I remember being in an art gallery in Montreal and looking at paintings that had a shiny, hard, glossy surface to them–they looked almost candy-coated–and the colours were so vibrant and beautiful. I kept wondering ‘how the heck did they do that?’.
For years I bemused employees at art stores with questions like ‘how do you candy coat a painting?’ only to end up with things like Mod Podge and Arcylic gloss coatings – none of which were the right thing.
Of course, now that my head is immersed in resin I realized that resin is the answer. I bought a package of Envirotex Lite Pour On High Gloss Finish and decided to apply it to one of my photos. In case any of you have been wondering, as I was, how this effect is achieved – read on!
I bought the resin, a wooden canvas that was larger than my photo, Elmers glue, black acrylic paint and a large paintbrush. For those of you interested, my print is a photo I took of the cormorants under the Burlington Skyway, aiming towards the Hamilton Steel Mills. The print was done at Pikto in the Distillery District, and is printed to Kodak Metallic.
First I laid down some plastic to protect my surface from both the glue and the resin. I also took this opportunity to place a level on the surface and make sure it was totally flat–this matters when you’re pouring the resin! Next, I applied a thin coat of the glue. I didn’t need to be very neat about this bit.
I stuck my photo down onto the board, making sure that it was reasonably straight.
I started painting in the edges, and all 4 sides of the canvas, with the black acrylic paint. I wanted a messy look that would compliment the photo, so I allowed myself to go over the edges of my photo with rough brush strokes for that industrial look. I let this dry for a few hours.
Next I mixed up the resin. I followed the instructions carefully because I’ve had plenty of experience with what happens when resin isn’t mixed right! After that I ignored the instructions and treated it just like I do jewellery resin.
I used a stir stick to outline the sides of the canvas first–allowing the natural tendency towards surface tension to give me a little ‘dome’ at the edges. Then I started gently pouring resin in the middle, using a stir stick to move it outwards towards the edges. Do not be intimidated by this step, it’s much easier than it sounds.
Lastly, I used a hair dryer to pop any bubbles in the piece and to smooth out my application. I used a pin for stubborn bubbles. When I was happy I covered the piece with a box to protect it from dust and left it for a few days.
The metallic looks great behind the resin and the treatment compliments the photo perfectly! It’s so glossy you can see my reflection and the colours are perfect. An acrylic face-mount can cost over $100, even for a small print, this whole process was $14 and I love the result!