Ode to Tar Gel

Less Herger over at Comfortable Shoes Studio has a series going on the ‘Cult of Stuff‘.  I think I am lucky that in New Zealand stuff is not so easy to come by, because even despite the fact I have no decent art stores near me I still have a bit of stuff.  (Thanks Dick Blick!!).  It started looking at all the stuff we end up with, thinking that will make us better artists, through to the ephemera we buy when we can easily find our own from our own life (again thank goodness I live in New Zealand, I have this pretty down pat!  :)  It is about using what materials we do have, without going out and buying more, and using those well, testing boundaries, experimenting, making sure we are getting the most out of what we do have rather than just running out to buy more …stuff! :)

Over at Less’s Art Journalling Ning group there is also a group running and participating in some weekly challenges on the Cult of Stuff.

One thing I did have that I had not yet used was Tar Gel.  I rediscovered it in the corner of my art supply bookshelf when I was looking for something else, and as soon as I read the first post I thought of that tar gel.  Sitting there unused that I bought for goodness knows what.  So I got out my journal and experimented.

Experimentation Stage 1

The page was roughly (eg eyeballed) into 6 strips.  Strip 1 is plain ole acrylic paint.  Strip 2 was a plain layer of tar gel.  Strip 3 at this stage was just gesso. Strip 4 was some dribble action.  Strip 5 was tar gel tinted with paint.  And strip 6 is divided into half again.  The top half was experimenting with doing a text transfer.  The bottom half was acting as a glue for text.

After a wee bit I had the idea to try and scratch into Strip 2 and Strip 5 while it was still wet and see what would happen.  I think I had left it a bit late though because it wasn’t flash, but I could see potential.

Experiment Stage 2


At this stage I glazed Strip 1 and then tried to write a word with my palette knife with the tar gel.  Strip 2 had a glaze added and then some dribbles.  Strip 3 had some dribbles added.  Strip 4 had a glaze and some more dribbles added.  Strip 5 had a glaze and a few dribbles added.  I rubbed the paper of the transfer.  It wasn’t great but it did work.  There are better products to use though!  The same goes for using it as an adhesive, I don’t know why you would, there are better products, but if you are desperate it will work.   :)

This was the final stage, I am slack about taking staging photos,  but I am going to try and remember more! :)

Strip 1 had another couple of glazes over it and then I tried writing over it with Gel pen, Acrylic ink, sharpie, and Stabilo marks all.

Strip 2 had glazes and then writing with gel pen, acrylic ink, sharpie and stabilo marks all.

Strip 3 had watercolour and then an acrylic glaze.  And tehn gel pen, acrylic ink, stabilo marks all and sharpie were used.

Strip 4 had more glazes and then gel pen, acrylic ink, sharpie pen and stabilo marks all pencil were used.

Strip 5 had another glaze and then gel pen, acrylic ink, sharpie and stabilo marks all was used.

Strip 6 – Transfer had a couple of glazes and then gel pen, sharpie paint pen, sharpie, stabilo marks all and acrylic ink was used.

Strip 6 – Adhesive had a couple of glazes and then gel pen, sharpie paint pen, sharpie, stabilo marks all and acrylic ink was used.

The gel pen was useless.  As was the Sharpie Paint pen, so I only used that on Strip 6.  The others were okay, but not sure when I would want to write over targel, but if I ever do…I know what pens to use!

The following shots are the texture that you can’t see in the above photos.  And also I gave these pages a good spray with turtle wax before I wrote on them and so far there has been no sticking even though the book has been closed for a week.



One thought on “Ode to Tar Gel

  1. Pingback: Ephemera Adventures. « Natasha White Designs

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