Acrylic Mediums : How to use Acrylic Gels and Mediums
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About the Artist
Prior to painting full time I’ve worked in Museums, taught in schools, set up and ran my own gallery for 5 years and have taught hundreds of people to paint and draw.
I’ve studied Classical atelier techniques in Italy alongside conceptual art at the Tate Gallery, London.
I’ve painted in watercolours, acrylics and oils and my styles have ranged from abstract; impressionistic to realistic portraiture in order to realise my own personal style.
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Morning class! I’m Will Kemp from Will Kemps Art School and today I’m going to show you the difference between a gel and a medium and which one is best for your acrylic painting when you are just getting started. Often people just start with the acrylics and water and try and do their painting with those alone. Gels are great to add texture to your paintings and mediums help to increase flow and blendability with your acrylics.
The first gel we are going to look at is your regular gel. The main difference between gels and mediums is if your a painter or a pourer. If your a painter and you want to keep the texture and the brush strokes that are in the paint then a gel is often your best bet. If you like pouring acrylics and keeping them thin and getting them to self level when you paint them out then a medium is often best to use.
Essentially all a gel is is acrylic paint as in acrylic polymer but without the pigment added. So this is a regular gel so that the consistency of this when we have a look at it is quite similiar or pretty much similiar apart from the extra of having the pigment as normal acrylic paint. So this is some cad red. So when I move the paint around with the palette nife, it holds quite good peaks on it and quite good texture, and then when we move this gel it is very similiar, its got slightly more give in it.
So if you wanted to extend this red you can just mix the gel into it. Wow you can mix a whole lot. That’s whats great about gels, because essentially they are just the acrylic polymer. You can mix as much or as little as you like in with the paint and it can help your paints go further, so that if you are working on an under painting and want to add some binder to it and paint with this just to block in the color, but then wait until I’m really sure of the color before going in with the artists quality paint on top of that. So if you want the paint to go further but still keep this consistency you can just add regular gel to it.
The thing that you will notice when you look at a label on a gel it will say regular gel and then in brackets it will say (Semi-Gloss). Now this one is a Extra Heavy Gel and you see how this one has Matte in brackets. So gels usually come in Semi-gloss, Matte or Gloss and its entirely up to you which finish you like best to work with.
So I’ll show you the Extra Heavy Gel. You see how it comes out of the pot. Its got a lot thicker texture to it. So say that you wanted to build up the texture in the foreground of a painting, you can mix a bit of pigment in with it.
You see how it appears to make it paler because of course the medium is white. When it dries off it goes clear, so it’s not as noticiable. So if I wanted to create texture in the front of a painting, I could use this extra thick gel and then that would dry off and I can paint on top of that and i’ve used a very minimal amount of pigment really in comparison to if I used that with pure cad red which is of course a very expensive pigment. This is Will Kemp from Will Kemp Art School.