Review: GAC 200 and Jerry’s new medium/varnish


A new love in the studio

Nope, I’m not being compensated to say this.


I love Golden Paint Company’s GAC 100 as an all purpose medium, sealer, and adhesive, but I had read that GAC 200 was specifically for rigid surfaces and was less sticky, (a harder finish). Since I’m working more on panels and wood scraps, I decided to give 200 a try.

The first thing I used GAC 200 for was as an isolation coat and/or top coat on pieces done on panels. It leveled nice, dried very fast, and was almost immediately non-tacky. I loved that! It’s glossy like 100.

I’ll continue to use GAC 100 on canvases, as well as a good painting medium and adhesive, too. It’s very flexible when dry so it is really better suited to flexible surfaces like canvas. I used a lot of gel medium, GAC 100, and really any acrylic mediums I had on hand, to provide bonding strength in my sculpture materials.

Read more about Golden’s formulas here:

Read MSDS info on Golden Products:



Satin and Matte formulas


Another product I’ve used a little now is Jerry’s Medium and Varnish, which comes in Gloss, Satin, and Matte. I’ve only used the Satin and Matte since most other acrylic mediums I have are already glossy. This is new to me. They were demonstrating it in Jerry’s store a couple months ago and I liked it. It’s thin, so I didn’t need to water it down for use as a “varnish” even in our hot dry air.

This is a similar concept to Liquitex’s Medium/Varnish (which as far as I know only comes in gloss, a nice product, too).  Tri Art used to make a varnish/medium if I recall but I haven’t seen it offered in the Dick Blick catalog lately. I don’t always want a true varnish, and to just use matte medium or mix my own and hope it’s the right ratio, isn’t really ideal. Matte mediums are not recommended by the makers as a final finish, though I, and I suspect many artists, end up using it that way sometimes!

Well, now there’s a Medium/Varnish that comes in all 3 gloss levels. The finish of the Jerry’s Satin and Matte is really nice. It’s interesting to play around with it and see how just changing the gloss on something can change or enhance it. Since some of my pieces have a deliberate combination of gloss and matte areas, this has been very useful. When I do collage or work on paper, I often want to retain the matte look of paper, so this will be a nice addition. On paintings, I don’t want it too shiny, so the satin is just right.

Unlike true varnishes, you can continue to work over and change things with a Medium/Varnish. Or just paint the hell over it entirely if you want. That may not work out so well if you’ve put an actual varnish on the piece and then later change your mind! So far, it has been a good performer.

The only unusual thing I noticed with Jerry’s Medium/Varnish is that the odor while drying is “solvent-y,” as best I can describe it. I looked for Material Safety Data Sheets on the Jerry’s products but didn’t immediately find them.

[UPDATE, edited to add that I heard back from Jerry’s when I asked them about MSDS sheets and they said they don’t have them at this time. According to OSHA, MSDS sheets are not required on non hazardous materials for ’employees’ but I didn’t look further. If someone wants to research it please comment here with your findings, we’d all appreciate it! OSHA ] 

If you read the Golden MSDS sheets, you can see ammonia is a component of GAC formulas. I am not sure I’d describe the Jerry’s odor as ammonia but if that’s commonly in products like this, that’s what it could be.

I put things outside to dry a lot no matter what, because even if things don’t have much odor, they can be bad for you and your pets, especially in large amounts.

Read about Jerry’s Artarama’s Medium:


© 2016 Cindy Schnackel


3 thoughts on “Review: GAC 200 and Jerry’s new medium/varnish

  1. This is terrific, Cindy! Thank you for sharing the information – !! I had no idea about the stickiness/less hard thing with GAC100. I haven’t used mine yet, except for one tiny thing that didn’t tell me much about it. Now I want to jump in and give it a good thorough test drive!
    BTW – that’s crummy about the MSDS. Not a good thing!! I poked around on the site, too, just to see if I could get anywhere at all. No. They have an icon for “tech ” info (which, when clicked, is supposed to provide the sheets if necessary) but I didn’t see any to click. Couldn’t even find who manufactures the Jerry’s stuff by searching online. Gave up too fast, probably. LOL…the site has a place to click if customers find spelling errors, but there info about the chemicals is pretty much invisible (from what I saw).

    I have some acrylics that are >4 years old and they smell HORRIBLE. A tinge of ammonia but mostly some other odor that I can describe only as what might be found between toes of a person who’s never washed his feet AT ALL, wears boots with no socks year round, and marches 24/7. GHASTLY. Found out that that “scent” (GAH!!!!) is bec acrylics can grow mold. ::shivers::


  2. Oh! Forgot this: When I searched for the Jerry’s medium by name with additional terms like “odor,” etc., and “MSDS,” this blog post popped up over and over again (using Google).

    • Yeah, seems like it USED TO be MSDS sheets were required, but maybe they no longer are, or maybe they have x amount of time to do it. The Jerry’s is a new product. Or maybe it is considered ‘available’ info if you had to write to them for it, who knows. I am curious, because it might affect how I use the product.

      The GAC 100 should work fine as an all purpose product. It seems most likely to be in stock in stores, too. But now that I’ve used the 200 I do have a preference for it as a top coat on rigid surfaces. For everything else I was using 100 for, I still will, especially if I’m low on 200!

      Let us know how your experiments come out!

      Oh yeah, water based house paint, acrylic, etc, can mold and smell REALLY bad. When I worked in big shops painting trade show displays, the paint cans often grew mold especially in summer. The smell can be overwhelming! I haven’t had anything go bad (of my own stuff) like that, thankfully! Sounds like the stinky stuff could be an (outdoor!) experiment.

Experimenting with Comment Settings, in case you don't see a way to leave one.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s