painting on plastic film

Apr 19, 2012


What is it about a shiny surface that is so appealing? Case in point- my kitty's been attacking the shiny friendship pin on my sweater all day. I tend to be a matte enthusiast myself, particularly regarding photography.  But, I do have a weak spot for glass-like finishes on paintings.  If it weren't for its toxicity, I'd be all over epoxy resin.

So, for the past three years, I've been experimenting with different finishes and products.  I do like the natural matte of wood, but sometimes I'm looking for more of a pop in color and detail.  And that's the advantage of a high gloss finish.   

The last couple of months I've been reading up on a product called Dura-Lar.  It is an archival polyester film, and it comes in a variety of thicknesses and sheens.  Since I use a multitude of mediums in my art, the Dura-Lar Wet Media Film was the best fit.  Both sides of the film are treated, and it accepts any water-based medium.


My painting process usually involves layers of transparent color.  The use of clear film in my art allows me to preserve subtle tonal changes or finer details that may otherwise be muted by the underlayer.  The white lines on the river, for example, would not be as defined and bright if I had painted them on the wood surface.

Here is another piece I created with Dura-Lar on wood panel:


To adhere the plastic film to the wood panel, I use an acrylic gel medium.  Some artists use double-sided tape (sold in sheets).  For added protection, I use the same acrylic gel medium over painted areas on the film.

Now to experiment with the transparent film on a bigger painting . . .

10 comments:

lamina@do a bit said...

Wow that is so interesting.. LOve the effect.. beautiful! :)

Meghann Rader said...

Wow, these are beautiful! I like the layering of washes with the duralar.
Have you ever tried Liquitex pouring medium? It has the thick glassy finish of resin but it's made of acrylic so no fumes. I'm a bit obsessed with it.

Cathy said...

Thanks ladies : )

Meghann, I have yet to try Liquitex pouring medium, but you've piqued my interest. I've experimented with Golden Self-Leveling Gel. It dries glossy, but it still feels a bit plasticy to me.

Sally said...

Hi Cathy, I love these - especially the last one> I love its looseness and the texture (and the colours!!) So looking forward to you trying out this technique on a larger scale!

Ingrid said...

So cool! I love learning about new techniques and since I work a lot in layers myself, this one was particularly interesting- and with beautiful results too!

Meghann Rader said...

Hi Cathy,

I think pouring medium falls in between self leveling gel and resin for hardness and plasticyness. I forgot to mention that if you decide to try it, make sure you seal the wood panel with PVA size or Gac100 first otherwise the clear paint film will turn yellow over time from the acid in the wood, I learned that the hard way.

KBPortraits said...

Wow, that is a really interesting idea, and the results look great :)

sallie kate said...

Lovely work! Very interesting

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy!

I love your work.... you really are using Dura-Lar to great effect! I'e recently discovered the wet media film, and wanted to try adhering it to wood panel... then discovered your blog! From your post, it looks as though you paint on the panel as well as the film, correct? could you describe the process in a bit more detail?

I've been painting on the film (one side only) and thought the panel would be a nice way of presenting the painting. The gel is a less toxic way of gluing than contact cement.... so I like that!
Thanks for a great post!

Cathy said...

Anonymous, I do paint on the panel as well as the film. I first seal the panel with GAC 100. Then I apply a thin layer of acrylic paint and/or ink. Golden Fluid Acrylics are great.
I use these paints on the film, too.

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