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July 30, 2023

Experimenting with gel gloss

Here are three small practice pieces: two are on acrylic paper, the other is on some sort of cardboard stock. I added texture using the gel gloss which is white but dries clear. 

Trust me: It dries clear!

The square paintings were done in oil, limited to three colors each. My idea was that I would lay down the colors in a limited palette and then glaze it with additional colors once the paintings have dried. 

W+N Zinc white, W+N cerulean blue hue, Cobra naples yellow light

I am hoping that adding a yellow glaze will make the picture pop. Reflecting on my progress so far, I wish I had added more paint coverage, especially for the water. But it is what it is - adding more paint will just slow me down. I learned my lesson. There's always next time!

Cobra titanium buff, Cobra persian rose, W+N viridian 

The paint coverage is not great - I will be adding a brighter layer on top. The source photo was taken mid-day but the colors I picked out gave me a different result. Happy mistakes!

This last one was a hot mess. I figured I would paint in base colors only and leave the shading for the glazing stage. So I tried painting with acrylic on top of the gel and ... yeah. But not all hope is lost! I was very curious to see how glazing on top would bring back the shapes that got lost underneath.

It looks cool, but there is a lot going on, especially for such a small surface area. I am hoping to further define the scene once this layer has dried. I don't think I would consider taking this approach again unless it seemed appropriate. I do love the jewel-like depth offered by the gel gloss. There is an overwhelming amount of different acrylic mediums to try out and I'm trying to stay calm before I end up with 20 different gels and pastes.

General reflections

I am relying on the glazing stage way too much. I couldn’t help but get excited about the possibilities! But now I realize this should be saved for final touches on the topmost layers. If you only rely on glazing, the subjects don’t look as solid. When laying down colors they should be as close to the final color as possible. Glazing is for sfumato and other subtle shading techniques.

Another lesson: carve textures into the gel gloss, sparingly. It was a fun experiment. It works in certain contexts, like rough tree bark. I would save the toothpick for the painting stage. I liked carving out lines on the ruins painting. I like seeing the layer underneath. With the gel gloss it adds extra depth.

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