View Full Version : Oil Painting On Paper

03-05-2019, 10:15 AM
I have a large number of very heavy sheets of acid-free watercolour paper. The NOT surface has very noticeable dimpling from the manufacturing process which make it unsuitable for any decent watercolour work.

I have read that it could be made suitable for oil painting if it is sealed with 'wax free shellac'. I don't have any of that but I do have a large can of water-based Stain Bloc paint. I was wondering if a couple of coats of that might be a suitable alternative?

Harold Roth
03-05-2019, 10:30 AM
You could just put acrylic gesso on it. But how bad are the dimples? Even gesso might not cover them up. What about just stretching the sheets and see if the dimples disappear that way? Or ironing them? Watercolorists do iron their papers when they are warped or won't lie flat. Put it between a couple of thin towels with no pattern first, although honestly I have just ironed the back straight up on the ironing board.

I have made shellac from wax-free blond pieces and 95% ethanol and tried using it on paper and it was a huge PIA to get it to be even. Going first one way and then the other, as advised, left a kind of plaid impression. Also, I can't imagine painting on it with oil paints, as it is shiny. To me that says really slick. But I wasn't using it for that--I was trying it as a sealant on water-soluble paint.

The shellac sold ready-made in stores is often expired and won't work properly. You can make it pretty easily from shellac scales from Kremer and some Everclear.

03-05-2019, 12:27 PM
A gesso or primer will effectively seal the surface with a couple coats. You could also just seal the surface with many different kinds of size (dilute glue), even just acrylic medium will work. The surface texture of paper is good at creating a hold for the oil paint to adhere to, even if the sizing or priming is thick.

03-06-2019, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the replies. I never considered 'ironing' the paper - interesting. I will give it a couple of coats of the stainbloc and do a test to see if any oil penetrates the barrier.

03-06-2019, 12:22 PM
Matte Acrylic Medium or clear acrylic gesso work really well for sealing paper for use with oils or acrylics when you don't want the paint soaking into the paper.

I prefer to mount paper on some sealed hardboard or ACMP panel (better than hardboard) BEFORE I paint on it or before sealing it with acrylic medium. Mounting after painting on it has given me problems before. .