I personally do not like absorbent surfaces while you might love that. Gesso is the same as a primer, as in ‘pre-primed canvas’. You should also seal under paintings in umbers as they are oil thirsty. The whole tray needs to look great so, we need to make sure it is usable as well. Hi Sophie Great article. Throwing straight turpentine into your oil paint could cause it to separate, so a 50/50 mix will do the trick. While oil paint will have a detrimental effect on raw canvas, acrylic paint, which is plastic-based, will not cause cotton and linen fibers to rot. I have gone through many articles, but your way of changing the myth of oil-painting is very impressive. 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. Sophie. Good luck! 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. Linen, on the other hand, is a bit stiffer and less elastic. 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. Aluminium stretchers are available too which has the advantage that it will not react to the environment. 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 do like cottons’ elasticity as stretched cotton rarely sags or waves, a problem that happens with stretched linen much more often. Perhaps one of my readers can give us some details or links to the topic of sizing and priming. 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. Way back when they made canvases out of rough cotton, it was the only way to get paint to blend with the material. Let us know how you like it! I'm hoping you can help with a small problem I have. and again thanks for a great blog. I like to use a lot of very small sable brushes. 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! Any ideas are welcome – Love your blogs. Gesso is a primer and not a sealer. Of course you don’t always need professional materials. 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’ll stick to the more traditional supports…. No matter what, there’s a way to apply art to literally everything in your life. Hope you find the perfect solution for you. It can be painted on a whole host of supports and the choice can be baffling. There is much more cotton canvas on the market than linen, and cheaper student grade canvas is usually cotton. It is also a nice way to practice a new technique or work out ideas without investing extra cash. Rigid surfaces like alumium or wood therefore are much preferred if longevity is important to you. If I understand correctly, you need to prime Dibond panels or any other ACM panels. Hi Pam, I would use an archival PVA glue. I’ve been buying birch plywood from a timber place, sealing both sides with shellac, and then sanding and priming it. 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. First is birch wood, which is often used by canvas makers. Should I be worried? I’m wondering about framing though?? Much has been said in the past about the difference between linen and cotton canvas. Which one you choose depends on quite a few things. Hi Elizabeth, sounds like you’re doing really well. Afte… __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 must admit I missed this when I worked on aluminium where every brushstroke from the priming to the final stroke remains visible on the super smooth surface. A fine canvas has minimal texture and can be almost smooth, while a rough canvas has a very pronounced weave. I don’t think you could ever sell paintings with such materials in there. Hi Daniel, thank you for your kind comment! So the longevity will be useless. I also prefer a non-absorbent canvas (or the lowest absorbency I can find). Can you use primer instead of gesso? This takes some getting used to for some but I personally love it. Hi Simon, thanks for your comment! Hi Samantha. I now think a lot of the trouble was my canvas being too coarse. 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. Brush paint directly on unprimed -- no gesso applied -- canvas with acrylic artist's colors. They are flat and you can easily secure hooks on the back ready to hang. It might not be ideal, but at least we know what will happen to it. Our art school teacher who was also a practising artist was all about using such things but used acrylic primer in the first instance.. If you make your own canvases or use other surfaces for painting, starting with a layer — or more than one — of gesso is a great way to ensure the paint won’t soak into the surface. Artist grade gesso is basically a super concentrated version of student grade gesso. For oil paper, my favorite is Canva-paper, made by Canson. Thank you in advance for any advice. Depending on the size of your wood surface (such as if you’re painting on an interior wooden wall), you might be better off buying a commercial grade gesso in a high volume for budgeting purposes. Hi Jo, thanks for your comment. Two ‘extra fine linen’ canvases from different manufacturers: Claessens on top and Belle Arti below. After reading this post, I’m tempted to try Jackson’s aluminium panels, for which you provided a link. The process of usage is also clear and easy. Apart from that, there are plenty of natural fibers that will absorb water the second that it touches it. Use two layers of gesso to ensure the liquid in oil paint doesn’t seep in and rot the wood. I quite like experimenting and reading up about various materials and techniques. And that might well depend on how you paint. I will be trying Arches oil paper soon, but I wonder how they prime their paper at Arches for oil painting. Even when it’s cut, prepared, and partially treated, raw pieces of wood still have a decent amount of moisture locked inside of them. Birch is fairly pouros, which is why we don’t want to immediately add the oil paint to it. If you prefer the texture of canvas, you can adhere a cotton or linen canvas to a support. This article by Jackson’s might help too. You may also know linseed oil by something else: flaxseed oil. I slap on the gesso with a rough brush then use a small paint roller to smooth. Even though they might be made for canvases, you can apply them to wood. Thanks Sophie, a lot of usefull information on your blog. Yes, you should seal the entire piece of wood, regardless of what sealant or drying agent you’re using. Not sure about a float frame for aluminium. Thanks for your input, it is really interesting. Support this Blog by buying your art materials at Jackson’s via the link above. MDF is just so incredibly practical. It’s also better for you to not be inhaling the turpentine or tung oil fumes. To apply canvas to a wooden panel always use an archival PVA glue or gel, smear it out with a spatula or brush so that every inch is covered, and place your canvas on it, smoothing out any remaining air bubbles. No mention was made of sizing. Reader Question: I'm interested in using acrylic on wood without priming with white gesso. Please edit the query for content to display. I normally paint “en plein air” quite a bit and make my own painting panels. Once dry and done, it will stay at it is for years to come (other circumstances being equal of course). Have fun experimenting! There are two grades of gesso that you can buy. Most of my paintings are on stretched linen. I don't have an art store near me for 4 hours, what can I use to prime other than gesso, purely because I don't have any. As the name suggests, oil primers are meant for oil painting only. Preparing to paint on wood . They are very absorbent, but have a decent thickness and are beautifully smooth. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. You have to prime the wood prior to painting on it. 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. And generally it is fine to work on primed MDF. 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. This can save on the cost of a new canvas and the time involved in stretching and preparing it. You can prime a canvas with acrylic mediums, clear gesso, or rabbit skin glue. No, never tried NP paints, but I hear they are very good. Thank you. Rot occurs when moisture is trapped and turns into mold, mildew, or when mold and mildew dry out and turn into dry rot. Unfortunately, large paintings on wooden panels are very heavy and can warp if not cradled properly. Do let me know how you get on with it. Hope this helps! Hi Kaustav, thanks for commenting! Others, like me, might work very detailed and with small 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. Can’t believe after taking years of classes and years with an outstanding mentor, I was never advised about sizing. So I have now settled on an acrylic primed extra fine French linen which I enjoy working on very much. I didn’t find a notification. 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. You cannot apply an acrylic ground to this surface. Some might work with big brushes and heavy paint applications. Liquitex Professional White Gesso. dunno. Also oil-primed canvas is beautifully non-absorbent and the paint will slide around like you’re painting on glass. 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. What do you use? Acrylic primers will always have some absorbency and I am afraid you will have to try and see which ones you like the best. Thanks for the article Sophie. They are wood panels so you can sand them more if you wish but I find the oils grip the wood … Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. I have no experience using acrylic or plastic panels I’m afraid. I have a couple of these panels on my shelf but must admit I haven’t tried them yet! 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. Professional linen can be hugely expensive. Happy Painting! I have a heat press such as was used to mount photos years back, and the BEVA film adheres the linen to the plywood with heat. The Painting Advice. Step 1. Linseed oil has been used for hundreds of years, and is the main alternative to using turpentine. She paints portraits and still life and specialises in painting drapery and lace. I have acrylic paint… Should be fine. Do you have any experience using acrylic / plastic panels for painting supports? Many artists choose to paint over an unwanted and unfinished oil painting. Most primed canvas comes with a universal primer applied in numerous coats. Joint compound and sheetrock are made with their own surface that holds onto paint extremely well. I must mention that oil primers are not easily available in India and are very expensive online. What would you recommend based on your experience ? Sophie Ploeg uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. It has a linen texture and is nice for studies. Hi, thanks for stopping by! Hi Sophie, I love your blog and appreciate the information so much. I have also tried cross – laminating 3 mm coreflute sheets to about an inch thick. On oil priming I love the fact you can move the paint around and it keeps it oily glow. 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. But they still require finishing to create a flat surface to paint on. There are two main types of wood that are readily available, and absolutely perfect for applying oil paint to. It has a coating on it so it not the same as the panels from Jackson’s. Dry it out and create a seal, and this isn’t going to happen. Many artists have found a particular sandwiched panel of aluminium, which is generally used for road signs, to be particularly good for painting on. 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. Something to keep in mind is the chemical formaldehyde which is present in the resin that keeps the wood fibre together. Firstly I add 3 coats of gesso. Cotton is more widely produced so it is cheaper, but by no means is it of less quality for a canvas. Usually it is a little absorbent, which means it will soak up a little bit of the paint, making the paint adhere very well to the support but limiting its ‘spreadability’ (is that even a word?). Thanks again for stopping by! I just haven’t found the perfect one yet for larger paintings! Great blog with lots of information – has inspired me to finally try linen. It prepares several absorbent substrates like canvas, plaster, concrete, cardboard, and wood, for painting with acrylic or oil colors. Hi Carol, that’s great, go for it. I must say excellent information provided which will be beneficial to all art lovers. ‘Universal’ acrylic priming, as said, can vary a lot, but I quite like Belle Arti (from Jackson’s) and Artfix canvas. I am glad my post made you think about trying out linen. Thank you for sharing. I paint many layers very thinly. Hi Donna, thank you for adding your comments. They used a gesso ground made from chalk and glue. It is on my list!! No results have been returned for your Query. The word canvas usually refers to primed fabric, stretched onto stretcher bars. It has a hint of a texture but is pretty smooth. First is birch wood, which is often used by canvas makers. I must admit I have never tried it. If you want to use a rigid support you can opt for primed wood or aluminium. Turpentine dries wood out, but it also seals it. I am very new to oil painting and was really struggling with the paint consistency and thickness. I was delighted but after learning about sizing, I’m heart sick. For studies and other stuff that won’t end up on a gallery wall there is as much (perhaps even more) choice in supports. __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__. So glad you found it useful. Gesso was originally used to treat canvases so that the paint would stick to it. However, there are a few considerations that you should take into account first. Most good quality acrylic primers will last for ages and will not change or damage your painting whatsoever. 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. GAC 100 is also useful for diluting and extending colors, increasing flexibility and film integrity, sizing for fabric and sealing for wood. My only concern is regarding acrylic primers. It won’t cost you a penny extra. Apply the second coat and repeat the process until smooth and sealed properly. link) ready to paint on. It saves me so much time. Great stuff. It’s also cheaper and comes in more abundance. I use a hatching technique with a small brush and the wet paint blends and mixes a little on the canvas. Dibond is a sandwiched product, with layers of aluminium and other materials. Hope that helps! Sizing or sealing is recommended to protect Ampersand’s uncoated panels from support-induced discoloration when using acrylic gesso. 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. Experimenting with budget materials is fine, but I don’t think you can ask anyone to pay money for that. I prefer a very fine, almost smooth-but-not-quite, linen texture. Do try lots of different brands, because they are all so very different! © 2020. But there is a vast amount of choice in the student range as well as the professional range so it doesn’t have to be costly if you don’t want it to be. Oil paints require a primer to protect the canvas from the linseed oil found in oil paints. I have an issue with canvas boards tho. 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. They’re lovely. Must be great for quick sketches etc. A lot of great information…thanks for sharing. I am talking 2m x 3m canvas. 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. For smaller pieces I use Ampersand Gessobord or linen on MDF/hardboard. But there is some wonderful, professional quality cotton out there as well. I have found that different brands use different materials and the absorbency varies enormously! Do let me know if you can add anything to the list, if you have experience with a particular support or just want to add some pleasant comment. I have improved and changed my style considerably and just don’t want to waste these canvases. 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. Oil-based household paint would be a worse solution as a primer as that means oil … It’s a bit pricey to use the BEVA though. ​I like the wooden panels made by Ampersand a lot. 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. 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. Allow it to dry thoroughly before moving on to oil paint. New layers of paint would lift the underlayers. Other artists have found the same results. I use to paint on canvas that I stretched myself. Now I paint on Ampersand gesso panels. Hi Lesley, thanks for stopping by! You’re welcome! 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. 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. 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. 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. So use canvas, board, oil paper or whatever is already suitable for oil painting, and do your initial sketch onto that. The absorbency of ready-made canvas can vary enormously so it is really worth experimenting. Ah, yes…oil priming is not to everyone’s taste…its like rollerskating with brushes – that’s how slippery it is. Some canvas is available with an oil primer applied, but you can buy oil primers in tins as well, which you can apply over an acrylic universal primer (but not the other way round!) Cotton has a regular, more bobbly weave. I am really pleased my blog post has helped you somewhat. To avoid oil paint cracking over time it would help if the painting is painted on a rigid surface. I must admit I am a tad concerned about the formaldehyde in it but on the other hand so many art materials manufacturers and artists use it, so perhaps… ugh. This is the cheapest and easiest and quickest solution for hard panels I have found. Without gesso, the paint would soak into the weave of the canvas. 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. Unprimed canvas must be primed before being painted on as the oil in oil paint will eventually rot the canvas fibres away. Plywood or hardboard are both excellent, though they might require an additional coat of your preferred dying agent. This was really helpful, thank you. The latest kid on the block in the world of oil painting supports is aluminium (aff. Alternatively you can buy clear primed canvas – which will show the pale brown canvas through it-  black primed canvas or unprimed canvas. Regards, Simon. However you prefer to work, the choice of supports is endless. Good stretching methods are vital when working with linen. . It also provides a good surface texture for receiving the paint. 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. I am working on stretched linen and cotton most of the time, but you have encouraged me to try Dibond. 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