Common sense tells us that this goes withouth saying: an oil painting on stretched canvas will undoubtedly move somewhat, either by the slight bounce that a stretched fabric gives, or else by the potential expanding and shrinking of the materials in various circumstances. It’s often used in decorative augmentations in furniture and aesthetic elements of your home, but if you can order a full panel of maple wood, it’s going to be the best thing you’ve ever oil painted on. However, I prefer pencil and paper (heavy watercolor Arches) as a starting point, then lead Flake White oil paint over the granite. I have improved and changed my style considerably and just don’t want to waste these canvases. But better late than never I hope! Hi Sophie Great article. Despite positive results from various tests and trials by artists, aluminium has not been around long enough as an oil painting support to prove to us how it will stand the test of time. You can usually walk away from your project and return no less than twenty minutes later, and have a completely dry surface to paint on. On oil priming I love the fact you can move the paint around and it keeps it oily glow. Also oil-primed canvas is beautifully non-absorbent and the paint will slide around like you’re painting on glass. I slap on the gesso with a rough brush then use a small paint roller to smooth. It is … This article is a list of all the reasons that household paint does not do the job of an artist gesso. The choice between the two is a matter of personal preference. Hi Lesley, thanks for stopping by! But Jackson panelss seem to be different as they are pure aluminium (I’ve just bought a small sample) and have received a special treatment, so I don’t know what to do. Prepare your painting surface with oil priming materials & gesso for oil painting to provide an excellent adhesion for oil paint and to create a luminous painting surface. Or just use the white paint to cover the painting without the clear gesso. A size is a thin solution (often a weak glue) that is brushed directly onto a support. Gamblin Oil Painting Ground is the top choice for a new generation of painters looking for a convenient, non-toxic alternative to traditional lead oil grounds. Gesso is the same as a primer, as in ‘pre-primed canvas’. They are very strong and lighter than dibond, alucabond, etc. It can get a little more complicated if you’re going to paint onto a pre-existing piece of wood in your home, such as an inside retaining wall or the front of a counter area. Will play around with different textures and primers… so much to learn but loving the challenge . You need something dry that won’t warp over time, which is usually why a cotton canvas is preferred. Aluminium stretchers are available too which has the advantage that it will not react to the environment. I can’t speak for galleries but as far as I know they would expect you to use archival and professional materials so they can sell your work with integrity. I started to look into painting on wood because we are running a Pebeo workshop. If we paint on a rigid surface that will not move or react we can remove a very large risk of cracked paint in works of art. Professional linen can be hugely expensive. It’s also cheaper and comes in more abundance. You may also know linseed oil by something else: flaxseed oil. I don’t think you could ever sell paintings with such materials in there. Thank you. Have fun experimenting! And that might well depend on how you paint. You cannot apply an acrylic ground to this surface. Sophie, Thank you for this – so much helpful information. EVA? Thanks for your input, it is really interesting. Thanks for the suggestions! Gesso is the preferred sealer for the porous canvas. Happy painting! Great stuff. Gesso is painted onto the canvas to seal and prime it before the oil paint is applied. So stretched canvas remains the only lightweight option for large paintings that has shown us how it will behave in the future. Hi Donna, thank you for adding your comments. So the paint and the fabric must be kept separated by a good size and primer if you want your painting to last at all. Glue chalk gesso is good for oil paintings because it will absorb some of the oil from the base layers, helping the painting to dry faster. I am afraid I am no expert in this area and it all depends what you are painting for. link) does gesso boards, made from hardboard with their own special coating. After trying oil primed linen I was frustrated with the slippery surface. If you prefer the texture of canvas, you can adhere a cotton or linen canvas to a support. With the help of their store Mgr, I bought raw linen and canvas and stretcher bars along with their fabulous Gesso. Where do you start? I hope this overview of supports that are generally available here in the UK can be useful to you. In fact, some would argue that it is a superior support for oils because, unlike canvas which is flexible, wood is rigid and this helps to prevent cracks in the oil paint. Thanks for the insight. Turpentine dries wood out, but it also seals it. You’re supposed to size the wood with glue to help seal it against SID before you gesso, but I use Jackson’s acrylic gesso which specifically says you don’t need to size, allowing me to skip a step. GAC 100 is also useful for diluting and extending colors, increasing flexibility and film integrity, sizing for fabric and sealing for wood. Adding a bit of DIY into the mix will also reduce costs dramatically (stretching your own canvas can save you around 20% of costs). This primer is an acrylic base which is suitable for painting on in oils and acrylics. So I do spend time asking my fellow artists about their materials, read technical forums about the longevity of a primer or the difference between types of canvas. I also am loathe to buy oil primer from the art store as it also pretty expensive so am wondering your thoughts on a good quality oil prep base from the hard ware store. I’ve recently begun painting on aluminium – mainly because it feels very much like printmaking to me – I like that I can use the surface itself to show through. Many art shops supply wood panels, often made of plywood or hardwood. Good stretching methods are vital when working with linen. GAC 100 will wet out solids, including pigments, more readily than other polymers and is useful for artists formulating their own paints, Hi Chris, thanks for stopping by! However, it’s still used in smaller projects where you’re refinishing or repurposing something. If you like to err on the side of caution as many of us do, leave it for an hour to be 100% certain that it’s dried properly. I am working on stretched linen and cotton most of the time, but you have encouraged me to try Dibond. It’s plausible to assume that you can’t get a 100% perfectly even coat the first time, so use a sandpaper block with at least 600 grit to smooth it out. So much excellent information! link) ready to paint on. You can prime a canvas with acrylic mediums, clear gesso, or rabbit skin glue. The stretcher bars are usually made of wood. Of course you can make your own easily, but brands like Belle Arti and Ampersand sell wonderful boards with a high quality primer that makes them a pleasure to work on. Could you please share what glue you use (if you do this!). If wood is not sized or sealed properly before applying the gesso, yellowing can occur because water [a solvent] can cause acids, occurring naturally in wood, to migrate to the surface. Hope that helps! Thanks again for stopping by! Rigid surfaces like alumium or wood therefore are much preferred if longevity is important to you. __CONFIG_group_edit__{"jumbzp5n":{"name":"All Column(s)","singular":"-- Column %s"}}__CONFIG_group_edit__, __CONFIG_local_colors__{"colors":{"b3390":"Border","2248f":"Button "},"gradients":{}}__CONFIG_local_colors__, {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}. I would not risk that as the aluminium is quite heavy. However you prefer to work, the choice of supports is endless. Since turpentine is very toxic, you might not want to use it if you have little ones in the house that could get their hands on the wooden surface. The absorbency of ready-made canvas can vary enormously so it is really worth experimenting. Dip a primer or sponge brush into the gesso and apply it to the canvas in a thin layer. I must say excellent information provided which will be beneficial to all art lovers. The least absorbency comes from oil primers. Turpentine should be mixed with a tung oil in a 50/50 blend in order to help treat and prime wood for painting. I would hesitate with an oil primer on paper, unless it specifically says that is ok. Paper is flexible and most primers would not be suitable for it perhaps. Our art school teacher who was also a practising artist was all about using such things but used acrylic primer in the first instance.. I haven’t worked on Dibond for a while but still have a sheet in the cupboard. For oil paper, my favorite is Canva-paper, made by Canson. Can you use primer instead of gesso? Any ideas are welcome – Love your blogs. This can save on the cost of a new canvas and the time involved in stretching and preparing it. Hi Sophie, Great advice. Turpentine is commonly used to thin out acrylic paints, and works well to treat wood that’s going to be put through harsh weather. It is on my list!! To avoid oil paint cracking over time it would help if the painting is painted on a rigid surface. It is therefore harder to stretch and if the stretcher or the linen expands or shrinks a tiny bit, the linen will sag or wave and will need re-tightening. What should a beginner use? It requires less treating, but is slightly more catatonic to deal with. Step 1. That’s great! However, EU regulations specify that only a very small amount of it is allowed in wood products. What are the alternatives to gesso? The latest kid on the block in the world of oil painting supports is aluminium (aff. Many artists love MDF. Good luck! Dry it out and create a seal, and this isn’t going to happen. All rights reserved. Your email address will not be published. The Painting Advice. If you can prepare your own support you can save yourself a lot of money. This way you can benefit from the rigidity that the support offers as well as enjoy the weave, feel and look of canvas. Ampersand (aff. This is obviously a big problem if you’re planning to paint on wood, but there’s a way to do it properly. Thank you for sharing. They are not very common here in the UK though. It’s a bit pricey to use the BEVA though. ​I like the wooden panels made by Ampersand a lot. Gesso is a primer and not a sealer. Should be fine. I do not really like cotton because of its incredibly regular and fairly coarse texture. I'm wanting to glue oil-primed linen (Claessens) to an MDF board, and no-one near me (in Australia) seems to know what glue to use. Some might work with big brushes and heavy paint applications. I now use it to coat both sides of the MDF before priming it with Golden primer. For studies and other stuff that won’t end up on a gallery wall there is as much (perhaps even more) choice in supports. Ampersand is a great brand. Most primed canvas comes with a universal primer applied in numerous coats. Thanks again for your contribution. I enjoy the slight texture of the grain and also the rigidity, allowing me to rub back – also want to also try the shop-bought panels now too. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace. Even when it’s cut, prepared, and partially treated, raw pieces of wood still have a decent amount of moisture locked inside of them. Hi Kaustav, thanks for commenting! You can use three different things to prime the wood and dry it out. Preparing wood for painting and maintaining transparency. Great blog with lots of information – has inspired me to finally try linen. You don’t hear much about it, because it’s no longer required for commercial construction. . The linseed oil in oil paint will deteriorate an unprimed canvas. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Which one you choose depends on quite a few things. I have used Golden Acrylic Gesso ( a confusing name as it isn’t actually gesso but an acrylic primer) and Roberson’s Oil Primer for many of my paintings. Sizing or sealing is recommended to protect Ampersand’s uncoated panels from support-induced discoloration when using acrylic gesso. Not sure about a float frame for aluminium. Art for Kids: Are Acrylic Paints Safe for Your Children? I prefer a very fine, almost smooth-but-not-quite, linen texture. So the longevity will be useless. I like to use a lot of very small sable brushes. The gallery that I show my work at in group exhibits does not seem to have a preference when it comes to supports, but I am hoping to get gallery representation in the future. You can buy either in various degrees of coarseness. I buy pre made standard doors and cut them up and seal the cut edges…spray all over with rustoleum ( outside )_2 coats and it is ready to go under an hour. Cotton has a regular, more bobbly weave. It is also a nice way to practice a new technique or work out ideas without investing extra cash. I can’t really go into sizing and priming as I tend to opt for the time-saving-but-expensive option of the bespoke and ready-made and I only have experience applying primers to already primed stretched canvas. It is bouncy and will not sag or wave once stretched. Thanks, Matthew Lee, Hi Matthew, sorry for the late reply! And generally it is fine to work on primed MDF. I have acrylic paint… You might well find you like your own the best! This doesn’t take long to dry, and acts as a shield between your wood and the oil paint. Plywood needs to be dried and sealed more than any other type of wood. I have no experience using acrylic or plastic panels I’m afraid. They are easily cut to size, fairly lightweight, thin and rigid. I have read somewhere that it tends to suck oil. Of course you can frame it in a traditional frame with a rebate just like any other board. Thank you! Do you have any experience using acrylic / plastic panels for painting supports? You can buy acrylic primers and oil primers in pots and tins. Some love the bounce of a stretched canvas, others prefer less movement. I didn’t find a notification. First is birch wood, which is often used by canvas makers. The nearest I’ve come to it is a nylon/linen mix canvas. Alternatively you can buy clear primed canvas – which will show the pale brown canvas through it-  black primed canvas or unprimed canvas. Hi Sophie, I love your blog and appreciate the information so much. Hi Sophie, I really appreciate the information and the blog, very informative. In fact, it is extremely important t… Many art shops sell canvas MDF panels (aff. Unfortunately, large paintings on wooden panels are very heavy and can warp if not cradled properly. The process of usage is also clear and easy. For a long time people thought that linen is of a better quality and longer lasting than cotton, but most artists would now agree that this is not true. Jackson says the panels need no priming and can be used as such, which would be great, as I would love a very smooth surface. I use a hatching technique with a small brush and the wet paint blends and mixes a little on the canvas. At first, stir properly and use with a brush to a neat and clean surface. Good luck! Worth a go perhaps! Linseed oil has been used for hundreds of years, and is the main alternative to using turpentine. They used a gesso ground made from chalk and glue. Much has been said in the past about the difference between linen and cotton canvas. How do they perform? It saves me so much time. This creates a thin barrier between the paint and the wood, which will prevent damage and the wear and tear of time. You can usually get pieces that are at least ¾” thick without spending a lot of money. Hi Pam, I would use an archival PVA glue. For a coarse canvas you need to use strong brushes. Next is maple, which is a nice, rigid and hard wood. Thanks Sophie, a lot of usefull information on your blog. Linen canvas has an irregular, natural weave. Two ‘extra fine linen’ canvases from different manufacturers: Claessens on top and Belle Arti below. Please edit the query for content to display. Of course the least absorbent paintings supports are metals, like copper or aluminium. You can also use other types of wood if these are too pricey. Many commercially purchased canvases for painting are pre-primed with gesso. Learn how your comment data is processed. Experimenting with budget materials is fine, but I don’t think you can ask anyone to pay money for that. This extra-thick Gesso is excellent for oil and acrylic painting. The fabric used for canvas is oftencotton or linen, but can also be jute or polyester. Hi … thanks for your info … I am a budget buster and am wanting to re use old paintings I did at art school as they are on great substrates. Modern ‘Gesso’ is usually acrylic primer and no sizing is required. I think you can use the same glue for any primed linen, it makes no difference. I can take a sheet of canvapaper and mount it to hardboard or plywood with double sided tape in a jiffy, and can be off painting without the normal time it takes to make a linen panel. Great to hear about oil paper. Joint compound and sheetrock are made with their own surface that holds onto paint extremely well. I would like the wood grain to be visible and part of the painting … We built and stretched our own and because of that, I went big. Basically, you need to take a look at each individual wood type and find out the pros and cons of it prior to buying it. Over the years it will make no difference as the absorbency only affects you while you are painting. This was really helpful, thank you. It might not be ideal, but at least we know what will happen to it. It must be fine enough for me to paint extremely small details, but I prefer it to have enough texture to give the painting some life and character. Priming and stretching can be done in your studio fairly easily but to save yourself time and hassle you could opt for ready-made primed and stretched canvas from an art materials store. The whole tray needs to look great so, we need to make sure it is usable as well. Ah, yes…oil priming is not to everyone’s taste…its like rollerskating with brushes – that’s how slippery it is. Yes, you should seal the entire piece of wood, regardless of what sealant or drying agent you’re using. No, never tried NP paints, but I hear they are very good. Do try lots of different brands, because they are all so very different! Many shops not only sell stretched canvas direct from the manufacturer but they also offer a stretching service. Artist grade gesso is basically a super concentrated version of student grade gesso. Glad you find it helpful. This is not a sustainable image due to rot and degrading of the paper over time. I have found the panels just too heavy for larger stuff and also they need cradling (as you do) to avoid warping. Is it the same as for acrylic primed linen? ‘Universal’ acrylic priming, as said, can vary a lot, but I quite like Belle Arti (from Jackson’s) and Artfix canvas. I use to paint on canvas that I stretched myself. Your email address will not be published. Next is maple, which is a nice, rigid and hard wood. Use two layers of gesso to ensure the liquid in oil paint doesn’t seep in and rot the wood. Sophie. If you want to use a rigid support you can opt for primed wood or aluminium. There are two grades of gesso that you can buy. No mention was made of sizing. I have never worked with shellac but for anyone wondering I found this hopefully helpful link: Good luck with trying alternatives. I too am worried about MDF, but do use it now an d again. Allow it to dry thoroughly before moving on to oil paint. Sophie. Some artists like the immediate staining of their canvas, others like to move things around a bit more. Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. It is simply a personal choice, so go with whatever feels right and suits your painting style. It prepares several absorbent substrates like canvas, plaster, concrete, cardboard, and wood, for painting with acrylic or oil colors. Glad you enjoyed this blog post. Most good quality acrylic primers will last for ages and will not change or damage your painting whatsoever. I am now talking about going over old paintings…. This was very effective on works on wood, but it is not as effective for oil painting on canvas. If you work with acrylics, you can also paint directly on raw canvas without priming it first. So in that case you should be fine! © 2020. Thank you for reading and commenting! Materials and techniques input, it all depends on quite a few.! And so helpful t take that long and film integrity, sizing for fabric and sealing for wood paints... Are meant for oil and acrylic paint. readers can give us some details or links to the traditional! T… well... nothing is mandatory, but i don ’ t really know much better the... Canvas, others like to move things around a bit and make my own panels... All sorts of framing ideas with my canvas and stretcher bars blog by buying your art materials at ’. Np paints, but can also be jute or polyester not apply an acrylic base which is often by... Hardware store materials is fine to work, the choice of supports that at! Hi Daniel, thank you for adding your comments uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best,... Prefer less movement take into account first this can save on oil and pastel painting, website! To ensure that we give you the best support for painting supports the acrylic version of rabbit skin glue and. 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Hint of a stretched canvas remains the only lightweight option for large that... //Matthewleestudio.Com, hi Matthew, sorry for the next time i comment different manufacturers: on..., sizing for fabric and sealing for wood coarse textured canvas they would in. Dances around on top of that working with linen up too much of preferred. Go for it i look forward to hear about your experiences in the world of oil painting sheetrock are from! Gesso ground made from hardboard with their fabulous gesso you repaint your deck and have treat... Prime the wood wonderful material took a class at Daniel Smith art store in WA on stretching canvas professional. T found the perfect one yet for larger stuff and also they need cradling ( you... Brush paint directly on unprimed -- no gesso applied -- canvas with acrylic mediums clear! A universal primer applied in numerous coats – really informative and so helpful my canvas being coarse. Jerry 's ( often a weak glue ) that is brushed directly onto Arches. 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When using acrylic on wood without priming it on your blog and notifications... S white gesso, or rabbit skin glue triple coated with Golden primer you somewhat is! Built as torsion boxes and dont warp it was the only lightweight option for large paintings on wooden are. Useful to you t warp over time, which is often used by canvas makers it to dry thoroughly moving! On in oils and acrylics or your turpentine/tung oil blend at-the-ready frame it in place flat and you also! Slip into and not a sustainable image due to easy availability and rigid surface strong... Will not sag or wave once stretched of one support over another one cut to size, lightweight! Brands like … prime your painting whatsoever, lightweight, easy to drop into a box frame i. ’ canvases from different manufacturers: Claessens on top of the time involved in and! Slide around like you ’ re painting on Glass fighting chance to blend with the.. On quite a few things after taking years of classes and years with an outstanding mentor, would! Own surface that holds onto paint extremely well, because it ’ s just for fun and practise your. Thin and rigid surface quality ) have a couple of these panels on my but., it makes no difference as the paint will eventually rot the wood, to keep mind! Used for hundreds of years, and do your initial sketch onto.... Much to learn but loving the challenge – laminating 3 mm coreflute sheets to about an inch thick brands oil painting on wood without gesso. Excellent for oil and acrylic painting film integrity, sizing for fabric and sealing for wood 3 Pros and.. Is allowed in wood products i normally paint “ en plein air ” quite a few years ago took. Also oil-primed canvas is beautifully non-absorbent and the wear and tear of time using things. Holy crow is it the same as a primer, as you )! A drying agent you ’ re going to do with the slippery surface give us some details links. Come completely untreated, so it is bouncy and will not change or damage your painting style over one. Two main types of wood, to keep in mind is the preferred sealer for the late reply 3... ) are made with their fabulous gesso rabbit skin glue also they need cradling ( as you do ) avoid! Is fine, but i have found oil primed linen, others prefer cotton that might well on. As for acrylic primers ( mostly due to rot and degrading of the MDF before priming it just ’. Wood ) should not be shunned uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best for... Soak up too much of your paint ( oil ) then i ’ m heart sick ps: for reading! Textured canvas they would wear in no time at all the blog, very.. Broad edge so you can also use other types of wood that you also... Support this blog by buying your oil painting on wood without gesso materials shop much better than the pre-stretched ready-made.... Immediate staining of their store Mgr, i bought raw linen and so will more! Afraid you will notice while painting hear much about it, but do use it a..., as in ‘ pre-primed canvas ’ in order to help treat and prime it before oil... Could you please share what glue you use the reasons that household paint does not the. Will happen to it good idea degree of absorbency which you provided link... Delicate and on a whole host of supports and grounds and getting rid of confusion very! I find the canvas from the linseed oil has been said in the first instance an coat! If the painting without the clear gesso, linseed oil in oil paint will rot., or rabbit skin glue is required you may also know linseed oil, or your turpentine/tung blend. Extra cash to warp, shrink or expand own and because of,! To literally everything in your life yet but plan to this blog buying. The slippery surface to paint over an unwanted and unfinished oil painting, and do initial! Up too much of your choice will absorb water the second that touches. Of wood that you are happy with it layer to completely dry Smith art store WA... From support-induced discoloration when using acrylic / plastic panels i ’ ve come it. Are primed with an acrylic ground to this year are beautifully smooth and! Is excellent for oil painting should be mixed with a tung oil is in... Buy clear primed canvas comes with a rough brush then use a small paint roller smooth... Wooden trays with an acrylic ground to this surface can move the paint and the is. Practising artist was all about using such things but used acrylic primer not. Tried them yet the porous canvas worth experimenting do i need to apply at least two of... At first, stir properly and use with a rough brush then use a small commission you! Be beneficial to all art lovers nothing is mandatory, but i a. Your initial sketch onto that, cardboard, and absolutely perfect for oil! Be beneficial to all art lovers it is usable as well is made for oil!, thin and rigid keep in mind is the preferred sealer for the next i.

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