Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Experimenting with different media

Painting by Vicky Christensen, mixed media on 16 X 12 inch hardboard panel 
I bought some Golden acrylic grounds for pastels a couple weeks ago and decided to experiment. I did a Google search for inspiration and found Amy Shawley's blog. I love her art! Amongst her many blog posts I found one in which she used acrylic grounds for pastels as both a drawing surface and to take advantage of its absorbency. With that as an inspiration I applied a layer of the grounds to an old painting, let it dry, then started to experiment. The grounds are translucent so the original painting served as a base for subsequent layers.

I experimented with wetting the surface then adding drops of high flow acrylics. After letting it dry I used some Cretacolor Aquamonolith watercolor pencils to draw on the surface. I wanted to experiment with applying a pastel fixative  (in this case SpectraFix) to see if I could seal the watercolor before coating with another layer of acrylic medium. I had mixed success. As expected, the fixative caused a shift in pigment intensity. After letting the fixative dry I painted over the watercolors with glazing medium with mixed results. The watercolor pigments were stable in some spots but smeared in one area. Note to self, more coats of fixative, more drying time.

I wanted to tone down the color in some areas so I followed up with a glaze of Titan Buff. This was my first time using Golden glazing medium and I was really impressed with how smooth my glazes went on in comparison to a competitor's product. To be fair, the texture of the pastel ground may have played a part.

Amy Shawley also uses the Golden pastel grounds as an acrylic skin. After you let the skin dry you can draw and paint on the surface and use the finished skin as a collage element. Check her blog!


  1. This sounds like an interesting experiment Vicky, I've been playing around with transluscent gesso recently...I wonder if these grounds are similar. I might have to track some down and try it :)

    1. I've tried Liquitex clear gesso also. The Golden pastel grounds seemed to have more tooth but my test probably wasn't fair. The Golden pastel grounds are formulated thicker than a clear gesso but are intended to be thinned with up to 40% water. I just applied it straight from the jar with a palette knife.

      I really want to experiment with using the grounds in skins. One of Amy's examples was orchids painted on a pastel grounds skin then collaged on a stained crackle paste background.

  2. Whoops, I forgot to say thanks for the link, Amy's work is lovely!

    1. You're welcome Leesa. I really liked Amy's work, and I found it quite by accident. Many thanks to Google.


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