Last month, I field-tested Gamblin's new medium: Solvent-free Gel, during my trip to Kauai.
The flash point of the solvent-free gel is high, so it can fly! Time to test it on a trip. The tube is great: it fits right in the box with the paints. Don't have to worry about getting that last bit of gel out of the nasty bottle.
The gel allowed my paints to move easily across the canvas, without dragging on underneath layers that had already become tacky. This is important to me because my painting style is to push color into color. Most alkyds, even gels, become tacky within twenty minutes of hitting the canvas (possibly because of solvent evaporation) making it hard to continue pushing the paint around. The drying oils I've used do not become tacky. In this respect, the Solvent-Free Gel is more like using linseed or safflower oil.
I'm sure Gamblin can tell you a lot more about the drying time of this medium. For my practical purposes, paintings left in my room (80-85 degrees and humid) dried in 2 days. Paintings placed in the car (90 degrees plus) dried in 1 day, with a few extra hours needed for very thick yellows.
This medium appears to be just a little glossier than Neo Megilp, and a little less glossy that Gamblin Gel. A little glossier than I am used to, but within an okay range. My dry paintings didn't dull down from drying in.
Putting a dab out on the palette: This worked great for picking up a little medium to mix in with colors. The gel stays put, even on a steeply angled palette. No need for cups or containers.
Whipping some medium in with the white: I used a small amount of medium, maybe 10 percent of the mix. I like this method because it distributes the medium pretty evenly in with some of the slowest drying colors. I may even try whipping some into my Indian yellow and sap green. I can also see whipping some into any colors that have gotten stiff at the end of the tube due to oil separation. The disadvantage is that any leftover color on the palette will skin over pretty fast if you don't get your palette into the freezer.
Brush cleaning: Using the medium as a brush cleaner during the painting session worked great. I didn't have to worry if any bits of leftover medium got into the paint mixes. After each painting session, I cleaned brushes with mineral oil so they didn't turn into solid sticks. After the trip, I cleaned them with soap and water as well.
I love this medium. It fits the way that I paint, and the paintings come out with just the right amount of subtle gloss.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
|Tranquil Shadows, 6 x 8|
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
|Three Palms at Dawn, 6 x 8|
Shark sightings are the rare treat, the highlight, the reminder that more is going on in the world than we know. You don't plan for sharks. You show up, they happen.
Monday, June 10, 2013
|Kapa'a Dawn Light, 6 x 8|
Once a wave comes, it is necessary to clean out your burrow. Each crab scuttles sideways into his burrow, always the same side first. Some are right-sided and some left-sided. I wonder, is it to do with which claw is larger? They come out with an armful of sand, take a few steps from the door, and fling the load across the beach, creating little funnel-shaped patterns.
One little crab must have lost his home. He goes in and out of burrows, one after another, finding them all occupied, along a good hundred feet of beach. Or maybe he is just delivering the seaside mail.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
|Ironwood at Dawn, 12 x 16|
|Riverlight and Boat House, 9 x 12|
Note: These are half-day workshops, easy to fit into schedule and budget!
Friday, June 7, 2013
|Ironwood and Sunrise, 12 x 16|
Then the housekeeping staff come to clean the room. I put the newly finished painting on a shelf in the closet, where nothing can fall on it, and come back after they finish to find that they have put a pillow on top of my painting.
So this is a slightly blotted version of the original expression. I hope you find it makes it soft and mysterious.
Thursday, June 6, 2013
|Kapa'a Sunrise Palms, 6 x 8|
How many of the choices we make are conditioned by our surroundings?
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
|Captain Cook Pines at Sunrise, 6 x 8|
The little bay at Poipu is mostly rubble, with very little coral in an area protected by rock walls. Rubble means lots of wrasses. Yellow-tailed Coris are my favorite beauties, both adult and juvenile. We find lots of rock movers. I watch one twelve-inch fish move a ten to fifteen pound rock with its mouth, then catch a crab that was living underneath. The crab is a difficult bite to get down. The fish has to turn it in his mouth until it is claws outward. I guess that's what you get for swallowing your food whole.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
|Kapa'a Beach Sunrise, 9 x 12|
Monday, June 3, 2013
|Kapa'a Sunrise Rose, 9 x 12|
Down on the beach in the soft sand, some movement catches my eye. It is a shore crab, running for his half-inch burrow in the sand. Once I see one, I see twenty, scuttling in and out of bits of driftwood, picking with their claws for food.
Suddenly I'm hungry too. Back to my room for breakfast.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
|Kapa'a Sunrise Cumulus|