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Technical Forum Q&A

At Golden Artist Colors we want to know what artists are doing and dreaming of trying with our products; and we want to be responsive to inquiries about the technical characteristics of the product.

Our commitment is to offer qualified expertise via artists and paint systems specialists who are familiar with the chemical properties of our product as well as the applications practices of contemporary artists. Whenever possible, we want to speak directly to our users and help them through unique or unprecedented scenarios. That is our promise. We can also guide users to existing information on our website gained through years of research.

Here are some questions and answers compiled from our phone sessions. You may be looking for this information, or it may inspire a new thought, project, or question. Read, enjoy, and by all means don't hesitate to call us for technical assistance at: 1-888-397-2468.

Which GOLDEN product can be used to attach canvas to a wooden panel?

We suggest using the GOLDEN Soft Gel as an adhesive for wood to canvas.

While it's not entirely necessary, gessoing both the canvas and wood surfaces to be joined is a good idea for the best possible adhesion. This will help overcome the water repelling nature typical to sized canvas. Gesso treatment will also preshrink the canvas minimizing puckering during the adhesion process.

You may be able to lay the canvas down on a flat table or floor, brush or roller the Soft Gel, and lay the board on top. It can be tricky to apply just the proper amount of gel needed, but try not to apply too much or it may seep out.

It's important for the canvas to be very flat and even. Once the two surfaces meet, press down firmly and turn over. Use a rolling pin or brayer to smooth out the gel and air pockets. Try to remove any gel that seeps out.
Another technique is more a vertical process. The panel can be attached to a wall (with wood strips attached to the back of the panel and these strips attached to the wall) and gessoed. Then take the previously gessoed canvas and roll it up with gesso side out. Attach the upper edge of the rolled canvas just above the panel (leaving enough to overlap back of panel). Apply the Soft Gel Gloss to the top section (probably no more than a foot down) over the rigid panel, and immediately begin unrolling the canvas to cover this area of gel. As above, use a roller or brayer to roll over canvas surface to be sure all excess gel is pushed out. Continue this process moving down the panel in sections. When finished, it would be best to tack or staple the remaining edges, or assure some weight against the canvas to eliminate curling and lifting. This technique is useful on larger panels where the gel will dry more quickly than you can apply the canvas.

` Once this coating dries, flip the panel over and focus on the flaps. These should also be glued down using Golden Soft Gel. The length of the flaps is up to you, but you probably want to measure for at least a couple of inches on all sides.

What is the difference between a Gesso and a Ground?

A Gesso can be considered a ground, but a ground does not have to be a gesso. A ground is a product that provides a desired surface on which to paint. GOLDEN makes two grounds: Absorbent Ground and Acrylic Ground for Pastel. The Absorbent Ground (available in white and canvas color) is applied to any gessoed support and mimics the absorbency of a good watercolor paper. The Acrylic Ground for Pastel is a clear product with a gritty solid added to it to allow pastel to adhere to it. The vast array of Gels and Mediums in the GOLDEN line can be used in a similar fashion as grounds, depending on what the artist is trying to achieve. A few examples are: GOLDEN Matte Medium or Fluid Matte Medium can be applied as " clear gessos," allowing the substrate to show through. GOLDEN Pumice Gels can be used as is, or blended into colors to create textural grounds.

Can I use Polymer Medium (Gloss) or Matte Medium as a final varnish?

When you apply a medium over the paint, it's the same material sans the pigment as the paint itself. While the medium consolidates the sheen, it doesn't really offer any significant protection. The reason for this is that all acrylics are rather porous, and thus can entrap dirt. A painting covered with a medium will not reduce the chance of dust build up, nor will it offer any significant advantage to cleaning, as it is a permanent film. GOLDEN Varnishes however are formulated to be removable, sacrificial coatings, while also offering ultraviolet protection. These come in Gloss, Satin (lower sheen than gloss) and Matte finishes. As the grime builds up (more slowly, as it's a totally different acrylic) it can be stripped off relatively easily with the varnish layer and a new one applied, returning the original depth.

I have been commissioned to paint a large mural. How do I know how much paint to purchase for the project?
GOLDEN conducted coverage testing of many of the products commonly used for a mural or large painting. Trying to reproduce "real-life" applications, these materials were brush-applied trying to achieve an even paint film. On average, one can expect approximately 400 square feet per gallon of product, when brushed out in a house paint like application. As the Heavy Body Acrylics are much thicker than a house paint, they resist brushing out as thinly, resulting in less coverage. Another factor that impacts coverage is opacity, as the colors that are intended to be more transparent (like Quinacridones) will not cover as well (sometimes 2 or 3 coats required for coverage). It's important to take into consideration each layer of a mural. The number of priming coats, paint layers, isolation coats and varnish layers, are all things to factor in the estimation. It is also important to consider the main paint colors and estimate their overall square footage. Also, think of how much blending may be done, and the natural layering occurring in a painting. And finally, consult GOLDEN's Pigment Identification Guide for opacity ratings to factor this into your coverage estimates.

I used Regular Matte Gel over some images on a collage, and although it's dry it still looks very cloudy. Will it go away?

Generally speaking - no. GOLDEN does not recommend any matte products be used for collages or other applications requiring translucency. It is important to use Gloss products in such applications, and if a lower sheen is desired, apply a Matte or Satin varnish at the end.

All acrylics in their wet state will have a milky appearance until the majority of water has evaporated from the paint film. This cloudiness is a natural aspect of acrylics and, in most instances, will go away in time. However, if you have waited an appropriate time for the acrylic film to cure (two days to two weeks, depending on film thickness and environmental conditions), it may be matting solids causing the "milky" or "foggy" appearance. If this is the case, there is not much you can do. This is a tough way for an artist to learn this lesson. Matting solids, the particles of silicates that lower the sheen of a paint film, can obscure underlying paints, especially when used in a thick application. The thicker the film and the more matting solids in the film, the more opaque it will appear. When clarity is critical, it is always better to use gloss gels. The artist can always apply a satin or matte varnish over these films later. Remember that one thin layer of matting solids at the end will still reduce the overall glare, but will have much better translucency than thick layers of matte gels or mediums.

What is an isolation coat and why is it necessary?

Before applying the varnishes to an acrylic painting, GOLDEN recommends applying an "isolation coat" over the entire painting for a variety of reasons. The isolation coat separates the painting from the varnish by sealing off any absorbent areas and adding a protective acrylic layer preventing color from lifting if the varnish ever needs to be removed. Even if you think you'll NEVER want to remove the varnish, the isolation coat allows for a more even varnish application, and in cases of varying absorbency, can prevent Satin and Matte Varnishes from " frosting". Frosting occurs when a varnish with matting solids absorbs into the substrate, like gessoed canvas. These solids cannot be absorbed and sit on the surface, now stripped of their varnish resins. Once the film dries, they return to their natural dry state, an opaque white. The isolation coat prevents the varnish from being absorbed, and the result is an even matte finish.

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