Clear Tar Gel and Watercolor (from the mad scientist)

Another experiment from the mad scientist studio of Create Art Every Day. This was my first try playing with an acrylic texture product by Golden called clear tar gel, and I thought it might be cool to add watercolor paint.

061916The acrylic gel acts as a resist to watercolor paint, and in this case, kept the different pigments from blending with each other and making mud.    It drips from the jar in strings like honey.   It goes on white, so it’s easily seen, then after several hours, it dries clear, masking the surface beneath it.   I started with white 140 lb. watercolor paper in this case, dripped the tar gel on in a random pattern of squiggles, let it dry overnight, and then added watercolor the next day.  While preparing this post, I came across this blog post, which has lots of ideas for using clear tar gel too.

If you work with acrylics, you can mix acrylic paint with clear tar gel to produce a colored gel as well.   I think a copper or bronze metallic would look really cool, and that’ll probably be my next experiment with this product.  Some artists use the colored gel to add texture to a finished painting.   If you’ve used clear tar gel, I’d love to hear what you enjoy doing with it.   I see lots of possibilities, but have only just begun to explore this medium!    (Note:  As a Blick affiliate, purchases from this link help to support my site.)

I hope this inspires you as we prepare for World Watercolor Month in July!    Happy Father’s Day to all of the wonderful men who make this world a better place by being amazing dads.   I’m off to the kitchen to make gluten free crab cakes for Hub for later.    Peace and happy painting to all!

56 thoughts on “Clear Tar Gel and Watercolor (from the mad scientist)

    1. Thanks, glad you like it! I don’t think it would peel off easily – would probably mess up the paper. I’m thinking about doing a background wash in acrylic and then once that dries, it won’t move – then go over with wc. If I were a more talented painter, I could put these ideas to better use lol.

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  1. That is so cool. I’m constantly amazed by the variety of methods and ‘ingredients’ you use. I had no idea there was such a huge diversity of products you can use to achieve the desired effects. And the art is pretty cool too… very soft and summery. 🙂

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  2. The tar gel sounds a bit like Liquid Frisket. Have you used the latter? If so, how do the two compare (besides the fact that Frisket will rub off and tar gel won’t)? Your painting is so fun and fresh! ❤ I guess that comes of knowing you're experimenting and not trying to produce anything specific?

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    1. I have frisket but haven’t used it, Teresa. The smell turned me right off. I think CTG is used mainly by acrylic artists to get various textural effects, but I wanted to test its resist properties with watercolor. Also looking into mixing the two mediums within one painting and wanted to see what it would do. Plus, I’d never used it and wanted to play! CTG dries shiny and clear, so that’s one obvious difference, based on watching other artists use frisket. And you can mix acrylic paint with it to achieve colored textural effects as well. So I can see it being used in multiple ways. Definitely not so utilitarian as frisket is.

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  3. You mad scientist you! I love how you jump right in! Your painting reminds me of a stained glass. I now want to start experimenting, I actually painted four paintings today! I did wash one away but it was part of an experiment because I am going to re-use the paper.

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