I would like the wood grain to be visible and part of the painting … It is on my list!! Unfortunately, large paintings on wooden panels are very heavy and can warp if not cradled properly. But there is some wonderful, professional quality cotton out there as well. If your canvas boards soak up too much of your paint (oil) then I’d try different brands of canvas. Ampersand claims the boards are completely archival (meaning they will stand the test of time) but the high price might put many artists off. I loved it, but it is not for everyone. Thank You for posting. They are easily cut to size, fairly lightweight, thin and rigid. When dry, trim the sides of the canvas off with a knife. Sophie, Thank you for this – so much helpful information. But better late than never I hope! Great to hear about oil paper. Ah, yes…oil priming is not to everyone’s taste…its like rollerskating with brushes – that’s how slippery it is. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. I would not risk that as the aluminium is quite heavy. They are wood panels so you can sand them more if you wish but I find the oils grip the wood … For example: "You need to gesso your canvas before you paint." Use two layers of gesso to ensure the liquid in oil paint doesn’t seep in and rot the wood. Your explanations very clear. Different brands produce differently canvases, not only in quality and weight but also in texture and priming. Shop from top brands like … link) does gesso boards, made from hardboard with their own special coating. Good stretching methods are vital when working with linen. Hi Sophie, I love your blog and appreciate the information so much. It can be painted on a whole host of supports and the choice can be baffling. . After reading this post, I’m tempted to try Jackson’s aluminium panels, for which you provided a link. Required fields are marked *. Hi Sophie Great article. 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. In fact, it is extremely important t… This is because the glue and chalk mixture can be somewhat brittle. So the longevity will be useless. How do they perform? Without gesso, the paint would soak into the weave of the canvas. Reader Question: I'm interested in using acrylic on wood without priming with white gesso. If wood is not sized or sealed properly before applying the oil painting ground, it can slowly disintegrate over time depending on the type of ground you are using. I have also tried cross – laminating 3 mm coreflute sheets to about an inch thick. It is also much easier to move paint around on the canvas on such a smooth surface, which is something that is much harder on an acrylic surface where the canvas is immediately stained by the paint once it is applied. Have fun experimenting! Regards Kaustav. It has a varying degree of absorbency which you will notice while painting. This primer is an acrylic base which is suitable for painting on in oils and acrylics. Canvas is perceived by many people to be the best support for painting, but hardboard (or wood) should not be shunned. Hi Donna, thank you for adding your comments. Some artists like the immediate staining of their canvas, others like to move things around a bit more. So stretched canvas remains the only lightweight option for large paintings that has shown us how it will behave in the future. Some love the bounce of a stretched canvas, others prefer less movement. They will come completely untreated, so once again, have plenty of gesso, linseed oil, or your turpentine/tung oil blend at-the-ready. Use two layers of gesso to ensure the liquid in oil paint doesn’t seep in and rot the wood. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. My only concern is regarding acrylic primers. Gesso is a drying agent, so it doesn’t take that long. Unprimed canvas must be primed before being painted on as the oil in oil paint will eventually rot the canvas fibres away. As the name suggests, oil primers are meant for oil painting only. Let us know how you like it! You may also know linseed oil by something else: flaxseed oil. A coarse or heavy canvas is usually heavier in weight than a fine canvas. Have you tried the paints from Natural Pigments? I’ll stick to the more traditional supports…. Artist grade gesso is basically a super concentrated version of student grade gesso. Get it as even as possible. I hope this overview of supports that are generally available here in the UK can be useful to you. Your email address will not be published. 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! If you use acrylic gesso, it will suck the oil from overlayers of paint and create flat spots _ the dreaded suede effect. Less volume, more expensive, but you require less to dry out a canvas or wood. 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. There are two main types of wood that are readily available, and absolutely perfect for applying oil paint to. I am really pleased my blog post has helped you somewhat. In fact, it is extremely important to properly seal any and all un-primed wood substrates to prevent support-induced discoloration that can cause your paint film to yellow over time. Where do you start? For smaller pieces I use Ampersand Gessobord or linen on MDF/hardboard. Could you please share what glue you use (if you do this!). Thank you. Linen canvas has an irregular, natural weave. Thanks for the insight. It is simply a personal choice, so go with whatever feels right and suits your painting style. You need a mixture to treat the wood with first. The word canvas usually refers to primed fabric, stretched onto stretcher bars. Plywood needs to be dried and sealed more than any other type of wood. Liquitex Professional White Gesso. Some woods can leach chemicals from the treatment process into the paint and yellow it, others can be extremely resistant to gesso (so you might need acrylic gesso instead). Your email address will not be published. I would imagine that a decent plastic support would be pretty archival and hardwearing but it is not a very common support, hence the lack of info online. I even experienced this on boards primed and then triple coated with golden gesso. I didn’t find a notification. It might not be ideal, but at least we know what will happen to it. No, never tried NP paints, but I hear they are very good. Happy Painting! This extra-thick Gesso is excellent for oil and acrylic painting. This is obviously a big problem if you’re planning to paint on wood, but there’s a way to do it properly. New layers of paint would lift the underlayers. The quality of the wood is important as nobody wants their stretched canvas to warp, shrink or expand. 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. It requires less treating, but is slightly more catatonic to deal with. I haven’t worked on Dibond for a while but still have a sheet in the cupboard. 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 have tested painting on the surface directly, with an oil primer, and with an acrylic primer, and the acrylic primer was by far the best choice. Rigid surfaces like alumium or wood therefore are much preferred if longevity is important to you. Thanks Sophie, a lot of usefull information on your blog. ‘Universal’ acrylic priming, as said, can vary a lot, but I quite like Belle Arti (from Jackson’s) and Artfix canvas. Now I paint on Ampersand gesso panels. No mention was made of sizing. Many commercially purchased canvases for painting are pre-primed with gesso. Can I apply an oil primer directly over my pencil drawing onto the Arches paper and paint oils on top of that? Do I Need to Seal the Entire Piece of Wood? However, EU regulations specify that only a very small amount of it is allowed in wood products. Jo. As for acrylic primers: a lot of ready-made primed canvas has an acrylic primer over it. Or you add prussian blue ( oily ) to umbers to create a black then add flake white ( blockx, old holland ) to create a fast drying grisaille. I too am worried about MDF, but do use it now an d again. Initially oil painters worked mostly on wood panels. However, I prefer pencil and paper (heavy watercolor Arches) as a starting point, then lead Flake White oil paint over the granite. You might well find you like your own the best! Gesso is the preferred sealer for the porous canvas. I quite like experimenting and reading up about various materials and techniques. I have read somewhere that it tends to suck oil. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace. That’s great! They are flat and you can easily secure hooks on the back ready to hang. 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. To be able to use them as an oil painting support you need to sand the surface with a fine sandpaper, clean it and prime it. Some are unprimed, others are primed with an acrylic primer. The nearest I’ve come to it is a nylon/linen mix canvas. I was delighted but after learning about sizing, I’m heart sick. Thank you for reading and commenting! The Painting Advice. This article by Jackson’s might help too. Oil painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to paint, and allows you to apply your art to a myriad of surfaces, including wood. Can’t believe after taking years of classes and years with an outstanding mentor, I was never advised about sizing. There is much more cotton canvas on the market than linen, and cheaper student grade canvas is usually cotton. I use a hatching technique with a small brush and the wet paint blends and mixes a little on the canvas. What are the differences between types of canvas? Birch is fairly pouros, which is why we don’t want to immediately add the oil paint to it. However you prefer to work, the choice of supports is endless. It won’t cost you a penny extra. The linseed oil in oil paint will deteriorate an unprimed canvas. Whether you wait for layers to dry (if you have the patience) or not – using it will tell you whether its for you. Much has been said in the past about the difference between linen and cotton canvas. Way back when they made canvases out of rough cotton, it was the only way to get paint to blend with the material. I find the canvas stretched by good professional art materials shop much better than the pre-stretched ready-made ones. They are very smooth but do have a very slight texture to it and the absorbency is not too bad. Thank you in advance for any advice. Next is maple, which is a nice, rigid and hard wood. I am thinking of using hardboard with acrylic primers (mostly due to easy availability and rigid surface quality). So “gesso” refers to the water based grounds, that is, the traditional hide glue/calcium carbonate or the modern acrylic polymer variety, while “primer” is the name reserved for an oil based ground for oil painting. Many art shops supply wood panels, often made of plywood or hardwood. Afte… As far as wood goes, it’s used when you repaint your deck and have to treat the wood beforehand. Or just use the white paint to cover the painting without the clear gesso. Hi Pam, I would use an archival PVA glue. Prime Your Painting Surface . Is there anyway I can stop that so I have a fighting chance to blend? Gesso is painted onto the canvas to seal and prime it before the oil paint is applied. Many art shops sell canvas MDF panels (aff. There’s a few ways that this can be done, and it doesn’t take much time at all, but it absolutely must be done before any paint touches the wood. Hi Carol, that’s great, go for it. To avoid oil paint cracking over time it would help if the painting is painted on a rigid surface. What would you recommend based on your experience ? First is birch wood, which is often used by canvas makers. This was very effective on works on wood, but it is not as effective for oil painting on canvas. Over the years it will make no difference as the absorbency only affects you while you are painting. Hi Samantha. 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. Oil Gesso – This is a traditional primer and allows an oil ground and oil paint on top of it. I started to look into painting on wood because we are running a Pebeo workshop. Do let me know how you get on with it. __CONFIG_colors_palette__{"active_palette":0,"config":{"colors":{"37cf7":{"name":"Main Accent","parent":-1}},"gradients":[]},"palettes":[{"name":"Default","value":{"colors":{"37cf7":{"val":"rgb(125, 197, 85)","hsl":{"h":98,"s":0.49,"l":0.55}}},"gradients":[]},"original":{"colors":{"37cf7":{"val":"rgb(125, 197, 85)","hsl":{"h":98,"s":0.49,"l":0.55}}},"gradients":[]}}]}__CONFIG_colors_palette__, __CONFIG_group_edit__{"k5p8kjyf":{"name":"All Text(s)","singular":"-- Text %s"}}__CONFIG_group_edit__. __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"}. While usually white in color, companies have gotten creative with their gessos and are now offering black gesso, clear gesso, etc… Budget is an important factor of course. I think you can use the same glue for any primed linen, it makes no difference. Turpentine comes from a mixture of different tree gum and sap, which when mixed creates a strong-smelling resin that’s often added to wood varnish, paints, and paint thinner. 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. See also my Affiliate page. What are the alternatives to gesso? You don’t hear much about it, because it’s no longer required for commercial construction. I have stuck to shop bought materials. And good quality stretched canvas or Ampersand panels are that! If you don’t fancy mixing turpentine and tung oil, your next best option is gesso. Art for Kids: Are Acrylic Paints Safe for Your Children? Some painters like a high absorbency, others don’t. They are very strong and lighter than dibond, alucabond, etc. Turn it upside down and put some heavy books on top and let it dry. What should a beginner use? 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. Step 1. So I have now settled on an acrylic primed extra fine French linen which I enjoy working on very much. Glad you enjoyed this blog post. You need something dry that won’t warp over time, which is usually why a cotton canvas is preferred. They are not very common here in the UK though. I am afraid I am no expert in this area and it all depends what you are painting for. 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. An oil painting should be done on canvas, right? After trying oil primed linen I was frustrated with the slippery surface. Support this Blog by buying your art materials at Jackson’s via the link above. I adhere alkyd primed linen which I buy from a supplier in New York City to birch plywood with a glue called “Miracle Muck”, or BEVA 357 using a heat press. If you want to use a rigid support you can opt for primed wood or aluminium. Thanks for your input, it is really interesting. No results have been returned for your Query. A few years ago I took a class at Daniel Smith Art Store in WA on stretching canvas. I just haven’t found the perfect one yet for larger paintings! Which one you choose depends on quite a few things. Is it just a case of being ultra patient and waiting for each layer to completely dry? I am working on stretched linen and cotton most of the time, but you have encouraged me to try Dibond. if you like. I have acrylic paint… Hi Simon, thanks for your comment! Hi Sophie, Great advice. This takes some getting used to for some but I personally love it. It’s also better for you to not be inhaling the turpentine or tung oil fumes. I'm desperate!.Hoping you can help. There are two grades of gesso that you can buy. I am talking 2m x 3m canvas. The absorbency is medium and I have only recently discovered this wonderful material. But I have found oil primed stretched linen to be stiff and have a tendency to sag over time. No matter what, there’s a way to apply art to literally everything in your life. 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. Please edit the query for content to display. You can buy either in various degrees of coarseness. Sophie Ploeg uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. Linen and cotton are simply different. 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. I hope you will find this (by no means comprehensive) list useful. Oil paints require a primer to protect the canvas from the linseed oil found in oil paints. Dean has been a professional art teacher for 10 years and has a lifetime of experience painting and creating art prior to that. I do not really like cotton because of its incredibly regular and fairly coarse texture. Joint compound and sheetrock are made with their own surface that holds onto paint extremely well. Any material I use I would do a little bit of research (just a google search) to make sure there are no known problems. So in that case you should be fine! However, it’s still used in smaller projects where you’re refinishing or repurposing something. Should I be worried? Sophie is an artist, art historian, tutor, author and blogger. Next is maple, which is a nice, rigid and hard wood. If you can prepare your own support you can save yourself a lot of money. I am an architect by training and professional practice since the early 80’s and I am now getting back into drawing and painting again. First is birch wood, which is often used by canvas makers. Hi Daniel, thank you for your kind comment! You can prime a canvas with acrylic mediums, clear gesso, or rabbit skin glue. Oil primer or acrylic primer – many brands have their own characteristics and it is a matter of trial and error to find the one you like best. Professional linen can be hugely expensive. 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. It has a linen texture and is nice for studies. Doors today are built as torsion boxes and dont warp. Acrylic primers will always have some absorbency and I am afraid you will have to try and see which ones you like the best. A fine canvas has minimal texture and can be almost smooth, while a rough canvas has a very pronounced weave. I also don’t wish to use either titanium white as I have seen suggested to paint over them as this would be exorbitant. I became accustomed to working on rigid supports, so for larger studio paintings I have purchased or built cradled plywood panels and I either glue or stretch the linen over the plywood. Well... nothing is mandatory, but holy crow is it a good idea. I have explored all sorts of framing ideas with my canvas and paper pieces. You can buy either of them from multiple online sources. The stretcher bars are usually made of wood. I use to paint on canvas that I stretched myself. If you’re buying a panel of wood that’s going to be positioned somewhere and then painted, you have to seal the entire thing, even the backside. MDF is just so incredibly practical. Turpentine is commonly used to thin out acrylic paints, and works well to treat wood that’s going to be put through harsh weather. Apart from that, there are plenty of natural fibers that will absorb water the second that it touches it. Perhaps ask a framer? So, it all depends on what you are going to do with the paintings. I hope that helps! The beauty of gesso is that you can apply it to nearly any surface, and then you can paint on that surface with acrylic paint. Good luck! I tried Dibond with and without priming and found the one with acrylic primer much stronger as a painting surface than the one without or the one with oil primer. You might prefer a gesso style or universal priming! If the panels are larger over 16″, I will seal both sides of the wood, to keep it from warping. Required fields are marked. Hi Sophie This article is great! Something to keep in mind is the chemical formaldehyde which is present in the resin that keeps the wood fibre together. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. 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. I haven’t tried the dibond yet but plan to this year. Many shops not only sell stretched canvas direct from the manufacturer but they also offer a stretching service. Many artists and collectors also still prefer the traditional texture of canvas, despite its drawbacks. Hi Gil, thanks for your comment.I must admit I am not sure but I think the safest bet would be to use pencil onto a primed surface, suitable for oil painting. If I understand correctly, you need to prime Dibond panels or any other ACM panels. 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. Apply the second coat and repeat the process until smooth and sealed properly. 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. You cannot apply an acrylic ground to this surface. I'm hoping you can help with a small problem I have. I have gone through many articles, but your way of changing the myth of oil-painting is very impressive. Even then, the cotton canvas is stretched over thin bits of wood in an internal frame, and it’s done for a couple of reasons. The gesso boards by Belle Arti (aff. It is … This will allow you to cover the entire wall without going broke (after all, you still have to get the paint). Sophie. Can you use primer instead of gesso? Do you have any experience using acrylic / plastic panels for painting supports? The word gesso is a noun, but many artists also use it as a verb. 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. This can save on the cost of a new canvas and the time involved in stretching and preparing it. Should be fine. It’s a yellow liquid that’s taken from dried flax plants, and isn’t chemical-based, so it’s safe to use on your wooden surfaces. A general rule is to apply at least two coats of sealer directly onto the raw wood to protect the wood. Your email address will not be published. Brush paint directly on unprimed -- no gesso applied -- canvas with acrylic artist's colors. Thanks for the suggestions! Most of my paintings are on stretched linen. If you work with acrylics, you can also paint directly on raw canvas without priming it first. Thank you! The choice between the two is a matter of personal preference. Yes, you can do oil painting on wood, but there’s more to it than just slapping a brush against a 2×4. Hi Jo, thanks for your comment. I hope you’ll get the gallery! Research the individual wood that you’re planning on using. The fabric used for canvas is oftencotton or linen, but can also be jute or polyester. This is why you’ll need to apply multiple coats. I now think a lot of the trouble was my canvas being too coarse. Experimenting with budget materials is fine, but I don’t think you can ask anyone to pay money for that. I’ve been working using oils on small 10 x 8 ins pieces from Jacksons Art Supplies. Thanks, Kim. link) ready to paint on. Allow it to dry thoroughly before moving on to oil paint. Hi Sophie, I really appreciate the information and the blog, very informative. Conclusion. This chemical is damaging to health and art. Thanks again for stopping by! The least absorbency comes from oil primers. You can paint on many different surfaces—canvas, wood, paper—but whichever you choose, it's important to apply a type of primer called gesso to the painting surface to prevent the oil from seeping into the surface, protect the surface from the acids in the paint, and provide a surface that the paint will adhere to more easily. Our art school teacher who was also a practising artist was all about using such things but used acrylic primer in the first instance.. It is cheap, lightweight, easy to cut and smooth. This creates a thin barrier between the paint and the wood, which will prevent damage and the wear and tear of time. Hope this helps! Thanks for the article Sophie. I must admit I have never tried it. Busting the Myths of Oil Painting: Supports, How to Prepare a Copper panel for Oil Painting - SOPHIE PLOEG, https://underpaintings.com/2017-the-art-of-the-portrait-conference-day-1-2/, http://www.naturalpigments.com/art-supply-education/shellac-use-art/. Most primed canvas comes with a universal primer applied in numerous coats. Acrylic gesso, although not the real gesso used by our oil painting ancestors, is a great ground to paint on top of with any painting medium. You have to prime the wood prior to painting on it. It depends. We liked how Sarah Eddy described prepping Jackson’s Smooth Wooden Painting Panels in her review: ‘I love these, I use 3 layers of Golden Gesso and paint with oils with linseed oil. 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. Hi Elizabeth, sounds like you’re doing really well. Shop the top Oil Priming Materials - Save on oil priming materials at Jerry's. Fact you can frame it in a canvas is usually why a cotton canvas canvas ( or the lowest i! Fibres away a texture but is pretty smooth and apply it to coat both sides of the canvas the... Like cotton because of that enormously so it not the same glue for any primed linen as the aluminium quite! And which brushes you use acrylic gesso, linseed oil by something else: flaxseed.! Are meant for oil painting supports an d again is there anyway i can stop so. Can warp if not cradled properly there ’ s used when you repaint your deck and have to the. Specify that only a very smooth and sealed properly – that ’ s great go... Pre-Stretched ready-made ones paint oils on small 10 x 8 ins pieces from Jacksons art Supplies these carefully chosen.! Host of supports that are generally available here in the first instance the cupboard subscribe to this blog by your. To oil paint as soon as i put it on chemical formaldehyde which why. Use different materials and techniques i went big is found in oil paint is applied your... Really worth experimenting support you can buy either in various degrees of coarseness small brushes or panels... 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