Powertex Bister Granules for mixed media art
Have you tried Bister granules in your art? If you’ve ever taken a Powertex mixed media art workshop with me you will know that Powertex Bister Granules are on my favourites list. Using the granules for mixed media art is a bit different than adding other pigments because they add colour and create texture.
These pigments are intense so a little goes a long way. Just a tiny amount of these granules can produce a sea of colour on your canvas. When dry the texture is rough and varied.
3 ways to use Bister granules
Make your own Bister sprays
These granules can be mixed with water and used in a spray bottle. If you use a lot of Bister this is a great way to buy your pigments as it’s cheaper than buying the ready made sprays. You’ll need to use distilled water to mix your sprays. You can add as much or as little as you like to create the strength of colour you want and you can mix different colours of granules together. Be sure to dissolve the granules properly or you’ll have a clogged spray very quickly. Start with just 1/2 tsp in 100mls and build up slowly.
Mixing granules into Powertex
The Bister granules can be used to colour Powertex Universal Medium. Start with a tiny amount and add more slowly until you get the colour you want. Again you can mix your granule colours to make gorgeous Powertex colours and a little goes a long way.
I mixed Blue Bister Granules into Transparent (at the top) and Ivory (bottom) Powertex. The Transparent dries clear so doesn’t have so much impact on the finished colour. The Ivory tints the Bister a little. You really need much less than is shown to colour the Bister, unless you want grains to show when it’s dry. Mix well if you want to avoid the rough texture.
Using Bister with Coloured Powertex
You can also mix with other colours of Powertex to get different results. In this test, I’m using Blue Powertex with Black, Brown (natural), Yellow and Red Bister Granules to show how intense the colour can be. It’s worth experimenting until you find your favourites.
Sprinkle onto a wet Powertex surface
Dropping Bister granules onto a wet surface will add intense colour, a fine texture and create interesting effects as the colour bleeds into the wet surface. If the surface is already textured this can give really interesting results. These sort of organic effects can’t be planned so it’s great if you love happy accidents! Try sprinkling the granules onto wet Powertex and spray with a white vinegar and water mix to let the colour brighten and flow on your art. This works really well on a very textured piece.
A note about Bister
Bister granules are for you if you want to mix your own sprays or add intense colour and fine texture. Mixing your own needs reliable spray bottles and distilled water. However it also allows you to mix your own strengths and colours. Purple Bister is in your reach!
It’s worth remembering that Bister will stain surfaces but it’s not really permanent or lightfast. After drying it can reactivate when wet. If you’re using Bister in your mixed media projects I recommend using a spray varnish to protect the colour.
Find out more
As a UK tutor I get my supplies from Powertex UK and use sprays and granules in my art. If you would like to know more about how I use Bister in my art you might find this blog Powertex Bister helpful.
I also have a digital Powertex Bister Masterclass in my Etsy shop. This downloadable pdf is full of tips for using Bister, techniques, a step by step photo tutorial to my signature style Bister art and much more.