Grow With Art Mar 2013

26 March 2013

Acrylic Mediums and Gels 
with Susan Ashbrook

The Grow with Art/l’art en herbe meeting on Tuesday, March 26 was well attended with 47 members. Susan Ashbrook presented Acrylic Mediums and Gels. This “hands on” evening began with a small meet and greet outside, as the City seemed to have miscued our starting time, (despite a reminder at 2:00 p.m. that afternoon). Fortunately, the weather cooperated and everyone kept up the chatter until the door finally opened at 7:30. 

An experienced art instructor, Susan began as a student in oil painting at Mount Allison University and also graduated with a Graphic Arts diploma from Algonquin College. She has taught for many years at VACO and other venues in Ottawa. Her hand out and explanations were delightfully clear. She showed some very interesting examples for various mediums and what the actual outcomes would look like. 

Susan began with an explanation of what a polymer medium is and how it is used as an extender, a glazing medium and a vanishing coat. She continued to demonstrate her favourite one which is Self- levelling Gel for “marbling”, “drizzling” and making “textured mediums”. The last one she mixed small decorative gravel with the gel and would apply that for an enhanced surface texture in painting. 

Next, Susan gave a few techniques with Gel medium. Her little examples were just the right size to hand around and she demonstrated how to add colour, use various texture tools such as rope, sponges, and trowels She used cake decorating tools or medication syringes to write and make more controlled “lines”. Gel Medium spread very thickly and coloured with liquid acrylic made an excellent “skin” which could be stretched on a frame or added into a work. By coating a photocopy with gel medium she made a transfer allowing it to completely dry and “rubbing off” the paper by soaking it in warm water. Gel medium is an excellent glue and works well for porous surfaces such as paper, fabric or even wood.

Susan completed the evening demonstrating how to use modeling paste and texture mediums. The samples she shared with everyone were Glass Beads, Micaceous Iron Oxide, Gold Mica Flakes, Pearl Mica Flakes and Napheline gel extra coarse. And pumice. 

Overall a very exciting evening full of very stimulating ideas!. As Susan indicated “You are limited only by your imagination!”

by Mary Ann Varley

photos by Gregory Abraszko