Grafix Wet Media Film and Gouache Test #1

November 22, 2012

This is the first of a series of posts I am planning to show how gouache paint behaves on the polyester film from Grafix called Wet Media Film. It is a polyester film that has been specially treated to accept any type of wet paint or ink (see my previous 2 posts.) Both sides are treated so you can paint on either side. Above, you can see the package of 5 sheets they were kind enough to send me to test out. These are 8.5 x 11 inches.

In this picture I’ve scanned a sheet on which I painted some swatches of various brands of gouache. I randomly chose Da Vinci yellow ochre and raw umber, Winsor & Newton viridian, Lukas ultramarine blue, Talens permanent rose magenta. On the left side of each swatch is a full application of paint straight from the tube, a slightly diluted mixture in the center, and a very diluted wash.

My first observation at this point is that the surface takes the gouache paint very well. Unlike untreated polyester film or frosted matte drafting films, the paint here doesn’t bead up at all, even when it’s very diluted with water. There is a tendency for the brush to “furrow” the paint in a noticeable manner, causing it to build up on the sides of the stroke leaving a transparent center. This effect is most apparent if you use a stiff brush. I was able to minimize this effect with some tricks, but it was a challenge to get a solid area of color, especially with the more transparent pigments.

I also scratched into the paint swatches with a box-cutter knife, as you can see in this close-up of the umber. This didn’t damage the film at all. It could make an interesting texture effect, like using scratchboard. Because it can be so easily scratched away, I would say that the adhesion is not as good as gouache is on paper, but adequate; certainly not poor since it doesn’t flake off.

In the close-up of the viridian I wanted to show how the paint dries when it’s wet. It builds up in banded puddles. Within the paint itself the pigment blends very well, but on outside border it creates a sharp edge that is less noticeable when more water is used. On the subject of drying paint, gouache will dry very quickly, and yet on this surface it took several minutes longer than it would on paper, about as long as acrylics by comparison. This again is due to the lack of absorbency. A slower drying gouache paint could be good or annoying depending on your needs. A hair dryer speeds up the drying time.

On this second swatch of the magenta I wanted to demonstrate how easily it is to completely remove the paint from this surface with a damp cloth. I used a dry cloth on the paint when it was partially dry, and on the bottom I used a damp cotton swab after the paint had completely dried. You can, in effect, easily erase the paint or areas of it without damaging the surface. On paper, when you dab gouache with a damp cloth you will leave a tinted stain, but not so with this surface. The paint will come right off.

That’s all for now. On the next posts I plan to show how you can overlap the transparent sheets, and mounting them to a support. Feel free to leave me questions, but they may be answered in upcoming posts.


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on notes to the milkman and commented:
    Just discovered this blog. It has some interesting practical investigations. Worth checking out.

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