Saturday, February 11, 2012

What is an Artist’s Medium?

Sometimes people look at a painting and try to figure out how so much texture got added to all or parts of a painting.  Artists can use a variety of things to mix with paints and create texture in work.  These types of things are called mediums. Some examples of homemade mediums include wall paper paste and caulk.  Some, like caulk, because of their heaviness are used best on wood based paintings.  Others, like wall paper paste, can be used on canvas without bowing the art in the middle over time.

Artists can also buy mediums specifically made to interact with and adhere to paint and canvas to create depth in our art.  These are either designed to either be mixed with artist’s paint, or painted on top of to create various effects. The consistencies available range for the very coarse to the very smooth.  

In the painting above, I used layer after layer of a gel like medium to create a glossy, 3-dimensional heart on canvas. (And yes, getting it to stay in that shape until it dried was a bit tricky!) The medium was at times mixed with paint, and other times not, until I got the effect I wanted. The result is a raised glassy heart  on the canvas with gold color trapped inside. 

What is your favorite type of medium to see or to work with?

For another look inside the making of art see How Long Does It Take to Paint a Painting