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BoydCheeze
03-09-2019, 07:59 AM
Could you use Permalba as a grounds, if you added to it, white chalking, rabbit skin glue, and the canvas was previously primed with rabbit skin glue? I tried this thinking I was making the grounds properly, for my canvas, but now I am not so sure. Any advice, anyone. I also thought of just priming with rabbit skin glue, and then coating it with permalba (white). But I am wondering about what the results will be? Right now I'll probably coat the backs of the canvases with rabbit skin glue, and then coat those as well with the chalk mixture, mentioned above. Thanks for any pointers or advice or songs of wisdom on this topic.

DebWDC
03-09-2019, 11:32 AM
Edit: thanks, Contumacious. You always give links to the most helpful places!
Signed, St. Deb of Arizona, patron saint of cracked canvasses.

Hi Boydcheeze –

Welcome to WetCanvas! You may get more responses if you tell us:
1. Why did you think rabbit skin glue, Permalba and chalk would be ok?
2. Is your canvas stretched on stretcher bars or glued to a panel?

There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of discussions here on how to prep a canvas for oil paint. The answers depend on the goals, the equipment, and the supplies. I think Permalba white paint has titanium and zinc pigments, and is a modified alkyd-oil combination. The zinc is a poor choice for a ground ingredient; the alkyd may be a good one.

I may be one of the few WC members here who will publically confess to prepping a stretched canvas with rabbit skin glue, white oil paint, and chalk. It was a disaster. I freely admit this mistake to spare my colleagues their silent blushes  :)
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1461821

The link above has other links which you may find useful. Also, the search function is located in one of the top blue bars of the WC site. Take a look through the WC different discussions, and then come back, if you wish, to discuss some more. Good prepping for an oil painting is a confusing and not obvious process. It requires information about the physical and chemical properties of the supplies. It is easily confused by misinterpretation of how the old masters did it.

Welcome again.
Deb in Arizona

contumacious
03-09-2019, 12:00 PM
(Edit: - Seeing Deb's post after I posted mine - we were typing at the same time apparently - I will add my thumbs up to what she said, just like I did in the link containing her more detailed post. :thumbsup: )

I am assuming you are talking about Permalba White oil paint?

Any white oil paint will work as an oil ground on top of some type of sizing or gesso, including Rabbit Skin Glue (RSG) based materials. Adding some chalk to the Permalba oil paint used as a ground will give it more tooth and bit more absorbency, but still not as much as an acrylic gesso.

The RSG can be used alone as a size and to make traditional gesso but you would not normally mix white oil paint into an RSG gesso, adding instead dry white pigment such as titanium and/or white lead pigments.

You may want to search for problems associated with Rabbit Skin Glue instability, particularly on STRETCHED canvas as well as known issues with Zinc pigments before deciding to use either of those products. Some reliable information can be found on this forum:

https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra/forums/

Gigalot
03-10-2019, 03:07 AM
Could you use Permalba as a grounds, if you added to it, white chalking, rabbit skin glue, and the canvas was previously primed with rabbit skin glue? I tried this thinking I was making the grounds properly, for my canvas, but now I am not so sure. Any advice, anyone. I also thought of just priming with rabbit skin glue, and then coating it with permalba (white). But I am wondering about what the results will be? Right now I'll probably coat the backs of the canvases with rabbit skin glue, and then coat those as well with the chalk mixture, mentioned above. Thanks for any pointers or advice or songs of wisdom on this topic.
You can do SIZE with rabbit skin glue and then apply one layer of pure Permalba White on top of sized canvas as an oil ground. Many artists did that in the past and many do now. Such thing is practically tested.

Raffless
03-10-2019, 10:22 AM
No love for rabbits?

french.painter
03-10-2019, 07:11 PM
No love for rabbits?
I do love them!





... with a good sauce and a glass of white Bourgogne wine!

french.painter
03-10-2019, 07:20 PM
I may be one of the few WC members here who will publically confess to prepping a stretched canvas with rabbit skin glue, white oil paint, and chalk. It was a disaster. I freely admit this mistake to spare my colleagues their silent blushes  :)

I can assure you that rabbit skin glue is a good effective and cost saving material for canvas prep.
Here are one or two tips :
https://youtu.be/sPcI_2pL98s

Brian Firth
03-10-2019, 09:08 PM
Permabla white is ground in safflower oil, a semi-drying oil, and not recommended for grounds. You should use a white that is ground in linseed oil or alkyd for an oil ground.

Raffless
03-11-2019, 04:53 AM
I do love them!





... with a good sauce and a glass of white Bourgogne wine!

Ever read "Watership Down"? :)

DebWDC
03-11-2019, 09:47 AM
Hi French.painter – thank you for the source on rabbit skin glue application. I think I did apply it correctly; it was the chalk in the gesso which was just the wrong application as it is only for inflexible panel supports. The link which Contumacious gave contains a lot of information on this.

I think better products than RSG are available to size (seal) canvas and panels. Better because of lower reaction to humidity changes and ph neutrality. Here in the US, these other types of sizes are about the same price as RSG. They are easier to apply as they require no cooking.

Hi Gigalot – Your suggestion about using Permalba white is puzzling because this paint contains zinc pigment, drier, and safflower oil. All three ingredients are poor choices for an oil painting ground. Yes, they may work under certain conditions or manipulations, but most of the WC members are not chemists or professional painters. You may find the discussions in the link Contumacious posted above useful. I suspect Permalba does contain drier or driers, because it dries much faster than oil paint in a variety of climates. I know this from my personal experience.

Here are the ingredients from 40 years ago. I don’t remember the source but I copied and pasted into a document for my own information. If you find more current information from the Weber company, please share it with us.

‘Standard’ Permalba, 25 October 1955 (continues to 1965)
Pigment type: Pure titanium dioxide white
Pigment specification: 45 lb. Ti-Pure L.O. (low oil absorption)
Zinc oxide white: 25 lb. G.S. (Green Seal) zinc oxide #8
Filler/extender :105 lb. blanc fixe (BaSO4 )
Ultramarine: ¼ oz. Blue U.B. (ultramarine blue) #6156
Dispersant additive: 1 pt. Helioline3
Drier: 6 oz. P.G.O. dryer UNKOWN DRYER TO RESEARCHERS; MOST LIKELY A LEAD-MANGANESE DRYER WHICH PERMELBA USED PRIOR TO 1965 P.G.O. dryer
Vehicle: 39 pt. poppy oil Parenthetical note of 1965 indicating substitution with Lab. Ref. L.O. (laboratory-refined linseed oil)
Net yield 215 lb. per batch
Note: 2019 Current MSDS: safflower oil

Hi Brian Firth – Yes, I agree. Permalba seems to be a combination of safflower oil and alkyd, but the zinc and drier are enough to stop me using it as a ground.

Ps – regarding rabbits: I once ate rabbit for a whole year, as it was free and I was a starving artist. Stewed, fried, baked, sausage, soup….. Never again!

Deb (rabbit free) in Arizona

BoydCheeze
03-11-2019, 10:43 PM
(I am using stretcher-bars.) I thought the mixture would be okay because I found one similar in a book on traditional techniques for preparing canvases. But their mixture required linseed oil, and the oil in permalba is safflower. I know that some can be interchanged without altering (too much) the results, so my biggest problem has to do with the ratio of oil to chalk, and rabbit skin glue. But now, things have changed:

I made the mixture but found the chalk to crack, and that I had surely applied too much of it. So, for the sake of improving my technique, I tried again. And this time, I scraped off most of the mixture, let it half-dry, applied some more and let it dry fully.

Now it looks better, but might still be a bit too chalky, although now it doesn't crack anymore. I will probably go over it with egg emulsion (1/3 egg, 1/3 water, 1/3 oil). But I think the problem was that I used twice as much rabbit skin glue as I should have. If the chalk is not falling off the canvas, do you think this will be sufficient for making an oil painting? I was hoping the egg emulsion would encase it, but it might even be ok as it is. How can you know how it will last? Anyway, I'll have to follow the first recipe more closely next time. It didn't actually call for Permalba, that was just a concession I made because I didn't have zinc white oxide on hand (I was going to buy it in the powdered form.) Is it safe? And then mix it with the oil and rabbit skin glue, in some order of which i can't recall at this moment. I work alone, so I really don't have anyone to run these things by. Thanks for any help. Sorry if this is long winded.

I also appreciate the advice to use the search engine on this forum, to learn more about these things. Thanks again. I appreciate your help.

BoydCheeze
03-11-2019, 11:00 PM
Permalba seems to be a combination of safflower oil and alkyd, but the zinc and drier are enough to stop me using it as a ground.



I was considering purchasing natural Zinc Oxide--So I'm curious--what stops you from using it in a ground?

BoydCheeze
03-11-2019, 11:06 PM
Incidentally, I would have preferred to use another type of size, but when I tried Gesso (on panels) there was too much of a chemical smell.

BoydCheeze
03-11-2019, 11:56 PM
(All of it is on rabbit-sized canvas, on stretcher strips.) If I take linseed oil and titanium white, (which I have currently in supply) and add to it, some whiting (chalk), will that constitute grounds? And use no rabbit skin glue. Or use rabbit skin glue, but skip the oil, and add chalk and the whiting? How much of each? Is the whole mixture one third of each?



One third rabbit skin glue
One third whiting
One third titanium white


or


One third linseed oil
One third whiting
One third titanium white


:crossfingers:

Do any of these sound likely to work?


Thanks for your help.

Gigalot
03-12-2019, 01:44 AM
I see that you need good flexible acrylic gesso. It will be safe to use on canvas.

Antonin
03-12-2019, 02:19 AM
(I am using stretcher-bars.) I thought the mixture would be okay because I found one similar in a book on traditional techniques for preparing canvases. But their mixture required linseed oil, and the oil in permalba is safflower. I know that some can be interchanged without altering (too much) the results, so my biggest problem has to do with the ratio of oil to chalk, and rabbit skin glue. But now, things have changed:

I made the mixture but found the chalk to crack, and that I had surely applied too much of it. So, for the sake of improving my technique, I tried again. And this time, I scraped off most of the mixture, let it half-dry, applied some more and let it dry fully.

Now it looks better, but might still be a bit too chalky, although now it doesn't crack anymore. I will probably go over it with egg emulsion (1/3 egg, 1/3 water, 1/3 oil). But I think the problem was that I used twice as much rabbit skin glue as I should have. If the chalk is not falling off the canvas, do you think this will be sufficient for making an oil painting? I was hoping the egg emulsion would encase it, but it might even be ok as it is. How can you know how it will last? Anyway, I'll have to follow the first recipe more closely next time. It didn't actually call for Permalba, that was just a concession I made because I didn't have zinc white oxide on hand (I was going to buy it in the powdered form.) Is it safe? And then mix it with the oil and rabbit skin glue, in some order of which i can't recall at this moment. I work alone, so I really don't have anyone to run these things by. Thanks for any help. Sorry if this is long winded.

I also appreciate the advice to use the search engine on this forum, to learn more about these things. Thanks again. I appreciate your help.
Why are you using things like chalk ground and egg emulsion on canvas? They're way too brittle for canvas, those things are for panel only. They'll just scale off on canvas.

I'll probably coat the backs of the canvases with rabbit skin glue, and then coat those as well with the chalk mixture, mentioned above.
Do this and the ground will crack with a simple tap of the finger.

I was considering purchasing natural Zinc Oxide--So I'm curious--what stops you from using it in a ground?
Zinc Oxide embrittles oil films and is slow drying in oil.

One third rabbit skin glue
One third whiting ...................} too brittle for canvas
One third titanium white

One third linseed oil
One third whiting ....................} May be OK but is the whiting precipitated chalk or natural chalk? Add only enough oil to make a stiff paste.
One third titanium white

It would be better to add something with low oil absorption like Barium sulfate.
Add some OMS to make things less fatty and more absorbent.
Grind the pigments and oil until very stiff, then dilute with OMS to make primer flow like very thick house paint.

BoydCheeze
03-12-2019, 08:52 AM
Thank Gigalot. However, I think I am going to try this and see what happens. Also, I did what you said earlier, and it worked out well. At least to the naked eye. The canvas is white, bright white with the Permalba over top of Rabbit skin glue. And it dried in about 2 days. (I had done it earlier on only one canvas as an experiment.) So, what could be the problem with it. My only guess is that the oils of my actual painting (alla prima) would still get too absorbed into the fabric of the canvas. But I am going to try what you said, and what I did, and I'll let you know. (But that may take awhile, as I am still setting all of this up.) Anyway, thanks for your advice. Also, I will try the recipe I mentioned earlier, and see whether that is of use. But I think I will replace Permalba with Titanium white oil paint that I make on my own. The permalba smells too much. Still, just white oil paint on rabbit skin glue could be good, and if I do it right, I won't have to have smells or lead or bad grounds. And I won't have all of the mess of adding chalk, to oil, to glue.

DebWDC
03-12-2019, 10:31 AM
Hi Boydcheeze –

Isn’t figuring this stuff out fun? I found the MITRA conservation site Contumacious linked very useful. Long-winded postings are great because they contain enough details to be useful.

Here are my thoughts about the ground, bounded by the limits of my knowledge, experience, and biases:
- Traditional sources such as books about the methods of the old masters are difficult to evaluate. Translation mistakes, information taken out of context, the aims and prejudices of the author, such as Ralph Mayer for example, and so on. It is tempting to think of traditional sources as a proxy measure for correct procedure, but the devil is always in the details. Traditional sources don’t always agree about the details. Trust science instead.
- I have no experience with egg emulsions or glue for oil paint grounds, so will not comment, except to suggest again the MITRA site, where information is supplied by professional conservators.
- The single worst ingredient for a ground on stretched canvas: chalk or any calcium-containing substance. This is because it is always brittle, and a ground is a single unified layer, so the brittleness is over the entire surface. This is different than a paint passage containing calcium which is used for an impasto effect, and which does not cover the entire canvas. Chalk is great on a ground for an inflexible panel because it gives a mechanical tooth for the subsequent paint layers to hang on to. Take a look at my previous postings about this for more information/ranting.
- The second worst ingredient for a ground is zinc, because it seems to cause brittleness and may later cause delamination of the paint and discoloration of the surface (small cracked bubbles on the surface). It may take years or decades for these problems to show up, so many art technique books state to use zinc, because the authors didn’t know about the problems it would cause. Some pre-Raphaelites used zinc in ground successfully, some did not. I don’t know how the successful ones did it, and I have no desire to find out because I want to paint and not be a chemist. There is enough documented information about zinc problems in oil paint from conservators and researchers for me to reluctantly accept their findings as factual and move on.
- The third worst ingredient for a ground is an added drier, because it may cause brittleness which will lead to cracking. There is probably some safe amount to add, but I don’t know what it is or how to evaluate what it may be. Again, I want to paint and not be a self-educated chemist.

I got back into painting after a long interruption (day job, family and so on), and so I have been focused the last few years on educating myself on better techniques and materials. The biggest problem I encountered was my own bias about painting based in my belief that traditional was correct: stretched canvas, natural resins, driers, etc. My struggle against my erroneous beliefs still surprises me because I have always thought of myself as rational thinker.

Deb

Gigalot
03-12-2019, 02:17 PM
Thank Gigalot. However, I think I am going to try this and see what happens. Also, I did what you said earlier, and it worked out well. At least to the naked eye. The canvas is white, bright white with the Permalba over top of Rabbit skin glue. And it dried in about 2 days. (I had done it earlier on only one canvas as an experiment.) So, what could be the problem with it. My only guess is that the oils of my actual painting (alla prima) would still get too absorbed into the fabric of the canvas. But I am going to try what you said, and what I did, and I'll let you know. (But that may take awhile, as I am still setting all of this up.) Anyway, thanks for your advice. Also, I will try the recipe I mentioned earlier, and see whether that is of use. But I think I will replace Permalba with Titanium white oil paint that I make on my own. The permalba smells too much. Still, just white oil paint on rabbit skin glue could be good, and if I do it right, I won't have to have smells or lead or bad grounds. And I won't have all of the mess of adding chalk, to oil, to glue.
the Alternative can be :
1. Rabbit skin glue size (ultra thin layer) +Acrylic primer layer + Titanium white/Silica oil paint layer
or
2. PVA size + Acrylic primer + Premalba white layer
3. Acrylic size + Acrylic primer +acrylic Titanium White
Acrylic can ideally adhere on rabbit skin glue size and oil paint will optimally adhere on acrylic primer layers.

BoydCheeze
03-13-2019, 07:43 PM
Thanks Deb!
Thanks Gigalot!


I'll check the sites you mentioned and get more information on grounds. I found the Permalba to be too smelly, as was the Gesso I used the first time around. Best for me, might be boards, and chalk mixture. Not sure what I'll do, but thanks for your help. I appreciate the time and trouble you (all of you) took to answer my questions and give me some good ideas. Thanks again.

Gigalot
03-14-2019, 09:09 AM
If you try to use pure chalk dispersed into oil binder, then you will get flexible, but yellowish and not enough white primer. Useful as a toned ground, but not good as a white.

DebWDC
03-14-2019, 09:26 AM
Hi Gigalot -
I have used chalk in an oil binder, and It is NOT flexible. It is brittle and it cracked. If you have personal experience of making a flexible chalk-oil ground, please share the details with us so we may learn. When suggestions are made without the details, it may lead people astray. Thanks. Deb

Gigalot
03-14-2019, 01:23 PM
Hi Deb. I never tried to use regular chalk in oil paints or mediums. I tried Eggshell white calcium carbonate in linseed oil. After grinding and applying on canvas, it forms quite flexible films. Also, there are paint quality sedimented calcium carbonate, that many oil paint manufacturers use as a filler into their paint formulation. "Natural pigments" has oil painting medium, formulated with linseed oil and Calcium carbonate:
https://www.naturalpigments.com/artist-materials/oil-paint-mediums/#Velazquez_Medium

BoydCheeze
03-19-2019, 07:06 PM
I don't know if anyone is still following this thread (it's cold in here) but I kept going with my experiments, and so far so good. I first coated the canvas with Rabbit Skin Glue, let it dry one day, then applied the following.

1/2 cup of Titanium white
1/2 cup of Whiting (Chalk)
1/2 cup of Rabbit Skin Glue.

Mix the whites (Titanium and Whiting)
Add (prepared) Rabbit Skin Glue to the mixture.

Next, I let it sit for a day, so the Chalking and the Titanium could fully absorb into the liquid of the Rabbit Skin Glue.

Next, day I heated the mixture (never letting it's temperature rise above 130 F ).

Took a paint brush, and applied first one coat; let it dry.

Then, added a second coat.

It looks pretty good.

Tomorrow, I will isolate this "white grounds" with an egg emulsion (a mixture of 1/3 yolk, 1/3 linseed oil, and 1/3 water.

I may use more or less water depending on the consistency of the mixture of egg and oil; I'll let you know how it turns out. But so far, the grounds seem secure. And it was said that the overlay of egg emulsion (egg and oil) will keep all of it held fast, and that it would also act as a reliable barrier between the chalking and the oil of the actual painting, and to keep them separate was useful for luminosity and good adherence to the canvas.

It's an old technique, and the author claims it will work well on canvas (even that which is held fast by stretcher strips.) Can't wait to see it.