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Old 10-01-2003, 10:04 AM
Robin SeaMonster Robin SeaMonster is offline
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new artist - needs help

Hi Everyone, I'm a self-taught artist and I've been making collage for a few years. My question is about paint & "varnish".

I make 25 square feet pieces of handmade paper (from junk mail) and do paint/ collage on top with a matte top coat. I've been using whever acrylic paint is on sale and Modge Podge as an adhesive and clear coat. It appears that I may need to be more careful with my materials as I'm starting to exhibit a little.

So. I'm not too worried about adhesive as much as I need a stiff, matte, clear, top coat that will make the paper sturdy like plastic if possible. I could put it on the back if it isn't transparent. I like Golden Soft Gel but I use a ton of it and it's kind of expensive. But I can live with that if it's the best choice. Is Heavy gel better? What about fluide matte medium?

Also, does it matter what kind calibur of paint I use? What's the difference in guache and acrylic?

If there are any paper makers out there, if I add methylcellulose to my pulp will it still absorb paint? Does it really make the paper stronger?

Thanks everyone.

Robin
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Old 10-01-2003, 11:55 AM
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Jakeally Jakeally is offline
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Hiya Robin .... Welcome to Wet Canvas and especially to this forum.
I'm afraid I can't answer your questions but I'm sure someone will be along with info very soon
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Old 10-01-2003, 12:23 PM
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Rose Queen Rose Queen is offline
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First off, welcome to WetCanvas, Robin! I look forward to your posting some of your work here so we can see it!

I can't answer many of your questions, but I think you are wise to move toward the best materials you can afford if you are exhibiting and selling your work and want the repeat business and word of mouth that can bring you.

You can really use any acrylic medium for adhesion. I don't know if you've checked out Jonathan Talbot's website (http://www.talbot1.com), but he has a very interesting (and quite permanent) way of using acrylic medium for adhesion that you might find helpful. You can buy his book, which is jammed full of info -- no fluff -- from his website or Amazon for about $10. If he ever gives a workshop near you, GO!

I used Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS on my mixed media work at the end; it comes in gloss, satin or matte finishes and I watch the sales like a hawk.

Oh, and gouache (gwash) is just opaque watercolor.



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Last edited by Rose Queen : 10-01-2003 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 10-01-2003, 01:05 PM
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Kalibabe Kalibabe is offline
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I don't know about for paper, and others will no doubt advise you better but, I widely use floor varnish for stregth, on my walking sticks and things.

I use wood warnish on many things as it allows flexibility and has sgtrength.

I know this may not be what you were asking for but, hello anyways
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Old 10-01-2003, 04:04 PM
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lisilk lisilk is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rose Queen
First off, welcome to WetCanvas, Robin! I look forward to your posting some of your work here so we can see it!

I can't answer many of your questions, but I think you are wise to move toward the best materials you can afford if you are exhibiting and selling your work and want the repeat business and word of mouth that can bring you.

You can really use any acrylic medium for adhesion. I don't know if you've checked out Jonathan Talbot's website (http://www.talbot1.com), but he has a very interesting (and quite permanent) way of using acrylic medium for adhesion that you might find helpful. You can buy his book, which is jammed full of info -- no fluff -- from his website or Amazon for about $10. If he ever gives a workshop near you, GO!

I used Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS on my mixed media work at the end; it comes in gloss, satin or matte finishes and I watch the sales like a hawk.

Oh, and gouache (gwash) is just opaque watercolor.

What she said. LOL.

Hi Robin and Welcome to Wetcanvas. I use pretty much what Rose Queen mentioned. I do also seal the back of my collages for extra strength and to prevent warping.

I'm sure someone else can answer better for you.

Cheers,

Li
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Old 10-01-2003, 05:16 PM
Robin SeaMonster Robin SeaMonster is offline
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Li, what do you seal the back with? I think that's a great idea. And warping is a big worry I have. These things are 5 ft x 5 ft and made of thick (thickness of medium cardboard) handmade paper. I don't frame them, instead I attach a 2x2 to the back on the top and bottom (wood glue) and hang them by wire from the top piece of wood. I'll take suggestions on that too. I just want to preserve the nice deckled edge and have them kind of "float" off the wall without a big fussy frame. Obviously, the stiffer they are, the better they will hold up.

Thank you all so much, you don't know how long I've been confused by all the different things out there. I have this vision and no knowlege with which to carry it out! I want to be sure that if I sell them (when ) that my buyer gets a long time of enjoyment out of them.

Please keep your advice coming and I will see if I can get a decent picture to post for you all. I'll take critique, it will be only the second time anyone has seen what I do in the basement at night (ha ha).

Robin
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Old 10-01-2003, 05:55 PM
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Elankat Elankat is offline
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If longevity is your biggest concern, then it seems to me that you need to be most concerned with acid in your materials. Unfortunately, using acid-free material and sealing acidic materials is generally more expensive. So, if longevity is your concern, then you need to be prepared to ditch the modge podge and use acrylic mediums.

If you're using junk mail as your base for paper, then the paper is going to contain acid. You can either switch to a rag base (tear rag papers, buy rag pulp or linter) for the paper or you can seal the entire piece of paper before applying your materials. Either way will prevent the acid from leaching into other things. There's also a additive that you can use that will neutralize the acid when you make the paper. Dick Blick sells it.

If your paper contains wood fiber, then seal both sides with a few coats of gesso or acrylic medium (regular fluid matte or gloss, not gel). It will help it last longer and make it more rigid. You should also seal both sides of anything you attach if the attachments are wood-based paper, metal, etc. Use an acrylic medium to attach things. A heavy gel medium works better for heavier objects and papers. You can seal it all with something like the Golden Polymer UVLS that's been recommended.

There is a collage book by Nita Leland and Virginia Lee Williams. It's called Creative Collage Techniques. If you can check it out from your local library or purchase it, I think you'll find it very useful. It has good information on all the various mediums and their uses, plus does a nice job of covering preservation issues in collage.

Check out Cheap Joe's online site for large containers of medium at really good prices.

Gouache can be acrylic or watercolor and it reacts like an opaque watercolor paint. Acrylic paint tends to be thicker in it's coverage. You can use either, but you may want to avoid watercolor gouache if the work will be exposed to damp conditions or if you don't have much experience with watercolor. If you want a more transparent and fluid acrylic, try Golden's fluid acrylics. If you want a thicker paint with more body, mix fluid acrylics with gel medium or use a thicker body acrylic paint. Again, Cheap Joe's is a great source for Golden's fluid acrylics. Cheap Joe's or Utrecht are good sources for heavier bodied acrylic paints.
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Old 10-02-2003, 09:33 AM
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for all the invaluable info provided by people with and without pink hair.
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Old 10-03-2003, 07:31 PM
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Anyone used that Krylon " Make It Acid Free" spray ? It is supposed to neutralize the acid in papers by raising the paper's pH level. Was wondering if that would work if using torn magazines, etc. I guess only time will tell.

Thanks,

Li
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Old 10-04-2003, 05:55 AM
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Wow..... thanks everyone for all this fantastic information. I am going to ask Leaflin to put it in the sticky for future reference
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Old 10-04-2003, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by lisilk
Anyone used that Krylon " Make It Acid Free" spray ? It is supposed to neutralize the acid in papers by raising the paper's pH level. Was wondering if that would work if using torn magazines, etc. I guess only time will tell.

Thanks,

Li

Anything that you can do to lessen the pieces exposure to moisture, air, heat, acid, and light will help increase the longevity of a piece. When you have acidic materials in a piece, you should do what you can to neutralize and encase them because the acid can "contaminate" non-acidic papers and change their pH levels. That's why many acid-free papers are buffered so they are slightly alkaline. It's to help combat environmental exposure to things that cause acidity. Wood pulp is naturally acidic, so even if you neutralize them, they can still go revert to a higher acidic level. That's why you'll always hear people saying that rag, linen, or cotton papers are best. Encasing acidic materials before gluing them to the collage will help prevent other items from being exposed to an acidic surface. A spray like Krylon's can help because it will get it to a neutral or alkaline point, but you should still encase them in medium or gesso to be safe.
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Old 10-04-2003, 03:55 PM
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Thanks Leanne.
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Old 10-04-2003, 04:28 PM
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Great thread!
It's been added to our "Links to special demonstrations and other interesting threads" thread under "varnish and adhesives" so it won't get lost
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