Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Favorite Acrylic Medium

I've tried many acrylic mediums and they all work. I have developed a fondness for Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. It is top notch if you want to made image transfers into gel skins which is my preferred image transfer method for my work. From my research and practice I've discovered you can also use it :
  • to thin acrylic colours and boost their transparency and sheen
  • to improve paint adhesion (when mixed with paint)
  • as a non-removable varnish to protect painting surfaces - as a varnish it is clear drying and works well on flexible surfaces
  • with Liquitex Matt Medium to make a semi - gloss medium
  • as a fluid glue with collage techniques
  • to create acrylic glazes
  • to mix with any other Liquitex medium
  • as a fixative over pastel, graphite, chalk etc. to increase shine . Mix 1 part Gloss Medium and Varnish with 1 part distilled water. Spray with an atomizer or airbrush.
  • as a transparent ground for acrylic paint instead of gesso when you want the substrate to be seen
One stop shopping at its best!

Tips for using:


If you are applying absorbent papers to collage work, it is a good idea to coat the papers first with gloss medium and let dry. Then re-apply a second coat to adhere the paper. If the medium is drying too quickly, keep environmental conditions cool and humid. Before applying a second layer using gloss medium ensure that the first layer is dry. This can take anywhere from 1-4 hours. A small heater with a fan can speed up drying time.

As a varnish:
Dilute up to 20% with water for ease of brushing and better leveling. Acrylic paintings must be dried for at least 48 hours before varnishing. Apply 1-3 thin coats rather than one thick one. Thick applications can also cause cloudiness.


Gina Cuff said...

Hi Margaret, I use the liquidex gel medium and I couldn't live without it. I use it for collage as well as image transfers. I cover the image I want to transfer with the medium, lay it facedown onto the piece I want to transfer it to and I burnish it with the back of a spoon. When it is dry, I gently use a dampened cloth to remove the paper. Left behind is a beautiful image transfer. So cool!

Unknown said...

I've tried this method and had inconsistent success with it. It seems to depend on what surface I put it on and if I have the patience to let it dry well. Then patience comes into it again as I scrub off the paper (perhaps too roughly). I am working on a project now that I want to add subtle hints of other images to rather than my bold "skins" which I love to manipulate. The negative with making an image transfer in a skin is that you can see the addition of it in your work. It's fine if you have a lot of layers though.

Mary Buek said...

Margaret, you give some really good advice. I, too, use the liquidex stuff. Now, the next tutorial you give should be on those skins. . . I have not figure that out yet. Or would you be divulging trade secrets?

Unknown said...

I have a post about gel skin image transfers almost written. Keep watching for it. I'm finally painting again so I should also take some shots as I go.

Gina Cuff said...

Hi Margaret, when I first started doing image transfers, I used the gel skins. I loved how they looked!

I would be interested to see some progress shots of your new work!


Unknown said...

When I start the next work, I plan to document it so there will be a record of my process. Right now I'm finishing off two paintings that are causing me difficulty. They may end up in the recycle heap. I'm very frustrated. They are flat and boring and I have no ideas... Maybe I should start a new one.

Gina Cuff said...

I'm feeling the same way with the piece I'm working on now -- frustration. I'm pretty certain mine is going in the garbage.

Gina Cuff said...

Hi Margaret, thanks for the comments on my blog. I love black and white as well, it makes such an impact.


p.s. I burned the piece I was working on yesterday. It was UGLY! :(

Jo Reimer said...

I've used this method to transfer an image to cloth also. It's difficult to rub all the paper off to reveal a clear image but I find that I like the imperfect image better than a sharp one.
My question has to do with using medium to adhere inkjet text which was printed on rice paper, not as a transfer but direct application. the ink smudges if I get any medium on it. How can I stabilize the ink before adhering the rice paper to the collage? Anyone know?