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Gert teaching at Faux Expo 2010



Gert on Old School Decorative Painting Techniques and Modern Paint Technology

Gert-Jan Njisse, master decorative painter from the Netherlands and Salon participant, discusses his use of Slow Drying Acrylics to achieve traditional marble and woodgrain techniques. 
"During the Faux Expo 2010 in Orlando, FL, I presented a 1-day class about the differences between old school techniques and the evolution in using waterborne materials in the step by step process of wood graining and marbling. Although back in the old days it was quite common to use beer, milk, or vinegar, it was a relief to find there are waterborne products that provide long open time opportunities. Especially at the beginning, when learning these types of techniques, it’s more difficult to use quick drying Fluid acrylics. Of course, with experience the speed of accomplishing results has to increase eventually. But then, with the ‘new ‘generation of glazes we’re able to manipulate drying time once again.  
Art and decoration have parallels in finding a way to feel confident in your materials. Learning from my father, who was a very creative decorator, and my teacher, the West Flemish Mr. Pauwels (83 years old now), with his traditional way of painting (logelain methods), it was a surprise to find him interested in helping to research and find solutions. We had to balance tradition with innovation and environmental regulations, which have forced us to search for a solvent free way of executing decoration. It has taken over 15 years for my teacher, Mr. Pauwels and me to test all kinds of products. 
GOLDEN has done a lot to make a product line to help in this struggle. By giving professionals the opportunity to work with these products and asking for feedback (a GOLDEN tradition), decorative painters like Mr. Pauwels & I have discovered new techniques that accomplish the same result. Focusing on teaching and learning , as we do most, there’s a need to have a long(er) open time, mixing on the palette, manipulating shapes and composition on the study-panel during the process, and the joy of blending in finishing soft transparent effects.  
On the jobsite, it’s important that you are aware of the time limits, temperature, and humidity. In some cases with the slow drying acrylics, you have to speed up technique and drying times. This can be done by adding GOLDEN Matte Medium to create the same effect but with a faster drying time. With the addition of Matte Medium, we can apply the next layer quickly. What is interesting, too, is that once we know how to work with the waterborne products, we sometimes revert to the old school methods again by using pure pigments and adding water.  
In conclusion, in my opinion, it is possible to make waterborne materials behave like oil based and achieve comparable results. This will always be my challenge thanks to my father’s interest in innovation and Mr. Pauwel’s desire for traditional techniques. I believe, “you don’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve come from.”"


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