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RomanB
02-22-2019, 10:23 AM
I want to share an interesting recipe of glue-oil emulsion ground for canvas. It was developed by Valentina Volkova in the Laboratory of Painting Technique and Technology, St. Petersburg. After trying four hundreds of less successful formulations the following one was found:

2 layers of glue size, ingredients: 1 part of dry fish glue, 17 parts of warm water, 0.01 part of preservative.

3 layers of emulsion coating, ingredients: 1 part of dry fish glue, 17 parts of warm water, 0.01 part of preservative, 1.2-1.5 parts of bodied sunflower oil of drying variety, 2-3 parts of Zinc White, 2-3 parts of Chalk, 1 egg yolk for each 1m^2 to be covered.

Ideally, first layer of emulsion coating should contain less oil than glue, next one equal quantity of both and the last one should contain more oil than glue.

Emulsion is prepared with an ordinary mixer. Glue should be prepared as usual, then egg yolk is added, then oil, then pigment and filler mixture.

I think that using ready-made fish glue is fine also, it should be diluted to 6% concentration. Bodied drying sunflower oil could be hard to find, so ordinary bodied linseed oil will be fine too, I guess. Since Zinc White is problematic, perhaps other white pigment like Titanium White or Lead White could be used instead.

Gigalot
02-22-2019, 12:56 PM
I guess. Since Zinc White is problematic, perhaps other white pigment like Titanium White or Lead White could be used instead.
Only Zinc can boost drying properties of sunflower oil to hard drying result. It can be replaced with nothing. If you like titanium, then use Alkyd resin instead of oil and completely reformulate original formula for new components. Also, we can try to replace flexible fish glue with harder Gelatin. But bear in mind, they did 400 unsuccessful attempts!
Personally, I did about 20 attempts until I found proper acrylic gesso formulation, that is flexible, medium absorbent and hold Zinc White well.

RomanB
02-22-2019, 02:03 PM
Only Zinc can boost drying properties of sunflower oil to hard drying result. It can be replaced with nothing.

I doubt that they used just raw sunflower oil. There are ways to boost unsaturation of its fatty acids like described in this patent (https://patents.google.com/patent/US2388122A/) to make it drying. In the original description it is called "уплотнённое подсолнечное масло" without further clarifications.

Richard P
02-22-2019, 03:15 PM
All these attempts to find a few that worked, wouldn't it be easier to look at an acrylic based ground then?

RomanB
02-22-2019, 03:35 PM
All these attempts to find a few that worked, wouldn't it be easier to look at an acrylic based ground then?

Emulsion grounds were incredibly popular in some painting schools. Their proponents believed that such systems combine best properties of purely glue-based grounds like casein and of oil grounds. However, it is notably hard to get a good emulsion ground. That's why they experimented trying to make good recipes which included only basic ingredients easily obtainable by any painter.

Dcam
02-22-2019, 06:58 PM
I'm sorry Roman....but to what end?
All this work? What is the advantage, with all due respect.

RomanB
02-23-2019, 02:41 AM
I'm sorry Roman....but to what end?
All this work? What is the advantage, with all due respect.

Emulsion grounds are different from other types of grounds in their properties and you can make it in your studio. Some painters use oil grounds (comparatively to this one they take longer time to dry and are less absorbent), some prefer purely glue-based grounds (good for rigid surfaces but could be too brittle and too absorbent on canvas). While acrylic dispersions are great, they are not the only possible option and you cannot make one at your studio, it could be only bought. Emulsion grounds canít be sold commercially in premixed form because they must be applied fresh and canvases grounded that way should be used not too long afterwards.

Dcam
02-23-2019, 07:39 AM
Thanks for your reply. I do find that interesting.

Richard P
02-23-2019, 09:45 AM
Apart from being something you are able to make yourself I'm still not sure what are the advantages?

DebWDC
02-23-2019, 10:43 AM
Hi RomanB -
Could you please post some links to this research so we can explore further? I looked via Google, but nothing came up. It is possible that using inflexible chalk with the other emulsion ingredients would make it useful for applying to flexible canvas (just as zinc white seems to be ok when used in watercolor, acrylic, and alkyd). However, I at least, would like more information. I am especially interested in how the scientists tested its stability over time, and how much time. Thanks. Deb

RomanB
02-23-2019, 11:48 AM
Hi RomanB -
Could you please post some links to this research so we can explore further? I looked via Google, but nothing came up. It is possible that using inflexible chalk with the other emulsion ingredients would make it useful for applying to flexible canvas (just as zinc white seems to be ok when used in watercolor, acrylic, and alkyd). However, I at least, would like more information. I am especially interested in how the scientists tested its stability over time, and how much time. Thanks. Deb

The person who knows about particular details of experiments is Vladimir Makukhin, now he works at another laboratory of the same institute (http://www.artsacademy.ru/about_the_university/structure/241/), his contacts could be found if you'll write an email to their administration at [email protected]

Some photos and details could be found in this file (http://www.biologo.ru/download/lekcii-mihaila-devyatova-po-tehnologii-jivopisi.pdf) - type in digits from captcha and press "Скачать 95.36 Mb." Those are transcripts of old lectures by M. M. Devyatov, he worked in the laboratory. The book was edited by Nadezhda Belen'kaya, if you have a VK account, she could be contacted here (https://vk.com/id14964885). Maybe she knows about details also. The book itself presents a Soviet view on oil painting technique, if you are curious, it is worth reading.

RomanB
02-23-2019, 11:53 AM
Apart from being something you are able to make yourself I'm still not sure what are the advantages?

Advantages over what? Over an average acrylic ground? Better adhesion of paint layers, different canvas stiffness - it isn't so slacky and rubber-like as typical acrylic grounds, different absorbency.

On the other side, emulsion grounds are more yellow, they require some experience to make them properly, they couldn't be sold as ready-made products, canvases primed that way couldn't wait for too long before being used.

Dcam
02-23-2019, 11:55 AM
How is drying time compared to, say....Gamblin Oil Ground?

RomanB
02-23-2019, 12:40 PM
How is drying time compared to, say....Gamblin Oil Ground?

It depends on your climate, emulsion grounds are ready for painting when they are dry to touch. Since they have drying oil in their composition, it could take 10 days or so. However, full curing will happen after a few months.

Gigalot
02-23-2019, 03:21 PM
I doubt that they used just raw sunflower oil. There are ways to boost unsaturation of its fatty acids like described in this patent (https://patents.google.com/patent/US2388122A/) to make it drying. In the original description it is called "уплотнённое подсолнечное масло" without further clarifications.
Treated oil is yellowish. As I can see, today Russians use regular refined oils. Some Zinc and linseed oil addition can boost drying of sunflower oils and still pure refined inseed oil is the best low yellowish binder. I tested their refined linseed oil and it was more than perfect for me! :thumbsup: I think, that Russians found proper refining process, their oil is exceptionaly good now.

Dcam
02-23-2019, 04:59 PM
And.....I'm seeing more and more fabulous Russian painters online.
отлично

Gigalot
02-24-2019, 02:37 AM
The person who knows about particular details of experiments is Vladimir Makukhin, now he works at another laboratory of the same institute (http://www.artsacademy.ru/about_the_university/structure/241/), his contacts could be found if you'll write an email to their administration at [email protected]

Some photos and details could be found in this file (http://www.biologo.ru/download/lekcii-mihaila-devyatova-po-tehnologii-jivopisi.pdf) - type in digits from captcha and press "Скачать 95.36 Mb." Those are transcripts of old lectures by M. M. Devyatov, he worked in the laboratory. The book was edited by Nadezhda Belen'kaya, if you have a VK account, she could be contacted here (https://vk.com/id14964885). Maybe she knows about details also. The book itself presents a Soviet view on oil painting technique, if you are curious, it is worth reading.
Thank you for sharing that. Very interesting! :thumbsup: