Personal Technique Issues

Uhu glu stick, one of my favorite brands...

Sometimes I like to use glue sticks. These suckers are so convenient, I can't stand not to use them. No water, no brush, no mess--except for the sticky stuff gets all over my fingers and then I wipe it on my crappy art jeans and my messed up paint shirts, and then little jeans threads get caught in my fingerprints from the glue, and when I go to smooth something down all neat and clean, I get this awful smudge or even worse I add glue to the surface! I have learned to keep baby wipes at the studio table, and I use 'em freely. (Turns out they work great for wiping the collage mediums and glues off of glossy photos. Who knew?)
Differentiating between glossy and matte is huge for me--I am a texture person, and I do like the fact that original surfaces remain intact because you are not covering it with anything...that means glossy things stay gloss and foil things stay foil. My favorite thing about glue stix is the fact that it's a dry glue...meaning that it can be used and it doesn't make one paper or another crinkle up. It's moisture that makes the papers go crinkle crazy, and the less moisture involved in adhering things the better. Glue stick requires nothing but itself so it's supreme. However, I am not convinced it is the perfect collage glue. Some paper edges invariably come loose, curl or peel, probably cuz I hate the burnishing step--I am in a frenzy here! Larger pieces require an insane amount of glue sticking. And finally, the end product seems less than professional to me. Personal preference.

Golden Matte Medium I would die for you

I like to use Golden or Liquitex matte medium as my main collage glue--and I prefer Golden over Liquitex... I like the way it makes things stick, no matter what the substrate, if I glob on enough medium, as long as the pieces are relatively light it will work. It's the messiest stuff ever, and when it gets on my hands it takes a lot of time to wash it off. It's my favorite tho. There is one annoying thing about it however. It has moisture. And sensitive papers pick up on the fact that one side has glue or moisture, so I have issues with wrinkles at times. I have become pretty good at removing them, or finding techniques to avoid them. I have even found that sometimes just leaving them alone will allow the papers time to relax and they may disappear all by themselves. In the Orbit piece that I posted the other day, I had this problem with the blueprints. They were of a strange light paper, and as soon as the medium was applied, the papers began to curl. I groaned, cuz I knew that if a background paper has the wrinkles, everything and anything placed above it also will. This SUCKS! I have tried peeling it off and re applying. I have tried smoothing it over. I have tried applying both top and bottom and allowing the paper to stretch entirely and then gluing it down. But it also is a problem if the substrate has a different moisture level. I can't saturate the base....This gets entirely too complicated!!!
So it's a personal technique issue. I think it is a detriment to some of my work. If I am professional about it, these things wouldn't/shouldn't happen. I don't think it looks good on a piece I am charging $400 for to have wrinkles. And most of the times I have used rare or special papers, so doing over isn't an option.
I don't have this problem all the time. In fact, most of the time I can keep it under control. But it requires constant attention and monitoring and quite frankly when I get in that creative frenzy all I want to do is put it together, and not spend time fussing over glue details! (picture an Einstein-like scene, with an obsessively crazed artist standing over the work pulling out her hair which is stand straight up on her head, while she glues manically!)
In order to solve some of this, at times I use combo glues on one piece. Some Medium over here, glue stick over there. But here's the crux of the matter (and the crux of this post!). When I have used acrylic paints or collage medium first, it appears as though sometimes it repels the glue stick. It's crazy hard to get a paper to stick to the collage medium with glue stick after it's already had a layer of collage medium. Same thing on the Golden acrylic paints. If I paint a background, and then I try to stick something with gluestick, it takes a serious amount of heavy flattening to get it to stick, I mean it will but like I said, I want to finish this artwork sometime this year.... I have to be super liberal about it, and do glue stick on both top paper and bottom substrate even to get it to stick. This drives me crazy, almost crazier than the fact that it may crinkle.
I am looking for an answer to this problem. The wrinkling...the glue stick not sticking to the medium. Anyone got any ideas out there to keep me from totally unraveling on this?


Julie Sadler said...

Hmm. Quiet out here. No comments. Maybe no one has this problem? Maybe someone knows and is hoarding the secret! Maybe no one cares...?

Ontheroad said...

I've thought about adhesive (glue or medium) for ages. I'm trying to use up some supplies and not buy anything, but what works best for me for smooth, permanent is diluted wheat paste (or prepared YES glue, also diluted).

I put a couple of tablespoons of YES in a separate container, add water, making a milky consistency, let set overnight or for several hours, and it forms into a very manageable consistency.

I learned this from an fellow journal artist a few years ago and adapted it this way.

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