In the decorative arts, it is always startling to see the degree to which product sales are generated by the decorative painting teachers or the books and pattern packets. Projects are often completed and resemble, at least in its initial stages, like a cooking recipe, and often the students will follow it to the exact ingredient, as if they were in the kitchen. With all the time spent on a painting project its no wonder they want to be certain not to use a product that is not compatible with another and ruin their work.
The beauty of decorative painting; at least to those practicing fine art- is the degree to which work can be erased, cleaned up, lifted and painted over until the desired effect is achieved. In the past couple years Golden soft gel mat has been a popular product in the literature and courses for image transfer onto canvas in particular. The fact is, the product is really expensive. Golden is priced as the Bentley of fine arts and is used frequently in a craft application. Other identical products can give the same result at much more ouch for the ounce. Liquitex mediums appear to be equal quality at significantly better value. We have been recommending their soft gel mat as a substitute or even the Madame Pickwick private label which is the same quality at a little cheaper but 25% more fluid.
When will it ever stop? Glass painting has been on a tear for the past four years and does not seem to be abating. At least two years ago, it appeared to have run its course; but instead changed ideas and became stronger than ever. What was responsible for the surge? Someone very clever started using Pebeo “Vitrail” glass paint on Canvas. The colors are pretty saturated and it applies like a fluid acrylic. The off gasses are pretty strong: I do think the product, because of the solvent and the quantities used is toxic over the long term, but it has not seemed to dent its unwavering demand. In fact, the company has had to re-fashion its warning labels to apparently reflect the stricter standards now in force. Also interesting is the heavy use of matte and gloss gels on canvas with the Pebeo, or even less expensive, the Crystal Clear from the Gallery Glass line from Plaid which is priced for penny pinchers.