in the pigment. You will get more of a wash of a color then full strength color. I recommend adding the medium and not using water unless you are going for a more diluted look.

Adding waxed paper between pages, prevents the pages from sticking to each other. I wipe the pages down with rags or paper towels. Then, I'll place a piece of waxed paper, parchment paper or deli sandwich paper between the pages until the paint is fully dry. You can take the waxed paper out in a day or two depending upon how thick your paint is and how many layers you have...

Cindy Davis said...

thanks for mentioning Nova Color. I had seen it years before but had forgotten about it.

Will be ordering some to review on our blog.

Great article, painting on book pages is very different from canvas, nice tips Kelly.

Cindy Davis, editor

jane eileen said...

Jeane's mom said...
Thank you, Encyclopedia Kilmer! I feel like maybe I should print this out for future reference, when I forget AGAIN.

Sandy said...

Love your page and I've learned the most from reading your blog post and taking your online classes. Thanks.

Kelly Kilmer said...

LOL, Brian, this is OLD. Paint was my first love. Followed by pens and then tape. ;) I started with making books and adding paint to them. That was 1997. It's all gone downhill since then-ha ha ha. :)