Acrylic Gel Explorations

I just finished watching Betty Krause's recording of her Paint With Betty live workshop this past June. What I like about Betty's work is the variety of shapes and marks that she layers into her paintings. I want to stay and look at her paintings for a long time and enjoy the contrasts - it feels so rich and complex and energetic.

I've also been watching Nancy Reyner's Ultimate Acrylic Painting Course on Skillshare to learn more acrylic techniques. I am interested in how to mix color and use various acrylic gels and pastes to play with textures.

Today I decided to add acrylic soft gloss gel and regular matte gel into two different paintings. In this painting, I explored making some of the marks that Betty Krause uses in her work - blocks and dabs - with a variety of brush shapes and sizes. I then quieted the composition by painting from the corners towards the middle of the board.

The soft gloss gel made some of the paint transparent, like a glaze. I also used it to paint multiple thin layers over a shape to build it up. I experimented with putting different colors next to each other, playing with different color saturations within a larger shape, and combining hard and soft edges.

Color Tablets - 12 x 12 in. Acrylic on Wood Panel

In the next wood panel, I painted over an old board. I experimented with using regular matte gel and a palette knife. I mixed a pile of the blue color and added a little bit of it to all the paint mixtures I made today so they would all relate to this "mother" color.

I used a palette knife to spread the paint onto the board, then I went over the edges of the shapes to soften them with a brush and I also played around with making some drips. I limited the areas where I added the gel so there could be places where the paint was applied thickly next to areas that are thin. I also scratched into the thick paint with the end of my paintbrush.

Aegean Teal - 12 x 12 in. Acrylic on Wood Panel


I like the effect of making multiple thin layers of paint and gloss gel to make a shape. It feels more luminous and rich, especially when darker and desaturated colors are next to it.

I liked using the regular matte gel to make thicker paint. I liked using a palette knife and a brush to play with the pain edges. I think the impasto effect are more effective when they are limited to specific areas.

I want to try adding thin layers of matte and gloss gel on parts of a painting and experiment with how these layers could create a sense of depth. I also want to add more marks with pastels and pencils so I have a greater variety of shapes and lines. I'm interested in how to create a sense of space with these techniques and how I could this to my advantage when I paint portraits.

What I'm Listening To:

Rebecca Crowell's podcast, The Messy Studio, Episode 143 Quirky Mashups: Mixed Media Ideas. First episode I've listened to from Rebecca Crowell. I picked this one because I am looking for ideas on how to draw on acrylic paintings. Not really a lot about this specific issue in this episode by some interesting ideas from her Facebook Group.

Also, listened to Learn to Paint Podcast, Episode 14: Lisa Daria Kennedy and Episode 15: Debbie Miller. I liked this gem: "It's not about the final product but showing up everyday." I've taken Lisa's classes before and I like how she sees painting as a regular practice and it's a way for her to make her mark on the world.

How are you making your mark on the world?

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