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Pat Hammond
02-24-2004, 09:10 PM
Gesso is what I use to undercoat a painting, oil or acrylic. But
has anyone had experience with plain old house paint undercoat or primer?
Would like to know. Please email me, as I have difficulty in finding these
threads sometimes. Thanks.

Marc Hanson
02-24-2004, 09:40 PM
Pat,
Painters have used it, but don't if you want to feel that you are working in a professional manner. Materials used to manufacture it are not necessarily to the same standards as 'art supplies'. We have REAL working conservators on this site, hopefully they'll respond with their knowledge on this. In the 50's and 60's many 'modern' artists, who are now household names, used these kinds of materials as a cost saving measure. I have read that our major museums now consider their works to be some of the most difficult work to deal with because of the poor selection af materials.
Marc H
Gesso is what I use to undercoat a painting, oil or acrylic. But
has anyone had experience with plain old house paint undercoat or primer?
Would like to know. Please email me, as I have difficulty in finding these
threads sometimes. Thanks.

JamieWG
02-25-2004, 08:01 AM
Pat,

Welcome to Wetcanvas! House paint primer does not have the necessary tooth for the adhesion of oils. You can do a search (see the Search option on the bar above, then click "Advanced Search" if you need to) and will come up with lots of information about this from threads on the site.

You will probably get more of a response to this question in the Oils forum than here in Color Theory. Here is a link to Oils:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=10

Jamie

Krysia
03-02-2004, 01:27 PM
To Pat...

i have been using the cheapest of mat household white paint instead of gesso.... gesso, i think.... is simply white glue and pigment mixed in water... is there someone who knows the formula>>>>??? anyway after trying and using many different whites in household paint,,,i finally asked the guy in the local paint store what really was the difference between the high priced whites and the cheapest of whites... he rather sheepishly acknowledged that the cheapest whites contained really nothing but white glue and pigment with water.... just what i was looking for.... so now, that is all i use.... i am not sure that my paintings will hang in the smithsonian in a hundred years.... but hey.... i will not be here anyway and neither will any of you ....so what is the problem.... i paint for the now and for the enjoyment of those now living.... including me.... and if i can paint more paintings because i can afford it.... so much the better....gesso is ssssooooo expensive....

krysia

Michael24
03-03-2004, 12:04 PM
To Pat...

i have been using the cheapest of mat household white paint instead of gesso.... gesso, i think.... is simply white glue and pigment mixed in water... is there someone who knows the formula>>>>??? anyway after trying and using many different whites in household paint,,,i finally asked the guy in the local paint store what really was the difference between the high priced whites and the cheapest of whites... he rather sheepishly acknowledged that the cheapest whites contained really nothing but white glue and pigment with water.... just what i was looking for.... so now, that is all i use.... i am not sure that my paintings will hang in the smithsonian in a hundred years.... but hey.... i will not be here anyway and neither will any of you ....so what is the problem.... i paint for the now and for the enjoyment of those now living.... including me.... and if i can paint more paintings because i can afford it.... so much the better....gesso is ssssooooo expensive....

krysia

I guess that I am answering this so as to not have others go down the same path. I agree with you that, if painting is just for your own enjoyment, who cares how long it lasts. However, if one is serious about having their art work last, I propose this idea. You put just as much effort into painting a good painting with cheap materials as you would with good materials. Who knows? Maybe that cheaply done painting will be a great visual success and someone, some day will want to keep it from falling apart.

To address the technical parts of your question: Gesso, real Gesso, is rabbit skin glue dissolved in warmwater with burnt gypsum (Plaster of Paris). Modern gessos also contain a white pigment.

I think the kind of *gesso* you refer to is an acrylic dispersion of acrylic medium along with white pigment and marble dust or chalk or plaster to provide mechanical tooth and absorption.

House paint primers are not of the same nature. You are right they are rather inexpensive and being that, will tend not to age well. They are also not like acrylic paints and the question of compatibility between house paint and acrylic paint has been raised.

Better you find and use an inexpensive art store derived gesso than a commercial primer. The person in the paint store you spoke to may have been describing a PVA primer. That is white glue and white pigment. It is not condoned for use as an underlayer for acrylic or oil paints.

Good luck in your search for a gesso.

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Krysia
03-09-2004, 04:53 PM
To Michael 24
Thank you very much for your thoughtful response.

I think we come from different perspectives regarding the meaning and value of art. I would hope that many, many people go down my path with regards to using painting materials they can most afford - and for most artists, I would guess that those are the most inexpensive available to do the job. Those whom I have taught, worked with, encouraged were very, very happy - most unable to afford paints at 10.00cdn per tube and gesso at 14.00cdn plus taxes per 20 oz jar - to feel the freedom of experimenting, creating with only their spirits, minds and hearts as constraints. I have been there staring at a canvas, purchased for 100.00 or so with paints worth well over another 100.00 - no money for more supplies and wondering whether this would be the last painting for a long time... No money... No more - Some of my paintings now hang in our forest - outside in the elements --- five years later through snow, wind, rain, frost, heat, the occasional moose encounter.. these paintings are as vibrant as ever.... Modern technology = longer lasting paints. None of my patrons subject my work to these extremes....however

Because of the affordability of my work, the base of my patronage has not only been the economically elite - some pieces hang in corporate collections... I find that people look at my work, are enthralled and when they hear the prices, they are further surprised and end up purchasing the work. I am able to offer original pieces of art - not giclees, xeroxed prints, printer generated copies of originals at very, very reasonable prices - and stretched as well - ready to hang... Everyone wins, I get paid, I can make more art, and the general public now can afford original pieces hanging in their homes - instead of those mass produced xerox-style giclee prints.

Do you have any Pollocks hanging in your gallery? Some 50 years later, I am sure that if kept in normal indoor conditions, they have not lost their value... Appreciated probably... He used those wonderful paints that were just coming out ..experimenting... with nothing to lose except the cost of inexpensive supplies...and so much to gain...more and more paintings - the exhiliration, the freedom...he must have felt as the paint came out of the gallon containers... what he might have done if the colours available today had been available to him then...

From a technical point - re gesso - would a high quality acrylic emulsion be preferable to a PVA emulsion ....Furthermore, the best quality acrylic house paints now hold more pigment, are flexible in hot and cold temperatures (no cracking) ultraviolet resistant. Yes, I am convinced now... and thank you for that advice.

Iwas advised by someone from the largest art supply store in the city that rabbit skin glue based gessos are no longer considered as archivally sound as the modern acrylic gessos - rhoplex being one of them.. A chemical replacement for rabbit skin glue is now being used as well for those who wish to paint in oils. The PVA will yellow somewhat in time.. I have contacted Rohm & Hass the manufacturers of the base resin in gesso and await their response to this question.

In the very grand scheme of things, the percentage of artists who find their works at the National Gallery of Art is absolutely minuscule. Most people buy art for personal reasons rather than as an investment. Will a particular painting inspire those two, three generations hence...Who knows... the most important is that it inspires those who own the painting at the present time...

It is alright for the establishment to stand on its principles in a nostalgic manner when it can afford to do so. However, it should also be aware and learn that modern technology has already produced materials that outperform some of the ancient ones. As an aside, are rabbits killed only for their skin - which is then boiled for artists to use. And how many rabbits does it take to make a 20 oz jar of gesso? Those are really important questions. Never will I buy (can't afford anyway) that gesso. All the more reason to embrace new technologies.

Better paint a thousand pictures than struggle financially over 10. When the National Gallery of Art, Washington comes knocking at my door, I will fall over in excitement, but I will not change my painting style... And I will not regret turning many people onto painting in an unconstrained manner... And I do hope that more artists do question the established establishment with regards to art and its production and materials. I do hope that they embrace the present technology - the new technology - the impressionists did it with the new tubes... I do hope that we continue to push the established limits - all the time respecting the past. Save the rabbit......

I remain with all due respect to you,
sincerely, Krysia Bower

Michael24
03-10-2004, 04:34 PM
To Michael 24

I think we come from different perspectives regarding the meaning and value of art.
Those whom I have taught, worked with, encouraged were very, very happy - most unable to afford paints at 10.00cdn per tube and gesso at 14.00cdn plus taxes per 20 oz jar - to feel the freedom of experimenting, creating with only their spirits, minds and hearts as constraints. I have been there staring at a canvas, purchased for 100.00 or so with paints worth well over another 100.00 - no money for more supplies and wondering whether this would be the last painting for a long time... No money...


Krysia: The format of this medium does not allow for a lot of words to come out. I just can't type that long or fast. I don't think that our perspective are that far at all. To me, meaning and value of art is based on how we express ourselves and connect with our audience, how we get our message across and does it convey our intent.

My response regarding the quality and viability of material in no way implies a value or meaning content. The composition of the material is what it is just as the manufacturer makes it. Inexpensive house paint is inexpensive house paint. Neither you or I can make it into something that it is not. My only point on the quality of materials is that artists need to be mindful of what works and what does not. I wish that a lot of art materials would be more reasonable in price. All the wishing in the world will not make Ciba or BASF change the price of cadmium pigments. That said, you and I devise, each in our own way, strategies to offset the high cost of art materials.

I might not want to compromise on the support and priming while I bend a lot regarding the pigment. So I will substitute napthol red for cadmium red. My point is that the two pigments will not work the same and I just have to make that compromise so that I can continue to afford making art.

House paint primers are not the first choice within the conservation community. We have evidence, as well as the Metropolitian Museum in NY, and the Tate Gallery in London, etc., that artists we know who used house paint primers are having issues with their pictures as they age. The priming layer yellows and behaves rather badly over time.

It is just what we observe, not a denunciation of the artist or anyone who uses housepaint. We just pass this along to tell artists that this is what we are seeing with paintings that use these types of materials as they age. If the color, texture and qualities of the priming layer are extremely important to you (especially if you leave large voids where the priming shows through)
and you don't want to have a dingy yellow show over time, then you may want to reconsider upgrading the priming and compromise on some other part of the construction of your art work.
To Michael 24
Because of the affordability of my work, the base of my patronage has not only been the economically elite - some pieces hang in corporate collections... I find that people look at my work, are enthralled and when they hear the prices, they are further surprised and end up purchasing the work. I am able to offer original pieces of art - not giclees, xeroxed prints, printer generated copies of originals at very, very reasonable prices - and stretched as well - ready to hang... Everyone wins, I get paid, I can make more art, and the general public now can afford original pieces hanging in their homes - instead of those mass produced xerox-style giclee prints.


Absolutely, orgininal art is a precious and wonderful thing and should never be compared to mass produced prints. (As an aside) Recently, I was shown some ink jet prints on canvas using a new type of coating. You just can't see the dots of ink at all. It is really frightening that soon, with a bit of acrylic gel lathered on these prints, they will be easily passed off as real oil paintings.

To Michael 24
Do you have any Pollocks hanging in your gallery? Some 50 years later, I am sure that if kept in normal indoor conditions, they have not lost their value... Appreciated probably... He used those wonderful paints that were just coming out ..experimenting... with nothing to lose except the cost of inexpensive supplies...and so much to gain...more and more paintings - the exhiliration, the freedom...he must have felt as the paint came out of the gallon containers... what he might have done if the colours available today had been available to him then...


Yes we do. The only reason they have not lost value is because we have a group of highly skilled and trained conservators who monitor these works and make periodic inspections and repairs. Are they in great shape? Looking at them one way, yes they are. Lots of care and skill goes into their repair. In another way, they are a slow moving train wreck, deteriorating as we speak, paint flaking, substrates oxidizing and coming apart. Conservation is like making an aged actor or actress look good on stage. With the makeup removed you see all the wrinkles and lines. Not a pretty sight.

I don't disagree for a moment that Pollock energy was derived from the types of materials he used. Nobody here would deny or denounce his methodology. However, since none of us can deny physics, we are left with the deteriorating legacy that takes lots of skill, time and $ to keep in fairly good shape. The paintings are fantastic. It is a treat to see them up close.

By the way, Pollock had a full range of colors at his disposal and in many cases he uses them. Many of his works look so monochromatic because he mutes the values of his hues as well as using black, grey and white predominately.
To Michael 24
Iwas advised by someone from the largest art supply store in the city that rabbit skin glue based gessos are no longer considered as archivally sound as the modern acrylic gessos - rhoplex being one of them.. A chemical replacement for rabbit skin glue is now being used as well for those who wish to paint in oils. The PVA will yellow somewhat in time.. I have contacted Rohm & Hass the manufacturers of the base resin in gesso and await their response to this question.


Just to clarify. Traditional gesso - rabbit skin glue and gypsum plus white pigment is for solid supports

To Michael 24
In the very grand scheme of things, the percentage of artists who find their works at the National Gallery of Art is absolutely minuscule. Most people buy art for personal reasons rather than as an investment. Will a particular painting inspire those two, three generations hence...Who knows... the most important is that it inspires those who own the painting at the present time...



To Michael 24
It is alright for the establishment to stand on its principles in a nostalgic manner when it can afford to do so. However, it should also be aware and learn that modern technology has already produced materials that outperform some of the ancient ones. As an aside, are rabbits killed only for their skin - which is then boiled for artists to use. And how many rabbits does it take to make a 20 oz jar of gesso? Those are really important questions. Never will I buy (can't afford anyway) that gesso. All the more reason to embrace new technologies.


To Michael 24
Better paint a thousand pictures than struggle financially over 10. When the National Gallery of Art, Washington comes knocking at my door, I will fall over in excitement, but I will not change my painting style... And I will not regret turning many people onto painting in an unconstrained manner... And I do hope that more artists do question the established establishment with regards to art and its production and materials. I do hope that they embrace the present technology - the new technology - the impressionists did it with the new tubes... I do hope that we continue to push the established limits - all the time respecting the past. Save the rabbit......

I remain with all due respect to you,
sincerely, Krysia Bower

Michael24
03-10-2004, 05:02 PM
To Michael 24

I think we come from different perspectives regarding the meaning and value of art.
Those whom I have taught, worked with, encouraged were very, very happy - most unable to afford paints at 10.00cdn per tube and gesso at 14.00cdn plus taxes per 20 oz jar - to feel the freedom of experimenting, creating with only their spirits, minds and hearts as constraints. I have been there staring at a canvas, purchased for 100.00 or so with paints worth well over another 100.00 - no money for more supplies and wondering whether this would be the last painting for a long time... No money...


Krysia: The format of this medium does not allow for a lot of words to come out. I just can't type that long or fast. I don't think that our perspective are that far at all. To me, meaning and value of art is based on how we express ourselves and connect with our audience, how we get our message across and does it convey our intent.

My response regarding the quality and viability of material in no way implies a value or meaning content. The composition of the material is what it is just as the manufacturer makes it. Inexpensive house paint is inexpensive house paint. Neither you or I can make it into something that it is not. My only point on the quality of materials is that artists need to be mindful of what works and what does not. I wish that a lot of art materials would be more reasonable in price. All the wishing in the world will not make Ciba or BASF change the price of cadmium pigments. That said, you and I devise, each in our own way, strategies to offset the high cost of art materials.

I might not want to compromise on the support and priming while I bend a lot regarding the pigment. So I will substitute napthol red for cadmium red. My point is that the two pigments will not work the same and I just have to make that compromise so that I can continue to afford making art.

House paint primers are not the first choice within the conservation community. We have evidence, as well as the Metropolitian Museum in NY, and the Tate Gallery in London, etc., that artists we know who used house paint primers are having issues with their pictures as they age. The priming layer yellows and behaves rather badly over time.

It is just what we observe, not a denunciation of the artist or anyone who uses housepaint. We just pass this along to tell artists that this is what we are seeing with paintings that use these types of materials as they age. If the color, texture and qualities of the priming layer are extremely important to you (especially if you leave large voids where the priming shows through)
and you don't want to have a dingy yellow show over time, then you may want to reconsider upgrading the priming and compromise on some other part of the construction of your art work.
To Michael 24
Because of the affordability of my work, the base of my patronage has not only been the economically elite - some pieces hang in corporate collections... I find that people look at my work, are enthralled and when they hear the prices, they are further surprised and end up purchasing the work. I am able to offer original pieces of art - not giclees, xeroxed prints, printer generated copies of originals at very, very reasonable prices - and stretched as well - ready to hang... Everyone wins, I get paid, I can make more art, and the general public now can afford original pieces hanging in their homes - instead of those mass produced xerox-style giclee prints.


Absolutely, orgininal art is a precious and wonderful thing and should never be compared to mass produced prints. (As an aside) Recently, I was shown some ink jet prints on canvas using a new type of coating. You just can't see the dots of ink at all. It is really frightening that soon, with a bit of acrylic gel lathered on these prints, they will be easily passed off as real oil paintings.

To Michael 24
Do you have any Pollocks hanging in your gallery? Some 50 years later, I am sure that if kept in normal indoor conditions, they have not lost their value... Appreciated probably... He used those wonderful paints that were just coming out ..experimenting... with nothing to lose except the cost of inexpensive supplies...and so much to gain...more and more paintings - the exhiliration, the freedom...he must have felt as the paint came out of the gallon containers... what he might have done if the colours available today had been available to him then...


Yes we do. The only reason they have not lost value is because we have a group of highly skilled and trained conservators who monitor these works and make periodic inspections and repairs. Are they in great shape? Looking at them one way, yes they are. Lots of care and skill goes into their repair. In another way, they are a slow moving train wreck, deteriorating as we speak, paint flaking, substrates oxidizing and coming apart. Conservation is like making an aged actor or actress look good on stage. With the makeup removed you see all the wrinkles and lines. Not a pretty sight.

I don't disagree for a moment that Pollock energy was derived from the types of materials he used. Nobody here would deny or denounce his methodology. However, since none of us can deny physics, we are left with the deteriorating legacy that takes lots of skill, time and $ to keep in fairly good shape. The paintings are fantastic. It is a treat to see them up close.

By the way, Pollock had a full range of colors at his disposal and in many cases he uses them. Many of his works look so monochromatic because he mutes the values of his hues as well as using black, grey and white predominately.
To Michael 24
Iwas advised by someone from the largest art supply store in the city that rabbit skin glue based gessos are no longer considered as archivally sound as the modern acrylic gessos - rhoplex being one of them.. A chemical replacement for rabbit skin glue is now being used as well for those who wish to paint in oils. The PVA will yellow somewhat in time.. I have contacted Rohm & Hass the manufacturers of the base resin in gesso and await their response to this question.


Just to clarify. Traditional gesso - rabbit skin glue and gypsum plus white pigment is for SOLID supports ONLY. Its too brittle to use on canvas. Gesso has never been considered archivally sound, it was just the only game in town when paintings were executed on wooden panels. Oil grounds with rabbit skin sizing on the canvas to block the oxidation of the oil penetrating the ground, became the norm when painters moved to canvas supports.

Rhoplex is the R&H trade name for one of many acrylic products they produce. I agree that PVA will embrittle and yellow over time. Examples, find a blob of old Elmers glue on something. It displays the characteristics.

To Michael 24
In the very grand scheme of things, the percentage of artists who find their works at the National Gallery of Art is absolutely minuscule. Most people buy art for personal reasons rather than as an investment. Will a particular painting inspire those two, three generations hence...Who knows... the most important is that it inspires those who own the painting at the present time...


Yes, the percentage is low. For the most part it helps if you are dead. Our dead to live artist ratio is rather high.
Again, my point, if you possible can, buy material and use sound strategies that will help to make your paintings last, especially if you want to inspire the next two or three generations.

To Michael 24
It is alright for the establishment to stand on its principles in a nostalgic manner when it can afford to do so. However, it should also be aware and learn that modern technology has already produced materials that outperform some of the ancient ones. As an aside, are rabbits killed only for their skin - which is then boiled for artists to use. And how many rabbits does it take to make a 20 oz jar of gesso? Those are really important questions. Never will I buy (can't afford anyway) that gesso. All the more reason to embrace new technologies.


Gosh no!! Rabbit skin glue is more just a name than the actual thing. Traditionally it was from rabbits, but now it just another byproduct of the cattle industry. As they say, they use everything but the MOO! Rabbit skin glue is animal glue, most likely cattle, and fairly crude material. (Some countries still have a line of rabbit skin glue) The more refined glues make their way to becoming products like Jello or Knox gelatin.

On the other hand, before we embrace new technologies, how many oil wells, how much pollution is made, how many soliders have died, etc, to make the millions of pounds of acrylic resin that are derived from petrochemicals. Everything has its price, even a jar of acrylic dispersion gesso.

To Michael 24
Better paint a thousand pictures than struggle financially over 10. When the National Gallery of Art, Washington comes knocking at my door, I will fall over in excitement, but I will not change my painting style... And I will not regret turning many people onto painting in an unconstrained manner... And I do hope that more artists do question the established establishment with regards to art and its production and materials. I do hope that they embrace the present technology - the new technology - the impressionists did it with the new tubes... I do hope that we continue to push the established limits - all the time respecting the past. Save the rabbit......

I remain with all due respect to you,
sincerely, Krysia Bower

Thank you for your comments. I too am respectful of your outstanding opinion. Keep painting and pushing that envelope. Just remember that everything has its price, including an unconstrained manner. We should question technology and the materials we consume. Me and some of my colleagues have access to the heads of art materials companies and advocacy groups like ASTM. We work hard to protect artists safety, raise the education level on sound practices, encourage manufacturers to produce quality materials, and see to it that artists are given information that helps them to make choices.

Michael Skalka
Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Einion
03-10-2004, 08:42 PM
Nicely answered Michael.

A question about PVAc glues if you have a moment. My research over the past few years indicated that it was considered archival by the conservation community generally. I've never actually seen a dried sample of it that has gone yellow over the many years I've used it, so I was dubious about this when I first read of it on WC! about a year ago, but obviously it can happen. Used as a glue or size it is completely or largely protected from ultraviolet light, a major contributor to the ageing of many synthetic polymers, so I would imagine it would certainly help its performance over the long term but am I being optimistic?

So, ignoring its use as a size for stretched canvas where I don't use it anyway, what would be the best choice for an alternative reversible adhesive? It's what I use and have recommended to bond fabrics such as cotton duck to a rigid support (untempered hardboard in my case) but is there a better alternative?

By the way, do you have any Rothkos there? I saw one in person for the first time a couple of years back in Ohio and it looked gaunt as I'd expected from reading about them - you could almost imagine the pigment particles falling off as you looked at it. I certainly wouldn't want to risk someone brushing against the surface so a rope barrier would be a very good idea I'm sure!

Thanks in advance,
Einion

Michael24
03-11-2004, 09:01 AM
A question about PVAc glues if you have a moment. My research over the past few years indicated that it was considered archival by the conservation community generally. I've never actually seen a dried sample of it that has gone yellow over the many years I've used it, so I was dubious about this when I first read of it on WC! about a year ago, but obviously it can happen. Used as a glue or size it is completely or largely protected from ultraviolet light, a major contributor to the ageing of many synthetic polymers, so I would imagine it would certainly help its performance over the long term but am I being optimistic?



Yes, PVA can be archival but you have to get the right ones. The PVA that is commonly used by bookbinders, Jade 403 remains flexible and will not become brittle. Hardware store PVA glues are not of the same nature. You can get those glues to deteriorate in a matter of a year or two. However, as you said when used as a layer between canvas and support you don't get any UV to penetrate so that kind of aging is not an issue.


So, ignoring its use as a size for stretched canvas where I don't use it anyway, what would be the best choice for an alternative reversible adhesive? It's what I use and have recommended to bond fabrics such as cotton duck to a rigid support (untempered hardboard in my case) but is there a better alternative?



PVA is still a great size for stretched canvas fabric. Just use Jade or some of the ones that art material maufacturers market for use as a size. Reversible adhesive: Now you want a much higher level of performance. Some of the high-end canvas on rigid substrate manufacturers are using a conservation product called BEVA. Tallas in NY sells it as a liquid and as a film (heat activated) You need heat to activate it and to release it from your surface. It is expensive! If you are selling multi-thousand $ pictures, it might be expected. For most its just too costly.

By the way, do you have any Rothkos there? I saw one in person for the first time a couple of years back in Ohio and it looked gaunt as I'd expected from reading about them - you could almost imagine the pigment particles falling off as you looked at it. I certainly wouldn't want to risk someone brushing against the surface so a rope barrier would be a very good idea I'm sure!

Thanks in advance,
Einion

The Gallery was the recipient of a large number of Rothko's in accord with his foundations bequest. We circulate them around the country in a number of lending shows. We have many of his early semi-representational works. You would not think they were by Rothko. Same for Pollock. His early works were semi-abstract and not like the famous drip paintings.

Rothko liked to manipulate paint to an extreme. I assume by gaunt you mean extremely lean and underbound. Yes, that is the case. He would leach the oil out of paints, wash it out with solvents and have nearly dry totally unbound pigments. He used glue, casein and lean oils, all in combination and in layers, to create the works we have today. As I stated in the previous post. No one objects to his right to exercise his artistic vision. However, it comes with a price. The surfaces are extremely fragile and need lots of care.

Bottom Line: If your work is in a museum and and your name is Rothko or Pollock, Johns, Gorky, etc., the resources will be made available to preserve your work. Unfortunately, not all artists will get to be represented in a museum. Even though their work is excellent, they somehow just don't make it into the museum world. If these artists don't use sound methods, few in the private sector will have the resources to save their artistic endeavors. Even families will have a difficult time justifying the funds needed to save a great-grandmother art work that has been passed down from generation to generation. All paintings have some form of inherent vice and over time will need repair. The strategy for artists is to avoid the simple pitfalls that can cause medium to long-term disaster. The trick is can an artist figure out a way to make it long lasting and still stay within his or her intent.

For example, if an artist wanted to have a sculpture that contained a bowl of fresh fruit on a table as their artwork, the table will be fine, the bowl will last without a problem, but as you suspect, the fruit will be an issue. If the piece is NOT about natural decay but about the vibrance and freshness of nature's bounty, the artist needs to figure out what to use that looks like fresh fruit (to fool the eye) so that the piece will live on and convey the artists intent. Othewise, the artist needs to make friends with a produce manager at the supermarket and be prepared to shell out a lot of money exchanging the fruit every week or so.

Good luck with the adhesives. Let me know if you need more info.

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Einion
03-15-2004, 03:45 PM
Thank you for taking the time to answer so comprehensively Michael. I'm glad to hear it's a case of all PVA's not being created equal and not a general problem with them as a class.

I'm familiar with Beva 371 and similar adhesives like Plextol D489 from my conservation reading but PVA is adequate to the task for my work :)

I assume by gaunt you mean extremely lean and underbound.
Yep. I didn't realise Rothko went to such pains to make the paint that underbound! From what you describe I can't help but think he could have just used dry pigment and oversprayed with something like a solution of gum arabic (or just have bought watercolour of course) and had results that were more stable, ah well. I presume he had at least an inkling that his methods were unsound and just didn't care.

Thanks again,
Einion

Michael24
03-15-2004, 04:35 PM
I am sure that he tried that approach but it did not get the desired results. He experimented extensively just to get the right look.

Watercolor would have been great but it is hard to get it to stick to oil paint!! :)

I hope that Krysia return to read my reply to her concerns. I put a lot of thought into that answer.

So many artists want desparately to hope that inexpensive materials are compatible with artists materials or that they will perform well over time. Sometimes we get lucky. Other times, we know its fate is known, and it is not pretty!!

Michael Skalka, Conservation National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael24
03-15-2004, 04:40 PM
Thank you for taking the time to answer so comprehensively Michael. I'm glad to hear it's a case of all PVA's not being created equal and not a general problem with them as a class.

I'm familiar with Beva 371 and similar adhesives like Plextol D489 from my conservation reading but PVA is adequate to the task for my work :)

Thanks again,
Einion

Are you just using adhesives to adhere canvas to a support or are your concerned about using them as a sizing medium?

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash, DC

JamieWG
03-15-2004, 04:45 PM
I hope that Krysia return to read my reply to her concerns. I put a lot of thought into that answer.

Michael Skalka, Conservation National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael, I hope she sees it too, but even if she does/did not, many of us benefit from these conversations, even if we don't all post to say so!

And speaking of archival properties....
If I use floor polyurethane on a plywood panel, will acrylic ground/gesso adhere to that oil-based polyurethane? If I plan to use the acrylic ground, am I better off with water-based poly? Most likely I'd adhere canvas with PVA...will that hold to the oil poly?

Often I paint on unstretched, primed canvas. Since the paint is not directly on the board, can I then adhere the canvas to MDF or hardboard if I seal it first with the oil-based polyurethane, without worrying about SID?

Jamie

Michael24
03-15-2004, 05:17 PM
Thank you for taking the time to answer so comprehensively Michael. I'm glad to hear it's a case of all PVA's not being created equal and not a general problem with them as a class.

I'm familiar with Beva 371 and similar adhesives like Plextol D489 from my conservation reading but PVA is adequate to the task for my work :)

Thanks again,
Einion

Are you just using adhesives to adhere canvas to a support or are your concerned about using them as a sizing medium?

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash, DC

stagfoot
03-15-2004, 06:14 PM
Are you just using adhesives to adhere canvas to a support or are your concerned about using them as a sizing medium?

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash, DC
I've been sizing my canvases with acrylic medium, I reason this should be perfectly archival, but if it isn't, I'd be very interested to hear your views on the matter

Michael24
03-16-2004, 08:49 AM
I've been sizing my canvases with acrylic medium, I reason this should be perfectly archival, but if it isn't, I'd be very interested to hear your views on the matter


I am assuming that you are preparing a canvas for an oil painting. If so, acrylic medium is fine for sizing a canvas. Again, assuming that you are following the acrylic sizing with an acrylic dispersion ground (acrylic gesso) and applying it according to the manufacturers directions.

The biggest problem with oil paints on acrylic prepared canvas is that artists don't put enough ground layers on to stop oil penetration. It may look good with just one coat, but in many cases that is not enough. The directions provided by the manufacturer are a good start. They usually test the oil penetration of their grounds and recommend how many layers to put on a canvas in order to stop the penetration to the canvas level.

If you are painting in acrylic, the acrylic sizing is not really needed. You can just apply the acrylic gesso directly to the canvas.

Hope this helps.

Michael Skalka, Conservation , National Gallery of Art. Wash. DC

JamieWG
03-16-2004, 10:18 AM
One more question....(Yeah, right!).....What about the newer polyester canvases that have emerged in the marketplace? What do you think of them, Michael? Are they in fact a more archival surface for oils, either on stretchers or glued to a support, with an acrylic gesso ground? Would this type of canvas need sizing too?

Many thanks,
Jamie

Michael24
03-16-2004, 11:15 AM
One more question....(Yeah, right!).....What about the newer polyester canvases that have emerged in the marketplace? What do you think of them, Michael? Are they in fact a more archival surface for oils, either on stretchers or glued to a support, with an acrylic gesso ground? Would this type of canvas need sizing too?

Many thanks,
Jamie

No, please keep the questions coming. Polyester canvas: If you mean the 100 percent polyester canvas, these seem to show great potential for very long-term performance. The cotton poly blends are not recommended because each type of fiber behaves differently.

We think they are more archival for oils because of the oxidation factor so common to oil penetrating organic material. The one drawback is that lots of people find them aesthetically unpleasing. The weave texture looks a bit too uniform and artificial. With enough acrylic dispersion ground on them, that issues goes away. I might still look toward sizing just to avoid the oil staining that could occur if medium penetrates the ground. Who knows over time the oil might do something to the polyester, but we are talking about a very long time. Yes, I still would make every effort to keep oil from getting to the canvas.

Our feeling is that a polyester canvas adhered to a Dibond panel with a well prepared ground layer is a wonderful, extremely long lasting support for oil painting.

More later...

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

JamieWG
03-16-2004, 11:31 AM
Michael, thank you for that reply. I'm going to try a roll of that polyester canvas pre-primed as soon as my current roll of cotton runs out. (Won't be long! ;) ) I'll add additional gesso layer(s).

Here's the question I posted before, but don't think you saw it before it got buried:

Michael, I hope she sees it too, but even if she does/did not, many of us benefit from these conversations, even if we don't all post to say so!

And speaking of archival properties....
If I use floor polyurethane on a plywood panel, will acrylic ground/gesso adhere to that oil-based polyurethane? If I plan to use the acrylic ground, am I better off with water-based poly? Most likely I'd adhere canvas with PVA...will that hold to the oil poly?

Often I paint on unstretched, primed canvas. Since the paint is not directly on the board, can I then adhere the canvas to MDF or hardboard if I seal it first with the oil-based polyurethane, without worrying about SID?

Jamie

sillk
03-16-2004, 10:11 PM
i was sitting here thinking what a great cache of info this thread is, and how fantastic it would be to have a book full of answers like these to the archival question. and then i thought, maybe there is! somewhere...

so is there?

and if there isn't, i nominate Michael to write it.

stagfoot
03-17-2004, 02:50 PM
If I use floor polyurethane on a plywood panel, will acrylic ground/gesso adhere to that oil-based polyurethane? If I plan to use the acrylic ground, am I better off with water-based poly? Most likely I'd adhere canvas with PVA...will that hold to the oil poly?

Often I paint on unstretched, primed canvas. Since the paint is not directly on the board, can I then adhere the canvas to MDF or hardboard if I seal it first with the oil-based polyurethane, without worrying about SID?


Personally I don't think acrylic gesso would stick to an oil-based polyurethane.
I don't know if PVA would stick to it either, I suppose you could try a test strip and see how that works.

Is it the canvas you want to seal here, or the board?

Hope you don't mind me asking but why do you want to use polyurethane? What advantages does it give you? :confused: :)

stagfoot
03-17-2004, 03:06 PM
No, please keep the questions coming. Polyester canvas: If you mean the 100 percent polyester canvas, these seem to show great potential for very long-term performance. The cotton poly blends are not recommended because each type of fiber behaves differently.


What about all those other synthetic fibres, as I'm having bit of difficulty finding a decent weight of polyester.
I've found some promising looking acrylic canvas, but it's a bit pricey and I don't know if it would be any good anyway.

Einion
03-17-2004, 04:21 PM
Are you just using adhesives to adhere canvas to a support or are your concerned about using them as a sizing medium?
Hi Michael, I don't like to paint on stretched fabrics so I'm interested in sizing only theoretically :)

I use PVA to bond canvas (usually cotton duck) to untempered hardboard if I want the weave texture but generally I prefer a smoothly-sanded acrylic 'gesso' surface.

Einion

Einion
03-17-2004, 04:25 PM
FWIW I got samples of the available polyester fabrics on one of my last trips to London and although in terms of longevity it seems to be a clear winner - for oil painting it doesn't respond to changes in humidity and hence doesn't promote cracking - the texture is very mechanical and I probably wouldn't want to paint on it, but it might suit certain kinds of very clean, tight work.

Besides, if one is a professional or very serious amateur I think oil painting should really be confined to rigid supports anyway since they are so much less prone to problems and there so many good options to choose from these days - if you're addicted to the texture of fabrics just bond it to a rigid substrate.

Einion

JamieWG
03-17-2004, 04:49 PM
Is it the canvas you want to seal here, or the board?

Hope you don't mind me asking but why do you want to use polyurethane? What advantages does it give you? :confused: :)

I would use it to seal the board. It protects it from changes in humidity, and stops the support induced discoloration that can result from a water soluble sealer. At least, this is my understanding. Michael, please correct me if I'm wrong. Golden also makes a product that can be used for that purpose according to their website. But if the acrylic gesso, or PVA to hold on canvas, will not hold to the polyurethane, I guess I can't do that. I cannot get into a long drawn-out process of lead grounds, etc. I just want to paint, and I go through waaaay to many panels and canvas, especially during plein air seasons, for anything remotely resembling an "ordeal"!

Jamie

MarthaF
03-19-2004, 04:02 PM
I am new to oil painting. I am using acrylic gesso to glue down cotton canvas to masonite panels. Then I use 2 coats of gesso on top of the canvas. Is this okay? I am confused about glueing, sealing, priming, and gessoing. Would someone care to define these words? Thanks!

Michael24
03-20-2004, 11:48 PM
Sorry, was away a bit - I will get back to answering tomorow or Monday morning.

Michael Skalka

REDart
03-22-2004, 09:06 AM
Michael24

Thanks for taking the time to answer all these questions. Maybe we need a tech. forum. I am looking for a clarification. Did you mention that you should use an acrylic size under an acrylic gesso for oil painting? I have never heard that before.

It is very difficult to get good information about this stuff as most of what I read comes from people trying to sell their own products or artists that won't use anything that wasn't in use 200 years ago.

Thanks

Michael24
03-22-2004, 09:57 AM
What about all those other synthetic fibres, as I'm having bit of difficulty finding a decent weight of polyester.
I've found some promising looking acrylic canvas, but it's a bit pricey and I don't know if it would be any good anyway.

It is very difficult to say which canvas is acceptable. No standard exists for how the fabric is sized in the factory or what sort of surface it has. I will have to look into acrylic yarns a bit more to give you better info.

Michael Skalka
Conservation, National Gallery of Art

Michael24
03-22-2004, 10:03 AM
I would use it to seal the board. It protects it from changes in humidity, and stops the support induced discoloration that can result from a water soluble sealer. At least, this is my understanding. Michael, please correct me if I'm wrong. Golden also makes a product that can be used for that purpose according to their website. But if the acrylic gesso, or PVA to hold on canvas, will not hold to the polyurethane, I guess I can't do that. I cannot get into a long drawn-out process of lead grounds, etc. I just want to paint, and I go through waaaay to many panels and canvas, especially during plein air seasons, for anything remotely resembling an "ordeal"!

Jamie

Yes, polyurethane is used to stop warping and splitting of the board. Remember it is spirit based polyurethane not the waterbased that should be used.

Some people use gesso to glue canvas down to the board. I am not that fond of the idea because if someone ever needs to remove it, it is nice to use a different type of adhesive so that removing it won't interfere with the the acrylic gesso alread on the painted side of the canvas.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael24
03-22-2004, 10:15 AM
I am new to oil painting. I am using acrylic gesso to glue down cotton canvas to masonite panels. Then I use 2 coats of gesso on top of the canvas. Is this okay? I am confused about glueing, sealing, priming, and gessoing. Would someone care to define these words? Thanks!

Martha: It is a bit confusing. Here are some terms:

Gesso: (sorry its not a verb so I won't say gessoing) This is the traditional term for rabbit skin glue, gypsum and water to make a painting ground for solid panel supports. (See discussion in this post on gesso - back on page 1 or 2) With acrylic dispersion primers now in vogue, lots of artists and manufacturers still use the term gesso to describe their primers. However gesso is still gesso, acrylic dispersion primers are acrylic medium, an absorptive agent like clay or chalk or marble dust, titanium white pigment.

Priming: The act of creating a sealing layer on a canvas or support to form a stable foundation for your painting. It seals the support from the paint layer. In oil painting this is important because oil paint will oxidize canvas and destroy it over time.

Sealing: In terms of this discussion, sealing refers to stabilizing a panel so that moisture will not warp or crack it. A polyurethane dissolved in mineral spirits does the best job. It locks out moisture from getting to the wood panel.

Gluing: Using an adhesive, it may be acrylic medium, or polyvinyl acetate (Elemers glue) to adhere a canvas to a panel.

Hope that helps.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael24
03-22-2004, 11:03 AM
Personally I don't think acrylic gesso would stick to an oil-based polyurethane.
I don't know if PVA would stick to it either, I suppose you could try a test strip and see how that works.

Is it the canvas you want to seal here, or the board?

Hope you don't mind me asking but why do you want to use polyurethane? What advantages does it give you? :confused: :)


It seems like acrylic gesso would not stick to oil based poly. However, it seem to do just fine. The wood has enough tooth and unless you urethane it like a bar top, it won't be so slick as to stop adhesion. PVA works fine as well. Most of these materials have pretty good adhesion power.

You want to seal both. The board gets sealed to stop it from warping and cracking and the canvas gets sealed to stop oil penetration from oxidizing it.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

stagfoot
03-22-2004, 03:53 PM
Thanks for answering all our questions Michael.

Hope you don't mind but I've got another one.
Along with synthetic canvas, I'm also considering using aluminium sheet or plate.
How do I prepare the surface of this metal, and can I prime it with an acrylic ground, or is there something about aluminium that makes it unsuitable as a support?

Michael24
03-22-2004, 05:17 PM
Thanks for answering all our questions Michael.

Hope you don't mind but I've got another one.
Along with synthetic canvas, I'm also considering using aluminium sheet or plate.
How do I prepare the surface of this metal, and can I prime it with an acrylic ground, or is there something about aluminium that makes it unsuitable as a support?


Got an answer on acrylic canvas first. It's considered student grade or less. If you want synthetic stick to polyester. Hunt around, you may find it for less.

Instead of plain, aluminium, I have something better to suggest. Its called Dibond. Its made by Alcan and if you check Alcan's web site you can eventually target a distributor in your area. It's fairly inexpensive per sq. foot. Its very stable. It is aluminium with a polyethylene layer followed by another aluminium layer. It is coated with a polyester paint. We don't recommend painting directly on the surface. Glue canvas on to it. If you don't want texture, you can glue a good quality cotton paper on the Dibond and then size and prime it with an acrylic gesso, many times, especially if you want to paint in oil. You want to keep the oil from penetrating to the paper.

I would not recommend aluminium sheets alone. They bend easily. You would have to do a lot of prep to rough up the surface enough to accept a primer. Its not worth the effort and delamination of the paint can be a problem if it is not prepared properly. You would best seek the expertise of an auto body center or indusrial firm that paints metal to get their advice on surface preparation. Also, the burrs on the edges can be a killer. Do you really want aluminimum dust and metal bits around your studio? Spend your time painting not preparing.

I like the Dibond idea because all you have to do is order it cut to size, use preprimed canvas, rough up the surface of the Dibond with sandpaper, apply a PVA glue or acrylic medium, stick the canvas on, roll it to get out the bubbles, trim the edges or fold them over the edge of the panel and your're done.

Sounds interesting?

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

MarthaF
03-22-2004, 08:12 PM
Martha: It is a bit confusing. Here are some terms:

Gesso: (sorry its not a verb so I won't say gessoing) This is the traditional term for rabbit skin glue, gypsum and water to make a painting ground for solid panel supports. (See discussion in this post on gesso - back on page 1 or 2) With acrylic dispersion primers now in vogue, lots of artists and manufacturers still use the term gesso to describe their primers. However gesso is still gesso, acrylic dispersion primers are acrylic medium, an absorptive agent like clay or chalk or marble dust, titanium white pigment.

Priming: The act of creating a sealing layer on a canvas or support to form a stable foundation for your painting. It seals the support from the paint layer. In oil painting this is important because oil paint will oxidize canvas and destroy it over time.

Sealing: In terms of this discussion, sealing refers to stabilizing a panel so that moisture will not warp or crack it. A polyurethane dissolved in mineral spirits does the best job. It locks out moisture from getting to the wood panel.

Gluing: Using an adhesive, it may be acrylic medium, or polyvinyl acetate (Elemers glue) to adhere a canvas to a panel.

Hope that helps.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Thank you, Michael, that was good information to know. I have been enjoying this discussion and appreciate your taking the time to help all of us. I thought I read somewhere that Elmers Glue is not a good thing to glue canvas to masonite board, but you think it's fine? Can I also use "cheap knock-off" Elmers Glue too? Thanks so much! --Martha

stagfoot
03-22-2004, 08:56 PM
Got an answer on acrylic canvas first. It's considered student grade or less. If you want synthetic stick to polyester. Hunt around, you may find it for less.

Instead of plain, aluminium, I have something better to suggest. Its called Dibond. Its made by Alcan and if you check Alcan's web site you can eventually target a distributor in your area. It's fairly inexpensive per sq. foot. Its very stable. It is aluminium with a polyethylene layer followed by another aluminium layer. It is coated with a polyester paint. We don't recommend painting directly on the surface. Glue canvas on to it. If you don't want texture, you can glue a good quality cotton paper on the Dibond and then size and prime it with an acrylic gesso, many times, especially if you want to paint in oil. You want to keep the oil from penetrating to the paper.

I like the Dibond idea because all you have to do is order it cut to size, use preprimed canvas, rough up the surface of the Dibond with sandpaper, apply a PVA glue or acrylic medium, stick the canvas on, roll it to get out the bubbles, trim the edges or fold them over the edge of the panel and your're done.

Sounds interesting?

Thanks for the info on acrylic canvas.

Iam interested, thanks, unfortunately I had a lot of trouble finding someone who sells Dibond here, I succeded, but guess how much they charge for a five by ten foot sheet, $260 US!, thats $390 New Zealand!
I can get 3mm (1/8) high grade (hard) aluminium plate for less than half that price here.
If I can get someone to cut it to size, could I treat it the same way as Dibond?

lenu
03-23-2004, 02:26 PM
Great thread!



So, Michael24, is Elmer's OK for canvas-to-panel glue on untempered Masonite?

Another PVA glue? Is it a hardware or paint store item? (Oh my! Here we go again!) The only PVA glue that I know to be available in my local art supply store is Gamblin, and I think theirs is only recommended for stretched canvas sizing. Maybe not. Martha G.?

If not PVA glue, what acrylic medium would work best for a canvas-to-panel adhesive? Matt? Gloss? My local art supply store has several versions from Liquitex and Golden and maybe some others.

Michael24
03-23-2004, 03:26 PM
Thanks for the info on acrylic canvas.

Iam interested, thanks, unfortunately I had a lot of trouble finding someone who sells Dibond here, I succeded, but guess how much they charge for a five by ten foot sheet, $260 US!, thats $390 New Zealand!
I can get 3mm (1/8) high grade (hard) aluminium plate for less than half that price here.
If I can get someone to cut it to size, could I treat it the same way as Dibond?

OUCH! Its about $75 a sheet here. That ocean voyage makes it cost a lot. I guess I would go with the aluminium. However, I would treat it like I would treat a hardboard or plywood panel and cradle it from behind. Aluminium bends far too easily. Again, I would ask someone with expertise on how to prime it. You should definitely degrease it thoroughly.

You could also glue canvas to it and that would solve lots of the surface prep concerns. I would make test panels with PVA or acrylic medium as an adhesive and see it you can get it to stick well.

Good luck.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael24
03-23-2004, 03:36 PM
Great thread!



So, Michael24, is Elmer's OK for canvas-to-panel glue on untempered Masonite?

Another PVA glue? Is it a hardware or paint store item? (Oh my! Here we go again!) The only PVA glue that I know to be available in my local art supply store is Gamblin, and I think theirs is only recommended for stretched canvas sizing. Maybe not. Martha G.?

If not PVA glue, what acrylic medium would work best for a canvas-to-panel adhesive? Matt? Gloss? My local art supply store has several versions from Liquitex and Golden and maybe some others.

Yes, Gamblin PVA is just for sizing canvas. It is too thin to make a proper bond of canvas to panel. You could use Elmers. It is acetic just as the panel is high in acid content. Unfortunately Elmers gets really brittle over time and will delaminate. But, that might be OK. The canvas should be ready by then to be glued to another substrate. That is one reason why I would use an oil based polyurethane to seal the panel. I am afraid of the long term damage that can be done by untempered wood in close contact with canvas. The canvas is no saint either. However, the wood has lots of acids to leach out into the canvas and destroy it. Of course sizing the canvas front and back will help as well.

Michael Skalka
National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

JamieWG
03-23-2004, 03:56 PM
Yes, Gamblin PVA is just for sizing canvas. It is too thin to make a proper bond of canvas to panel. You could use Elmers. It is acetic just as the panel is high in acid content. Unfortunately Elmers gets really brittle over time and will delaminate. But, that might be OK. The canvas should be ready by then to be glued to another substrate. That is one reason why I would use an oil based polyurethane to seal the panel. I am afraid of the long term damage that can be done by untempered wood in close contact with canvas. The canvas is no saint either. However, the wood has lots of acids to leach out into the canvas and destroy it. Of course sizing the canvas front and back will help as well.

Michael Skalka
National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Grrrr...I just bought Gamblin PVA a few weeks ago to glue down the canvas to the boards! I thought it looked kind of thin for that! But it said PVA glue on the website where I got it. So, if I am now finally understanding this correctly, I should:

Seal board 2X front, back and sides with oil-based floor polyurethane, even if I'm gluing canvas onto it and not painting directly on the board.

Size canvas back (front already pre-primed and gesso applied, and oil painted on!) with Gamblin PVA

Glue sized canvas onto polyurethaned board with Elmers

Yes????

Also, do I need to be as careful about the type of board if I'm gluing canvas onto it, rather than painting directly? I'm starting to really like going out to paint plein air with pre-primed canvas masking-taped to foamcore, with the plan of gluing it to panels when dry. Is this practice going to get me into trouble? It is so easy to travel with the light foamcore.

Thank you, Michael. :angel:

I think gesso should be a verb. We sure seem to do enough of it to qualify!

Michael24
03-24-2004, 05:27 PM
Quickly, cause I have to go...

Yes, seal it all because you want to isolate the wood from the environment (moisture) and from the canvas. The board is a acid filled resorvoir that will harm the canvas over time unless it is sealed.

Glue onto board with PVA (the thick kind) or Acrylic medium.

Yes the board type matters somewhat. I prefer cabinet grade birch plywood. Lots of others are cheaper but they contain a lot of garbage wood inside the plys. The cabinet grade won't have imperfections to telegraph into the canvas.

Lots of plein air painters do what you do and travel lkght then glue paintings down later. You like to live dangerously. It just means that you can't apply much pressure to the surface when you glue the canvas to the board. You must not like impasto!!

Now doesn't Dibond sound a whole lot better!? Really, I don't get a commission, it just seems to be an easier way to paint on canvas with a light weight solid and very INERT support.

Later,

Michael Skalka
National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

stagfoot
03-25-2004, 04:48 AM
Yes, seal it all because you want to isolate the wood from the environment (moisture) and from the canvas. The board is a acid filled resorvoir that will harm the canvas over time unless it is sealed.

Glue onto board with PVA (the thick kind) or Acrylic medium.



Lots of plein air painters do what you do and travel lkght then glue paintings down later. You like to live dangerously. It just means that you can't apply much pressure to the surface when you glue the canvas to the board. You must not like impasto!!


More questions Michael. :D

I've been sealing my boards with acrylic medium, do you see any drawback with using this?

If one has used impasto or I don't trust that I can glue it down with out air bubbles, could just the back edges be glued to the back of a sealed board?

What about double stretched canvases? is this advisable, or is it more trouble than it's worth.

Thank you for making this such a great thread. :clap:

kymbo
03-25-2004, 06:22 AM
Impressive memory bank you have there Michael !
Thank you thank you thank you :clap: :angel:

JamieWG
03-25-2004, 06:46 AM
Now doesn't Dibond sound a whole lot better!? Really, I don't get a commission, it just seems to be an easier way to paint on canvas with a light weight solid and very INERT support.

Later,

Michael Skalka
National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael, thank you so much yet again. You have already saved me from myself a number of times!

Yes, Dibond is sounding better and better. But another reason I paint first and glue down later is that it enables me to determine what size I will paint after I arrive on location and choose my composition. In addition, I can crop after the fact if I want to, before cutting the board and gluing the canvas down. I looked on the website and it seems there are lots of different types at different thicknesses and prices. I was surprised by how thin it is---just a couple of mm. I'm going to continue my present course only until I can find a supplier and figure out how to cut the stuff and do some pricing homework to determine if I can afford to paint on it. Until then, I will change my methods of sealing the boards, etc. to what you've recommended.

Do you know which kind (thickness) of Dibond is recommended for oil/canvas panels? There are a few different thicknesses listed on the Alcan site. I see in a previous post of yours that you recommend having it pre-cut to size, but I assume I can cut it myself instead as it says on the website. Does it have to be cradled from behind if it is supported in a frame?

Jamie

stagfoot
03-29-2004, 04:41 PM
Just pushing the thread back up :)

macrobertson
03-31-2004, 05:26 AM
Just having one of my occasional visits to this forum, I don’t comment here often but this is an interesting thread.
I personally wouldn’t seal boards with polyurethane as it is usually a problem surface to paint over, in that there can be adhesion difficulties. Polyurethane over timber is better with a sealer, this may not be the case for floor grade but the adhesion problems could be worse. I think it would be preferable to use a commercial primer (such as one of the Zinsser range) for sealing boards .

I notice that ‘cheap’ commercial primers have been mentioned. I put the same question to a paint manufacturer/chemist that I know, who has had a number of world firsts in acrylic paints and primers, he assured me that a top quality acrylic primer would last indefinitely... which for me is long enough to not worry about.

Mac

Michael24
03-31-2004, 01:21 PM
Just having one of my occasional visits to this forum, I don’t comment here often but this is an interesting thread.
I personally wouldn’t seal boards with polyurethane as it is usually a problem surface to paint over, in that there can be adhesion difficulties. Polyurethane over timber is better with a sealer, this may not be the case for floor grade but the adhesion problems could be worse. I think it would be preferable to use a commercial primer (such as one of the Zinsser range) for sealing boards .

I notice that ‘cheap’ commercial primers have been mentioned. I put the same question to a paint manufacturer/chemist that I know, who has had a number of world firsts in acrylic paints and primers, he assured me that a top quality acrylic primer would last indefinitely... which for me is long enough to not worry about.

Mac


Many who use commercial grade spirit based polyurethane have had no delamination failures with plywood panels and acrylic dispersion primers (acrylic gesso)

Lots of premature yellowing observed in using commercial primers. They may last indefinitely here as well but they won't be the same color as when they were put on the canvas.

Perhaps someone should try to get your brand of primers here in the states or lure your chemist away to make primers here!!

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

macrobertson
04-01-2004, 07:35 AM
A couple more comments from the perspective of having made a living from applying commercial house paints for about 25 years (??#*~*>!!)

If I applied paint directly over polyurethane in areas subject to use, I would have sleepless nights knowing that it would only be a short time before it chipped or peeled off. With the advent of primers that the manufacturers say will stick to it, the worry has decreased… but I’m still not sure I totally trust them.

All acrylics are not the same, it has now become a generic term meaning anything water based. An acrylic primer may not have the necessary type or grade acrylic emulsion to fulfil requirements and many people have used acrylic primers (actually primer-undercoats) with disappointing results, and negative but well meaning information is spread about.

I would be asking questions about the premature yellowing of commercial primers as to their quality, and also the substrate they were painted on bearing in mind that certain timbers, tannins, nicotine, smoke, water stains etc, will bleed through any acrylic paint and discolour it no matter how many coats are used. A properly formulated primer would prevent this.
The problems usually turn out to be a lack of understanding and using the wrong product rather than the right product not being available.
Also primers are intended to be primers, that is used underneath paint, not as a paint finish.

Mac

Michael24
04-01-2004, 09:16 AM
A couple more comments from the perspective of having made a living from applying commercial house paints for about 25 years (??#*~*>!!)

If I applied paint directly over polyurethane in areas subject to use, I would have sleepless nights knowing that it would only be a short time before it chipped or peeled off. With the advent of primers that the manufacturers say will stick to it, the worry has decreased… but I’m still not sure I totally trust them.
Mac

First - thanks for your reply. Most folks just comment and run. We may be talking about different applications of similar but somewhat different products and uses.

Let me elaborate on the topic of painting on panels so that we are talking about exactally the same issues. Lots of painters here want alternatives to stretched canvas. One suggestion has been to use cabinet grade birch veneer plywood. (sometimes it one sided and sometimes it is two sided birch) Without protection, it will absorb and shed water through humidity changes. To stop that, artists are coating both sides and edges with mineral spirit based polyurethane. I wholeheartedly agree that if you have a very smooth surface of birch followed by a polyurethane of ample thickness, the slickness of that surface would give me cause to loose sleep thinking that any acrylic paint may delaminate. I only recommend using the above method if one is going to glue a canvas to the face of the birch panel. Using a PVA or an acrylic emulsion seems to be fine. Will it eventually delaminate? Probably yes. In the long run it does not matter. A future caretaker can glue it back on the support or get a better one. Further, to clarify, the one coating of polyurethane on birch is not so slick as to create a glass-like surface. It still retains enough mechanical tooth to allow glue and if one likes, an acrylic gesso primer to adhere to it. (Again, not my primary recommendation for it use, but not the worse thing that an artist can do)

All acrylics are not the same, it has now become a generic term meaning anything water based. An acrylic primer may not have the necessary type or grade acrylic emulsion to fulfil requirements and many people have used acrylic primers (actually primer-undercoats) with disappointing results, and negative but well meaning information is spread about.
Mac

Yes, absolutely. The term acrylic is used far too broadly to be of much use.
We don't recommend the use of acrylic house paints and underlayers, primers, or as artists paints. However, they tend to be sought after by artists who paint big mural commissions.

Would you in your experience agree that the quality of the binder and especially pigment load and pigment selection raises serious questions about the longevity of commercial house paints used as artists paints?

Our experience with US manufacturers is that commercial paints are based on tinting colors that are unknown as to pigment type, do not conform to ASTM standards for permanence, pigment load, and contain a questionable amount of inert ingredients. Lots of US based house paints start with a dull white-like base that seems to be lean on pigment and adds a concentrated colorant to bring it to the users desired hue. We don't know if these are fugitive dyes, durable pigments or even what they are.

I would be asking questions about the premature yellowing of commercial primers as to their quality, and also the substrate they were painted on bearing in mind that certain timbers, tannins, nicotine, smoke, water stains etc, will bleed through any acrylic paint and discolour it no matter how many coats are used. A properly formulated primer would prevent this.
The problems usually turn out to be a lack of understanding and using the wrong product rather than the right product not being available.
Also primers are intended to be primers, that is used underneath paint, not as a paint finish.

Mac

Yes, the yellowing problem does exist on panels. I should have mentioned that artist have noted these issues with commercial primers over canvas as well. The whole issue related to wood panels and primers, especially focused on acrylic gesso has been well documented. Golden Acrylics has a paper and pages on their web site on this issue which is called *support induced discoloration* or SID. Hardboard is long know to display SID and the simple cure has been to undercoat with an acrylic medium made to supress the transfer of tannins, etc from hardboard.

For most artists it is nearly impossible to know what is in a commercial primer or paint. In light of this, we cannot in good faith, recommend that artist employ commercial house paints as equivalents to paints made for artists. This is especially true regarding the mixing or layering of house paints and artists grade paints. We do not know with any degree of certainty if the resins are compatible.

We do know that acrylic paints are very complex materials. With so much balance and counterbalance of pigments with binders and a host of wetting agents, defoamers, stabilizers, etc., it stands to reason that commercial paints have their own system as well that could cause gross incompatibility with artists paints.

In the long run, I am far more concerned with the tinting strength, pigment type and potential for colors to be fugitive dyes in commercial house paints. Second, the longevity of the acrylic resin and the volume of inert fillers is another negative point for the use of commercial house paints as artists paints. Commercial house paints are fine for their intended use as a paint to cover the walls of a house.

Sincerely,

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

macrobertson
04-01-2004, 02:43 PM
Michael, I agree with everything you have said here.
With the panels, if a possible need for re-gluing in some distant future is not a problem that’s fine.

Would you in your experience agree that the quality of the binder and especially pigment load and pigment selection raises serious questions about the longevity of commercial house paints used as artists paints?

Yes, and that is also the problem, that people link house paints, which have a limited lifespan, together with the primer which is a different product made for a specific purpose, and as was pointed out to me, when properly made and properly used, will last indefinitely.

For painting, I would stick to quality made artists products, for primer/undercoating canvas and other art surfaces I'm still open to the idea that a quality made commercial product, which has been formulated for that purpose may not have any disadvantages to the traditional ones.

Mac

Painter Snoopy
04-05-2004, 12:12 PM
Hi,
I have a question also. Home Depot sells large bolts of canvas for drop cloths. It is 8oz. canvas. Is this archival? Is there a difference between it and the rolls of canvas purchased at art suppliers? I find that I like the tooth to the fabric but it is important that it be safe to paint on in the long term. Thank you so much for answering all of these questions. This is a great thread.

Michael24
04-05-2004, 05:31 PM
Hi,
I have a question also. Home Depot sells large bolts of canvas for drop cloths. It is 8oz. canvas. Is this archival? Is there a difference between it and the rolls of canvas purchased at art suppliers? I find that I like the tooth to the fabric but it is important that it be safe to paint on in the long term. Thank you so much for answering all of these questions. This is a great thread.


I love this question!! Just remember and repeat often to yourself, *little is made exclusively for the art materials industry.* Canvas supplier for the arts buy cotton duck from all over the world.

Look at the canvas carefully. Is the weave even? Does it have a lot of slubs? When you hold it up to a light can you easily see through it? If you are happy with its weight and quality, buy some and try it out.

Drop cloth canvas is most likely not the highest quality. If you see a lot of brown flecks in it and a loose weave, it would be best to avoid it.

Also, you can cure a lot of canvas sins by washing it. It will take out lots of nasty sizing chemicals and potentially increase the life of the cloth. Its a big pain but some artists really swear by it. Most swear at the though of washing canvas! Also, check out canvas at a fabric store. Sometimes they have great buys.

happy canvas hunting...

Michael Skalka, Conservation, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Painter Snoopy
04-05-2004, 05:43 PM
Thank you so much for your reply. I have been using it for some time but did not have anyone to ask. Here is a sample of what I am using. The first is a detail shot of the second. If it is good enough to last then I love to use it. I just didn't want it to fall apart on me later! LOL :)

stagfoot
04-05-2004, 05:59 PM
Michael could you tell me what's the verdict on double stretching canvas?
I can get some quite cheap stretched canvas here (made in china I think) but the canvas is too light weight to be considered permanent.
However it's still cheaper to buy these than the unmade up stretchers.
Can I safely stretch a decent support over this, useing the origional to stiffen the front and keep dirt off the back? or is it unadvisable?
I've read differing opinions on this practice.

Painter Snoopy
04-05-2004, 06:20 PM
Here is a picture of the canvas from Home Depot.

M.A.
04-17-2004, 04:19 PM
Amazing and wonderful thread :)

Enchanted
04-18-2004, 11:59 AM
ZOWEE! I just got directed to this thread from another forum and am soooo thankful to have read through it. W.C. is soooo voluminous with so many diverse forums, and I'd never have looked at this one since I am up to my eye teeth with "theory" after spending six years in University art courses, plus teaching beginning painters for a few years.

Back to the issue at hand. I just posted a reply in the "Studio Tips" forum to the thread "Cost Cutters" on the subject of using house paint for art work. One thing I've always looked for, even when using it as house paint as it's intended, is the labeling that says, "100 percent acrylic." That is, as opposed to labeling that includes words like "latex" and "vinyl." And yes, I have, in my distant past, used reputable exterior grade 100percent acrylic house paint with mildew inhibitors as a primer for both canvas and board supports that were later overpainted with artist's acrylic colors. At the time I was friendly with a chemist who worked for Mobile Paint Company - one of the foremost suppliers of severe-weathering exterior paints to the Gulf of Mexico shoreline dwellers, and felt confident that Mobile's exterior paint was as good as or superior to artist gesso. But it wasn't any cheaper!! I simply liked to way it brushed out when used on a canvas as a primer as opposed to the thicker artist gesso.

More recently I discovered a primer product sold in the USA under the tradename KILZ. I bought a house with 100percent dark oak paneling and was determined to paint it a warm white color. I was told about using KILZ as a primer that would allow me to use waterbased acrylic interior house paint over the previously stained and varnished paneling. That was seven years ago, and there has been no sign of problems to date.

Now for the "art part". I had some old canvas, painted with oil paints, that I wanted to recycle and reuse for some "not for sale" paintings. And the KILZ product allowed me to do the same thing I'd done to the paneling - apply acrylic artist colors over a previously oil painted canvas. I'm certainly not recommending this to anyone for serious art work, but perhaps it will be proven to be useful and lasting at some point.

And in parting, I wish to join the throng in thanking Michael24 for sharing his knowledge of conservation issues with WC members.

macrobertson
04-18-2004, 05:41 PM
100% acrylic seems to be the thing to look for, apparently it’s the addition of PVA etc. that can cause brittleness and yellowing. After a little reading I discovered that the main question mark about using acrylic primer/undercoats is to do with their superior flexibility, they are fine on a rigid ground, but on stretched canvas the oil paint will be less flexible, and will be vulnerable. I think that is why inert fillers such as powdered pumice and marble dust are added to make an ‘acrylic gesso’.... to inhibit the flexibility.

Mac

stagfoot
04-18-2004, 06:43 PM
I think that is why inert fillers such as powdered pumice and marble dust are added to make an ‘acrylic gesso’.... to inhibit the flexibility.


It may inhibit flexibility, I don't know, but the main reason for the marble dust is to give some sort of tooth for the oil paint to hang on to.

Enchanted
04-19-2004, 07:39 PM
It may inhibit flexibility, I don't know, but the main reason for the marble dust is to give some sort of tooth for the oil paint to hang on to.

That's my contention also. In addition to adding tooth, it also adds opaqueness. If we didn't need the added tooth, we could simply use an acrylic medium containing enough white pigment to do the job. In fact, pumice (volcanic lava dust) is a wonderfully 'toothy' substance. But I think the most common filler is marble dust (calcium carbonate - aka; "chalk"). I might also mention that sometimes I begin with a flat black canvas. In order to do that, rather than buying a "black acrylic gesso" - which is available - I add black iron oxide sold by ceramic (potter) suppliers to the clear acrylic medium that I buy in gallons just as I do white acrylic gesso. The oxide has tooth similar to pumice.

cobaltviolet
04-24-2004, 06:26 PM
Over on the A&A board on ebay they are proclaiming the virtues of house paint as gesso.. :eek: :eek: :eek:

And of course they are saying Pollock did it and it therefore OK and anyone who cares about archival quality is on an ego trip

lenu
04-24-2004, 07:00 PM
Over on the A&A board on ebay they are proclaiming the virtues of house paint as gesso.. :eek: :eek: :eek:


Let me get this straight. We're talking about a product made by a profit driven, cost concious commercial business with a target life expectancy of a few years (Five? Ten? Fifteen? Surely not as long as twenty?) And that is a suitable ground for fine art work.

Right.

Len

gogodi
04-25-2004, 11:38 AM
Hi evryone , My first time out. :clap: I am new at painting. I like to use anything new and cheap. I use 2 parts of water base white paint the one they use as the base for mix up color and 2 parts of primer all of that 100% acrylic and 1 part of water. I paint it on a stretch canvas of 100% cotton and do 3 to 4 coats and I am ready to paint. I am thinking maybe I should add some glue or marble dust but I don't know to what amount . Anybody knows or want to tell me if I am doing good or not?????????????


Thanks, very interesting,


G. Art- Vie

Krysia
04-26-2004, 05:26 PM
to Lenu.... Yes, use house paint for painting......

Please let me know of a gesso company that is not profit driven and which sells its product to you dear painter at cost.... they are all profit driven as you too probably are when you sell your paintings.... give me a break.... there are very few companies in america which are not profit driven.....

If you espouse only using very expensive paints in painting and that qualifies as "fine"art go ahead.... i challenge you and expect to find your paintings in the National Gallery in MoMA, etc..... just because you use expensive "fine"art paints..... when that day comes do notify us.....

for the rest of us who make art for art's sake and have fun, and do not have unlimited financial resources then we will continue to use the modern technologies available...Hooray for house paint at 15$cdn a gallon as opposed to tubes of acrylic at 20$cdn a tube - a tiny tube...

furthermore, please do some research regarding the longevity of house paints before you spout about 5, 6, 7, 10, or even 20 years..... Today's paints contain ultraviolet inhibitors, mildue inhibitors, elastic agents.... probably longer lasting than those paints used at the beginnings of the acrylic age.......

and who really is that egocentric that they paint only for 1000 years hence.... goodness knows, the renaissance painters are having their works undergo major restoration at this time.... Go into bronze sculpture if you want your work to last more than a lifetime....

Please phone up the gesso companies and find out that they are now using modern acryclic formulas in the production of their product.... you might just be a little disheartened to find that the old way of boiling down rabbit skins is not really used any more.......

So stop making judgement calls you know very little about and do your research into paint formulations before you discourage any one from taking up the gallon can....

to cobaltviolet..... forget about the ego trip and start painting.... take a look in the mirror and let others do their own thing without biased, unfounded, elitist, egocentric criticism.

do your homework and research the present, modern technologies in paints, gessos, etc....

I applaud the new painter who replied that he/she is using house paint ... cheap.... probably making a great deal of very exciting art.

Krysia Bower
Box 2802,
Bracebridge, Ontario
P1L 1W5
Canada

gogodi
04-26-2004, 07:20 PM
Thanks Krysia for the applaud. I really needed that . ;) I also mix up white glue with my paint . The quality that becomes transparent when it dries up. It makes the paint shine . So if you want to highlight something on your painting it works really great.


I am loving this site.

See you around.

stagfoot
04-26-2004, 07:22 PM
I use 2 parts of water base white paint the one they use as the base for mix up color and 2 parts of primer all of that 100% acrylic and 1 part of water. I paint it on a stretch canvas of 100% cotton and do 3 to 4 coats and I am ready to paint. I am thinking maybe I should add some glue or marble dust but I don't know to what amount .


Sounds like like you're making life too difficult for yourself, why not just use straight acrylic 'gesso' primer?
If you want to stiffen the canvas the glue should go down first, not be mixed with the primer.
Is this for an oil or for an acrylic painting?
As your recipe stands it should be fine for an acrylic painting and maybe OK, maybe not, for an oil painting.
If it's for an oil work it should be fine for the first 50 years or so, and then when the oil paint gets brittle, it maybe ( or maybe not according to how much tooth is in the primeing layer) in danger of lifting off in flakes should the canvas be subject to movement.

gogodi
04-26-2004, 07:40 PM
I did not explain myself well enough . I use glue with paint while painting with acrylic. Not for preparing. I have really no idea at all. I just started painted a few months ago by myself . That's why I am so glad I found you guys to help out.

Thanks again. :music:

cobaltviolet
04-26-2004, 11:29 PM
Start painting???? What do you call what Ive been doing the past 40 yrs??????
And yes I am devoted to archival materials, and I am not wealthy, I just have my way of doing art.

I hope that it's OK with you if I perfer art made archivally to both buy and sell.

lenu
04-26-2004, 11:54 PM
Gogodi,

Sorry, I couldn't really advise you on your specific question.

What I do is relatively simple and old-fashioned. For acrylics when I stretch my own raw canvas, I simply prime it with acrylic primer and paint with tube paints. Simple. For oils on canvas, I size with rabbitskin glue and then prime with an oil ground. Time consuming, but easy once you do it a few times. And the cost is a fraction of the price of quality prestretched, oil primed canvas.

To Krysia,

Obviously my smart alec reply to cobaltviolet's post was at least unclear. It was in no way intended to ridicule or belittle. Please allow me to attempt to be more clear.

There is nothing wrong with profit. I'm all for it. Of course, without profit no company can continue to exist and provide products and/or services. Coatings manufacturers, artist materials manufacturers, plumbers and widget-makers. They all have to be profitable or be gone. I mistakenly thought it was clear that profit is not the issue. At least, it's not my issue.

I believe that we can rely on wall coatings manufacturers to develop and provide products that will meet or exceed the requirements of their marketplace at a competitive price. Those requirements include meeting life expectancy standards without unacceptable deterioration for their (wall coatings) industry. With the research and technology available today, the decision makers for the coatings companies can surely provide the products that meet a exceed those (wall coatings) standards. Those decision makers also surely recognize the urgent absolute need to control costs so that they can provide their products at a competitive price. Because of those cost constraints, I don't believe we can expect them to produce coatings that will exceed wall coating life expectancy standards by much. With ultraviolet inhibitors, mildew inhibitors, elastic agents, etc., etc., etc., the life expectancy of wall coatings is still relatively short. How long do you expect the paint on your wall to last? I should think that a coatings manufacturer would look with pride at a wall with 50 year old paint that is now starting to flake and peel. The event would likely be featured in their next ad campaign. And justifiably so.

I don't expect to have my work in the National Gallery or the Museum of Modern Art. I am a student. Have been for 50+ years. I read and study to an extent and depth that a lay person can. But a technical guru I'm not. To date I have produced my art because I love it. Its primary audience is myself and my family. I am now creating a small body of work that I hope to show and maybe sell.

At this point, I have very limited resources, but for my own satisfaction I buy the best materials I can afford. I strive to learn and grow and produce the best art my modest abilities will allow.

It's true that I don't know everything. That doesn't mean I don't know anything. For instance, Acrylic primer is not gesso. Gesso is, by definition, hide glue (rabbitskin is the best), a chalk (marble dust is the most readily obtainable), a pigment (usually Titanium Dioxide) and water. It is used on panels, not stretched canvas (too brittle for a flexible support). It is used primarily to prepare panels for oils and egg tempera and not for acrylics. And yes, rabbitskin glue is being used every day by artists right here on WC.

No, Krysia, I don't think that using very expensive paint qualifies as fine art. I do believe in using the best materials that meet the needs and the budget. If acrylics were $20 per tiny tube, I might rethink things and take up woodcarving.

And those renaissance works, only 500 years and already they need restoration. My work probably won't require restoration. It'll probably be in the trash if I let it out of my sight. However, I find it personally satisfying to strive for the best work I can achieve. And, for me at least that includes using the best materials for the purpose that I can afford and the best techniques that my modest abilities permit.

If modern house paint is equal to or superior to modern artist paints for art work, I defer to your superior technical knowledge. I suppose I'll just play the fool and continue to plod along with my old fashioned materials. Sorry if that offends you. If house paint meets your needs, go for it!

Len

Marc Hanson
04-27-2004, 12:01 AM
Please let me know of a gesso company that is not profit driven and which sells its product to you dear painter at cost.... they are all profit driven as you too probably are when you sell your paintings.... give me a break.... there are very few companies in america ( that would be America thank you)which are not profit driven.....
Some of us aren't embarrased by profit, it buys food and quality art supplies. This is such a 'tired' old argument, get a new one!

So stop making judgement calls you know very little about and do your research into paint formulations before you discourage any one from taking up the gallon can....
That's rather judgemental on your part I'd say.

to cobaltviolet..... forget about the ego trip and start painting.... take a look in the mirror and let others do their own thing without biased, unfounded, elitist, egocentric criticism.
You should take your own suggestion....is your keyboard still on fire???
Krysia Bower
Box 2802,
Bracebridge, Ontario
P1L 1W5
Canada

Cobalt violet,
I hope that you are ignoring this extremely unhappy and unfullfilled rambling tyrant! ;)

Michael24
04-28-2004, 10:22 PM
With so much emotional energy exhibited, its a wonder if anyone has the strength to paint after that!!


Commercial house paints, as stated in a previous post, is a suitable product for houses. Using them for fine arts... well you do that at your own risk, and perhaps at the risk to the potential buyer of your artwork.

House paints in many cases have acrylic and styrene blends. The chemistry is complex. However, the styrene is the culprit that contributes to short-term degredation. Its the resin used in cheap student grade paints.

I can't stress how complex acrylic paints are in their formulations. They are a marvel of modern polymer science. Serious artists paint companies put forth a tremendous effort to use the right acrylic resin mixtures with just enough of the additives to make a product that has flexibility without being rubber-like, hard without being glass-like and a rheology that provides good working properties. That's without the addition of pigment!! That adds a whole other level of complexity. Too much pigment and it becomes a dry coagulated mess, too little and it has weak tinting and covering strength.

Commercial house paint is formulated with the same precision for its intended purpose. It needs to expand and contract, retain pigment and binder integrity under varying weather conditions and be easy to apply. (Lots of other factors go into house paints as well)

House paints are made to have a moderately short life span. The binder breaks down even with a UV blocker. The pigment starts to come off in what we call chalking. (Paint companies like to call chalking *self-cleaning*)

Here is my point. If you want to mess around and practice painting or do some preliminary sketching using house paints that's fine. But, when foks in galleries and even here on WC talk about paintings selling for several thousands of dollars, I'm sorry, but I don't want to buy a work of art for that price make from house paint.

You can site Pollock all you want. His works are falling apart and need a ton of conservation. But as a cultural icon, he has been deemed to be worth saving.

Without analysis who is going to tell a buyer that the painting they are buying is loaded with styrene which will break down and fail. It may look like an acrylic painting made from artists grade products, but it certainly won't age the same with these commercial products.

If you paint only for yourself, then only you care how your paintings will last. I think it is an artists responsibility when making the transition from painting only for personal pleasure to entering a contractual sale, to provide a work of art that avoids materials that contain inherent vice. I think the responsibility increase as the sales price increases.

Michael Skalka

lkk17
04-29-2004, 11:40 AM
Michael,

I've been reading through this thread, and I just want to say that I really appreciate your sharing your expertise and knowledge with everyone -- both those who are posting now and those who will read the posts now and in the future.

While no discussion board is immune from flames, the signal-to-noise ratio on WetCanvas is very high indeed, and it is posts like yours that help make it so.

Most people can't afford to use the most archival materials every time they pick up a brush. Fragility and impermanence can even be intentional and beautiful -- I recall one artwork made of fresh rosebuds, that was designed to change as the rosebuds faded and browned.

But I want to understand my craft as well as I can, so that when I try to produce something for posterity (if only for my children!), I get what I am aiming for. And if I can get more archival materials for the same money, I certainly want to know how to make the choice.

Knowedge is power -- thanks for sharing yours -- Lisa

Michael24
04-29-2004, 11:58 AM
Michael,

Most people can't afford to use the most archival materials every time they pick up a brush. Fragility and impermanence can even be intentional and beautiful -- I recall one artwork made of fresh rosebuds, that was designed to change as the rosebuds faded and browned.

But I want to understand my craft as well as I can, so that when I try to produce something for posterity (if only for my children!), I get what I am aiming for. And if I can get more archival materials for the same money, I certainly want to know how to make the choice.

Knowedge is power -- thanks for sharing yours -- Lisa

Thanks for your message.

Your rosebud artwork made me think of the contrast between a work of art that is intentionally made to change and one that changes but without the intention of the artists. Most of the time this happens because the artist is unaware of the impermanence of the materials employed.

Experimentation can be wonderful. However, if it as the expense of the intent of the artist, even the creator of the work may regret the experiment. As stated, the chemisty is complex and its hard to know all of the ramifications.

Many art materials manufacturers I have met are very concerned with longevity of their materials. The go to great lengths to make stable, permanent products. Unfortunately, these materials and the labor make much of the art products rather expensive.

Hope you find materials that suit your needs.


Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

lkk17
04-29-2004, 03:15 PM
Your rosebud artwork made me think of the contrast between a work of art that is intentionally made to change and one that changes but without the intention of the artists. Most of the time this happens because the artist is unaware of the impermanence of the materials employed.

...

Many art materials manufacturers I have met are very concerned with longevity of their materials. The go to great lengths to make stable, permanent products. Unfortunately, these materials and the labor make much of the art products rather expensive.

Hope you find materials that suit your needs.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Michael, I should clarify -- I did not create the rosebud artwork! It was made by an artist colleague years ago at the multi-discipline Bunting Institute at Radcliffe (I was there as a mathematician). She was brilliant -- I just paint pictures.

Being a "science type", I am very interested in conservation issues regarding both museum pieces and my own efforts. I pay a lot of attention to what pigments I use and how my painting supports are built. I try to learn all I can about the "science of art".

I have a "day job" in a non-art field. Ironically, this means I can afford archival artist-quality materials, while some people who are trying to support themselves as artists cannot.

So do I want to express some sympathy for the people whose posts seem to say that (at least for them) process is more important than product. But for myself, I always try use the best materials I can, and I would not knowingly purchase artwork made without regard for permanence.

-- Lisa

bestof
04-29-2004, 03:34 PM
. (Paint companies like to call chalking *self-cleaning*)

Michael Skalka

Hehe-

I'm wondering how are the paintings by Keith Haring on tarps doing? I saw some vinyl on sale at the fabric store at bought some, thinking the paint wouldn't stick, but it sticks really well and I like the smooth surface. It's 12 gauge(kinda thick). I'm just wondering, will it start releasing gases and deteriorate soon or will it last at least a few hundred years? I know mylar is used to preserve comics and baseball cards, but I'm not sure of the difference between that and vinyl.

Thanks for such a great thread!

Michael24
04-30-2004, 09:24 AM
Hehe-

I'm wondering how are the paintings by Keith Haring on tarps doing? I saw some vinyl on sale at the fabric store at bought some, thinking the paint wouldn't stick, but it sticks really well and I like the smooth surface. It's 12 gauge(kinda thick). I'm just wondering, will it start releasing gases and deteriorate soon or will it last at least a few hundred years? I know mylar is used to preserve comics and baseball cards, but I'm not sure of the difference between that and vinyl.

Thanks for such a great thread!

I assume you are using acrylic paint? Sorry, vinyl is not on any of our list of painting surfaces. Its pretty active chemically. To get plastic to be fairly rubbery it needs plasticizers. They maintain plastics' flexibility. I am not certain but a commercial vinyl may not have been made for long term use. So its not so much the gasses as it is the components that make it flexible. Look up via Google the Barbie Doll mess. The plasticizers that go into making Barbie soft and plyable after 20-30 years are now making Barbie a gooey sticky mess.

Michael Skalka

gogodi
04-30-2004, 04:20 PM
With so much emotional energy exhibited, its a wonder if anyone has the strength to paint after that!!


Commercial house paints, as stated in a previous post, is a suitable product for houses. Using them for fine arts... well you do that at your own risk, and perhaps at the risk to the potential buyer of your artwork.

House paints in many cases have acrylic and styrene blends. The chemistry is complex. However, the styrene is the culprit that contributes to short-term degredation. Its the resin used in cheap student grade paints.

I can't stress how complex acrylic paints are in their formulations. They are a marvel of modern polymer science. Serious artists paint companies put forth a tremendous effort to use the right acrylic resin mixtures with just enough of the additives to make a product that has flexibility without being rubber-like, hard without being glass-like and a rheology that provides good working properties. That's without the addition of pigment!! That adds a whole other level of complexity. Too much pigment and it becomes a dry coagulated mess, too little and it has weak tinting and covering strength.

Commercial house paint is formulated with the same precision for its intended purpose. It needs to expand and contract, retain pigment and binder integrity under varying weather conditions and be easy to apply. (Lots of other factors go into house paints as well)

House paints are made to have a moderately short life span. The binder breaks down even with a UV blocker. The pigment starts to come off in what we call chalking. (Paint companies like to call chalking *self-cleaning*)

Here is my point. If you want to mess around and practice painting or do some preliminary sketching using house paints that's fine. But, when foks in galleries and even here on WC talk about paintings selling for several thousands of dollars, I'm sorry, but I don't want to buy a work of art for that price make from house paint.

You can site Pollock all you want. His works are falling apart and need a ton of conservation. But as a cultural icon, he has been deemed to be worth saving.

Without analysis who is going to tell a buyer that the painting they are buying is loaded with styrene which will break down and fail. It may look like an acrylic painting made from artists grade products, but it certainly won't age the same with these commercial products.

If you paint only for yourself, then only you care how your paintings will last. I think it is an artists responsibility when making the transition from painting only for personal pleasure to entering a contractual sale, to provide a work of art that avoids materials that contain inherent vice. I think the responsibility increase as the sales price increases.

Michael Skalka



Very interesting discusion, Right now I am painting for myself in order to learn what to use and how. I guess you are right about use the right material in order to have a good solid achievement that can last for years to come. I will soon start to use better material also. Thanks for all the advice I really got enlighten.

Thanks a lot evrybody

:clap: G. Art-Vie, Quebecoise

bestof
05-01-2004, 02:43 PM
I assume you are using acrylic paint? Sorry, vinyl is not on any of our list of painting surfaces. Its pretty active chemically. To get plastic to be fairly rubbery it needs plasticizers. They maintain plastics' flexibility. I am not certain but a commercial vinyl may not have been made for long term use. So its not so much the gasses as it is the components that make it flexible. Look up via Google the Barbie Doll mess. The plasticizers that go into making Barbie soft and plyable after 20-30 years are now making Barbie a gooey sticky mess.

Michael Skalka

Yes, acrylic. I looked into it a bit more and everyone says vinyl stinks for longevity. Polypropolene is used for archival purposes(I was told it's inert)so I may try to paint on that.

Pilan
05-25-2004, 10:44 AM
So many posts here I can't seem to find what I need.

If a person is using 1/4 inch birch panels for painting support, what would be the preferred priming method and materials?

Thanks
Pilan

Einion
05-25-2004, 11:44 AM
Hi Pilan, is this birch plywood or a plain birch board? I’m guessing it’s ply but you never know :) Also, are you painting in oils or acrylics? Some priming methods are equally suitable for either.

Einion

Pilan
05-25-2004, 12:31 PM
good questions. I forgot to say :eek: !

1/4 inch I am supposing it would be panel. but then can you purchase 1/4 birch board? If so, I would purchase board at lowes home improvement store if they sell it. I have always wanted to paint on birch. I had in the past twice and liked it. The panels I purchased was already made and pricey so I want to cut my own.

Is the method for priming different for board and panels? Can you give me both methods, please? Also, I paint in oils.

Thanks,
P

Hi Pilan, is this birch plywood or a plain birch board? I’m guessing it’s ply but you never know :) Also, are you painting in oils or acrylics? Some priming methods are equally suitable for either.

Einion

Einion
05-25-2004, 03:20 PM
I think it's likely this is plywood and not a solid board at this thickness, just wanted to be careful as I don't know what's available in the US. By the way, as a general term panel just means a board, in the old days it referred to solid wood (usually quite thick) like the Mona Lisa is painted on, these days it often refers to plywood but it can mean hardboard or even MDF. Plywood is a lot more dimensionally stable than solid wood panels so in some respects is much better, although the glues that bind the layers together do degrade over time (decades). FWIW I think good-quality hardboard is a better idea for the long term if this is a concern at all, they don't contain added glue like MDF and plywood so, appropriately primed, should last very well.

Anyway, for oils there are a couple of options in terms of prep. Regardless of the method you use you should first lightly sand the face of the board that you want to paint on with medium-grit sandpaper, to scuff the surface and remove any minor surface contaminants.

If you don't have a problem with painting over an acrylic primer, buy a good brand of acrylic 'gesso' that is intended for both acrylic and oils and check to see if they recommend sizing first, most don't and if the primer layer is thick enough it's really not necessary. If you're cautious you can do it anyway, in which case I would use either PVA glue or acrylic medium.

Apply the primer by brush or roller in a number of layers, applied at right angles to the last (helps prevent brushmarks building up if you use a bristle brush). You don't have to sand between layers but if you want a smooth finish at the end of the day a light sanding to knock the high spots down is a good idea. I would use about five to seven layers of 'gesso', three is about average I think; a lot depends on the consistency straight from the container, how thickly you apply each layer and whether you thin it. Once you've finished priming you can sand it smooth if you want a flat surface, if you like the brushy texture just leave it to dry. Although acrylic looks and might feel dry in quite a short time I'd leave it a day or so before beginning painting, particularly if it's humid.

I personally feel you should prime the back and all edges of boards for various reasons but mostly to isolate it as much as possible from changes in humidity. This isn't as much of an issue with plywood as it is with hardboard though.

If you want a smooth, flat surface I recommend wet-sanding as you don't have to worry about dust and it's a lot less effort than using normal sandpaper (unless you use a palm sander of course :)) but you need to be careful of the water if you have only primed the face of the board. Remember that oils need a good degree of tooth in their ground to bind to properly so don't go overboard on the sanding. With acrylics you can paint on a surface wet-sanded to P800 but this is almost certainly too smooth when painting in oils, so 100-200 grit is maybe the finest you should go – the final finish should have a definite drag if you draw a fingernail over the surface, something like an egg shell.

If you want to go with something more traditional, you can size the panel and then use a lead/oil primer. Most any Lead White/Cremnitz White bound in linseed oil should be appropriate. The traditional size is 'rabbit-skin' glue but I would recommend PVA or acrylic medium. There are a number of threads in the Oil Painting forum on applying oil grounds from people more familiar with it than I am but I wouldn't recommend sanding the surface.

Finally there's also true gesso to consider although I don't think it's a good ground for oil painting myself even on a rigid substrate. If you want to try it, again I'm sure there are threads that deal with how to do it and a number of the painter's guides give detailed instructions (it's pretty labour-intensive).

Einion

Pilan
05-27-2004, 01:33 PM
Thanks Einion, I printed this out.

P

bowdog
07-24-2004, 03:47 PM
wow,

Here I was thinking I was sneaking around behind the Masters of Painting, when all along there's all these folks struggling with the same questions I have.

I've been battling with myself for weeks now about the gesso vs primer question, and it's painful to hear primer is getting beat down so bad.

I keep seeing this guy in overalls down at the Paint Factory scratching his head as he fills up all those big primer containers and then switches to the little half pint gesso containers - same paint, different bottles, and a dicotomy of prices.

Anyways, thanks for everyone who took the time to write in on here.

hovawart
01-29-2009, 02:47 AM
Priming: The act of creating a sealing layer on a canvas or support to form a stable foundation for your painting. It seals the support from the paint layer. In oil painting this is important because oil paint will oxidize canvas and destroy it over time.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC[/quote]

Does anyone ever use shellac, a natural product made from bugs?

Einion
01-29-2009, 11:06 AM
Priming: The act of creating a sealing layer on a canvas or support to form a stable foundation for your painting. It seals the support from the paint layer. In oil painting this is important because oil paint will oxidize canvas and destroy it over time.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Does anyone ever use shellac, a natural product made from bugs?
Shellac is used by some artists as a size on board materials (it's brittle, so a poor choice for canvas). This would be underneath the primer layer in most people's prep method, if used.

Einion

gunzorro
01-29-2009, 07:12 PM
Hone uses shellac as a sealer for mounted paper before painting on it with oils. He uses no additional priming.

Dave Hawk
02-03-2009, 07:21 PM
hovawart; I use shellac but only for french polishing and sealing a new piece of mahogany before finishing. Over time the shellac will yellow greatly and is thought of as a galery finish and not much use for it these days. I've cleaned old oil painting and found some have a shellac coating on them which is easely removed.