Friday, February 19, 2010

my love/hate relationship with resin.....

work in progress

This is one of the new pieces that I'm working on. I think it's going to be called "Peacock Garden". It's about 80% finished. I just applied resin to it and I'm holding my breath. This is the largest piece that I've ever attempted resin on's 20" x 24". A lot of artists are fascinated with the process when they see the finished work hanging in my studio/gallery. But, when I try to tell them what a "beast" resin is...they sort of look at me like they don't believe me. It's an extremely difficult and toxic process. When it's done correctly...the results are stunning...when you mess up...well...let's just say it's say the least.

I use Envirotex Lite resin. You can get it at fine art supply stores or even Michaels. It comes in 2 parts that have to be mixed together. (I tried AquaClear resin, but it's not as strong as I need it to be, and sets up too quickly.) Here are some things I've learned the hard way:

1) This stuff smells horrible. It triggers my sinuses and brings up asthma problems that I haven't dealt with since childhood. Wear a mask and work somewhere well a garage or porch. I have a screened porch and it works out well.

2. Work on a level surface. The resin is self leveling and if your working surface is not level, then it will cause the resin to be uneven.

paintings with resin drying on my back porch

3. Protect the work surface. It's messy and sticky. Resin doesn't adhere to plastic very well. I have a long roll of plastic that I use over my table. It's just a thin plastic table covering like you can get at a party supply store. If you get it on your skin before it dries, use alcohol to remove it.

pendants with resin...see how messy it can be?

4. Mix it in plastic containers. I use plastic clear disposable cups. You can mark them with a Sharpie to make sure that you pour an equal amount into each cup. This is extremely important. You have to use equal amounts of Part A and Part B. If you don't, the resin won't dry or set up correctly.

5. For larger amounts, use a plastic measuring cup, like you would find from a paint store. Don't throw it out after you use it. Let the resin dry, because chances are it won't stick to the plastic and you can peel the dried resin out and re-use the cup.

6. Mix well. Spend a lot of time mixing it together. Don't worry about bubbles.

7, Use a propane torch to get rid of the bubbles after you pour. The instructions say that you can use your breath for smaller projects. But, don't....use a long lighter instead...don't breathe the stuff.

8. Don't let the flame get too close to the resin. Recently I messed up a painting by getting the flame too close. It dried the resin super fast and left it bumpy and ruined the piece. :( See photo below...I might be able to sand the resin down and fix the piece.

resin gone bad

9. Take your time. Don't start the resin project unless you can work on it for a couple of hours straight without interruption. An interruption caused me to get the flame too close to the resin in the painting above.

10. Don't try to resin in cold weather. Resin likes warm. I made the mistake of leaving a piece out overnight here in Florida, and messed it up. It's been pretty cold here this winter. Anyway, I got a strange marbling and fogging on the resin. Not pretty.

painting curing with resin

So, I hope that answers some questions that you might have about resin. Just remember to read all the instructions and take extra safety precautions. It's a love/hate relationship for me. I hope as time goes wins out. Doesn't it always...with a lot of patience.... :)

Don't forget to enter the weekly Karma giveaway in the post below. The winner will be announced Tuesday evening!

Have a great weekend everyone!

WyannePin It