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Acrylic is Perfect for Multimedia

A student paints on top of a giant gel plate
Photo of a table holds a large colorful paper.

Printing with acrylic pigments yields rich and colorful results.

We used a giant gel plate for experimental monotypes, and I have to say the colors are always much brighter than when we use block printing ink. The other big difference is that the results cannot be altered as acrylic is not water soluble. But these prints can become a background for play with other paint with watercolor or ink, for example. The gel plate was created using a variation of a recipe I found on the internet. 6 months and $150 later, I found the right combination of gelatin and glycerin and now share it with my students. I love gel plates, not just because of their sensitivity to textures but because they require almost no physical exertion.

colorful acrylic paint pouring off a canvas

Liquid acrylic pigments change quickly due to gravity.

Pours on small canvasses are the happy experiments on which anyone can build a larger or more complex piece. I buy packs of these 9 x 12″ canvasses and do my teaching demos on them. The pours are exciting because the colors change right before our eyes. Anne Marie from BeadFX because has a much better description of what happens: “layer up various densities of paint dollops (heaviest on the bottom, and lightest on top). A couple of light swirls with a stir stick, and then you pour on your background. When you’re done, you start tipping the substrate, for a wonderful, swirling explosion of color saturated eye candy!” In our case, we sprayed liquid acrylic, poured some using a different recipe, and added latex paint at the end.

hand tilting colorful canvas

Another “dirty” pour in process!

You don’t really need to take a class to learn how to pour acrylics on a canvas. I find that what people want to learn is how to prepare the various pouring recipes. But I always tell them that the internet has so many instructions for the curious. Michael Townsend has written an excellent article that goes beyond recipes. It is more of an overview, explaining how the various mixes behave on a level surface. I would start here first and then go to You Tube for the many variations.

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Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez avatar
Rebeca Garcia-Gonzalez is the author of these posts and the instructor at Rebeca's Art Classes. She completed her BFA at the University of Puerto Rico and moved to SF seeking to complete an MFA. She did her graduate studies in education instead but continued painting. Later she served as program administrator in a couple of non-profits, After a position as Deputy Director of the Richmond Art Center, she is now painting and teaching full-time and loving it!

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