View Full Version : what type of surface to paint acrylics

09-17-2004, 11:06 AM
I just did my 2nd Acrylic. This time on a hard board covered with gessoed canvas. I don't like it compared to just canvase over a frame. I couldn't seem to spread well. I don't think it absorbed as quickly either. Probably secondary to the hard surface under the canvas.Any suggestions on the best surface to paint acrylics.



09-17-2004, 11:27 AM
I use stretched canvas, which I really like. The one time I used canvas board, I didn't like the lack of "spring" in my strokes.


09-17-2004, 12:05 PM
I agree, nothing beats a stretched canvas. Some people like smoother surfaces but I am not that good at blending anyways. However wood is also fun. :wave:

09-17-2004, 12:50 PM
I like to paint on gessoed hardboard & gessoed luann. It' means of course I have to gesso them myself but it gives me something to do in between projects.

09-17-2004, 01:52 PM
I agree with Ms Lilypond, gessoed hardboard and Luan are terrific.
Since I like a smoother surface, gessoed illustration board, matboard and water color paper also work well for me! I too gesso the stuff myself!
I still use various canvas possibilities from time to time, but the raised surface has become a negative and gets in my way!! :)

09-17-2004, 03:03 PM

Thats it. Your right its the raised surface that I have trouble with on the hard board covered with canvas. Thanks. I just bought some System 3 by Dawler and Rowney and Lyons canvas. Hope it works well.



09-17-2004, 03:15 PM
I prefer working on canvas or 4 ply museum board. Stonehenge is a good paper to work acrylics on since it has a bit of texture, but is mostly smooth. It is also a very strong paper.

09-17-2004, 07:46 PM
With out a doubt, Claybord Original Smooth by Ampersand is my all time favorite surface to paint on. Try some out, you won't be disappointed.



09-17-2004, 08:01 PM
i decide which surface i want, dependant on the subject matter, and what technique i am planning on using.

on a simple subject with a "quick study" feel to it, acrylics in a water-color type technique, i like the Canson watercolor block paper.

for heavy, thick paint application technique i like canvas-board.

and for everyday paintings... i like stretched canvas.

Marty C
09-17-2004, 08:23 PM
Acrylics can be applied to just about any surface - canvas, linen, paper, hardboard, MDF and a few I have also seen include stone and glass. It comes down to personal preference. I used MDF initially, but when I started bigger works stretched canvas was the way to go - lighter, no frame required.

09-20-2004, 11:04 AM

I have the sanded Ampersand Pastel board for pastels. I should try it for acrylics. I just gessoed some 300# W&N WC paper. I will try that soon. It obviously wount absorb. The gesso by Golden feels so nice and smooth. It has brush lines but thats OK. If this works and I like it it is cheaper to do WC and gesso. Cheaper than canvas.

Thanks all


09-20-2004, 12:49 PM
I glue (using acrylic medium) canvas to boards frequently...and you have the options of various weaves, and applying a number of coats of gesso, which then can also be sanded down.

You can mix a bit of marble dust or pumice with gesso to create textures to apply to the canvas.

The other option is gessoing hardboard with a number of coats of gesso, or the pumice + gesso and painting on the board or smooth board. The stick on cost cutting in the plein air forum has a good demo by Marc Hanson...and his recipes for this. In my Industry Partner forum will be a WC published article demo on making canvas board supports.

At the moment, I am experimenting gluing watercolor paper to hardboard (masonite) with acrylic medium. Then applying various coats of gesso. Using a sponge applicator brush you can dab the drying gesso to create a textured even rhythm feel. Or after a number of gesso coats sand it down.

I left the gesso on my last one after three coats as was...feeling quite velvety.

Technically...anything not nailed down could make for a good support for acrylic.

I know an artist who buys hollow veneer wooden doors, gessos and paints on those.


09-21-2004, 12:04 PM
"I know an artist who buys hollow veneer wooden doors, gessos and paints on those."---I like that idea!

Painting on anything excerpt stretched canvas is new to me, and I have some questions:

The last 2 paintings I did were on gessoed hardboard, which seemed to work fine. Then I decided to glue canvas to hardboard, and the medium that I used as glue just soaked right in and it was difficult to get the canvas to stick. Should I have sealed the hardboard first? When you say hardboard, are we talking about the stuff from the home imp store? I started to wonder then if my gessoed hb is going to last, or if the gesso might eventually lift off. I still have some hb, so before I put canvas on it I intend to seal it with something (what?)

Yesterday I bought some masonite (tempered, although the guy at the store said there was no such thing as "tempered" board--they temper glass and steel, not boards. I explained that *I* didn't name it--it's always been called that, and it means that it's treated. And he said "Well, I never heard of it." I wanted to tell him: Well, young whippersnapper, there are probably a few things you haven't heard of--but I didn't say it.
I got the thin stuff, the thicker seemed like it would be pretty heavy for a large painting--3'x4'--? The thin stuff, on the other hand seems pretty flexible--after it has a canvas glued to it and gesso on it, maybe it will not be quite so bendy?


09-21-2004, 01:31 PM

I have links in my Industry Partner forum covering various how-to topics, and here is one link that show steps to making canvas board, and invite you to check it out.



09-23-2004, 01:07 AM
Thanks, Larry--

I had looked at that and bought medium to use to glue the canvas. The mistake I made was to get hardboard instead of treated masonite, so I had some trouble with it. I looked at it today as it was dry, and found that in one place by the edge there was a long narrow bubble--just because of the hb sucking up the glue, I'm sure. I'm going to prick a hole in the bubble and try to force some medium in there and press it down; hope that works!

THEN I'm going to glue some canvas to masonite.

Thanks again for the instructions with pictures (I like pics). They were very clear and easy--except for someone who didn't follow them exactly!