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Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 12:41 PM
When I'm not working on canvas on board or stretched, this is the other surface that I really like to work on. As you'll see it is an acrylic primer but I 'juice' it up with modeling paste and powdered pumice, and then apply a grey tone that is just perfect. I have named my version of this 'Marc's Cheap...Perfect Panel'...had to name it something! :D

There've been several threads on panels lately, and I'm adding to the traffic jam. I'm spending this morning making up a 2'x4' sheet of 'marker board' into 6) 9x12's, 2) 11x14's, 2) 8x10's and 1) 6x8 (the left over piece). This marker board is from Home Depot. It is 1/8" hardboard with a melamine coating on the back side that is an automatic 'warp' preventative coating (saves me from having to spend the time coating it), and sealer. In lieu of this any 1/8" untempered hardboard is fine to use, I don't like the rough on one side though because the imprint of the roughness creates a weak link and contributes to warping problems. Cost is about $ .50 cents a board. That is .25 cents for 10 panels ($2.50 for the board), and I figure about .25 cents per board for coatings, sandpaper, and brushes all reusable.
I cut the panels out with a carpet knife, mat knife utility knife or what ever you want to call it and a 3' aluminum ruler.

Materials Needed
Standard hardboard or marker board 1/8"( about $2.50 for a 2'x4' piece).
Cheap Bristle brushes (a pack of 9 asst'd sizes at H.Depot is ablut $6.00).
Acrylic primer, medium and modeling paste.
Pumice FFF finest grade.
Acrylic paint- raw umber, ivory black.
Denatured alcohol, ar acetone.
1" foam brush.
Sand paper

Mixtures -(mix the following ingredients)
!st Coat-
Acrylic Primer... 1 part
Modeling Paste... 1 part

Adjust the amounts so that you have a mixture that has the consistency of mayonnaise. I usually tint this with the acrylic paint so that I don't have white showing through the following layer.

2nd Coat--(mix the following)
Acrylic Primer... 2-3 cups
Pumice... 3-6 Tablespoons
Tint... Black and raw umber mixed with water to a warm gray.

After mixing all of this together, see if you have the right amount of grit in the mix. Do this by brushing some on a piece of scrap board, dry and then test with your finger. It should have the feeling of 600 grit sand paper or even finer.

Procedure -
1st Coat - (using the 1st coat mixture above)
1 - Sand and then clean the surface with the alcohol to cut any oil that may be on the surface.
2 - Paint on a coat of Acrylic medium to 'seal' the surface.
3 - Using a 2" brush paint on the 1st coat in a random manner. Try to create a 'brushy' texture by pushing and shoving the primer/modeling paste around in a 'spastic' manner. Put it on thick enough to completely cover the board with one coat. As it dries, continue to 'feather' the brush around the panel to knock down any unwanted texture. To get the texture that you like, you'll have to experiment with this step.
4 - Let dry. I uaually use a hair drier to speed this up.

2nd Coat - (using the 2nd coat mixture above)
1 - Using a 1" brush, apply the second coat in ( again ) a scrubbing, spastic manner. The idea is to create a non-uniform coat that will create and interesting surface.

Finally -
If you are using a hardboard that isn't like the marker board with the coating on the back, now's the time to give the back a couple of coats of paint. I typically just use any house latex paint that I have around. This isn't going to be painted on, it's just to prevent warping. Acrylic Primer is too expensive to use for this purpose.

Final Thoughts
I find it is best to cut the 2' x 4' board into panels and then prime. They don't warp as easy when they are cut to size and then primed. The last thing to do is to use a small (1") foam brush to coat the edges so that the oil doesn't absorb into the panel.
Chances are that you will have to adjust these mixtures to suit your own taste. Adding too much pumice is one thing to watch for. You will know right away because it will eat you brush and be very difficult to apply paint on. If you are out painting when you discover this, one solution is to take a palette knife and scrape the surface lightly. Sand paper will also do the job.
I hope that you'll give these a try. They are a real cost saver and so much better than simply priming with the acrylic primer alone, which is a surface that I have never liked to paint on. With the pumice there is plenty of tooth in the surface and I don't have any worry about adhesion. A 2'x4' board will give you 8(10x12's) and 2(8x12's), or 12(8x10's) and 2(8x12's), or 8(9x12's) and 3(8x12's)...etc...

Here are a few photos of supplies and this panel lay out. I've also included a photo of the texture that I like so much about this surface. My latest paintings posted the last couple of days were painted on these panels.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-May-2004/37743-panels-1.jpg Layout

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-May-2004/37743-panels-2.jpg Back of the marker board

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-May-2004/37743-panels-3.jpg Supplies

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/12-May-2004/37743-panels-4.jpg Texture on panel

Eugene Veszely
05-12-2004, 12:46 PM
Way to go Marc!!! :)

When I read the thread I thought you might mean more boards/panels are flaking and had paint falling off!!! Glad to see it isnt :)

JamieWG
05-12-2004, 02:39 PM
Marc, what is the "modeling paste"? Is that something you get at Home Depot too, or is it from an art supplier?

Thanks for sharing all this, with pictures too no less!

Jamie

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 02:46 PM
Marc, what is the "modeling paste"? Is that something you get at Home Depot too, or is it from an art supplier?

Thanks for sharing all this, with pictures too no less!

Jamie
Jamie,
Modeling paste, or sometimes called molding paste is an acrylic based product made by Golden, Liquitex and others, and is used to create sculptural and textural surfaces on board. You find it at the same place you find other acrylic paints and mediums. I use it to 'hold' the brush strokes on the panel to create the texture that I want.

JamieWG
05-12-2004, 02:48 PM
Thank you, Marc. 'Will order some soon.

Jamie

coh
05-12-2004, 02:54 PM
Marc,

Thanks for posting this information. A couple of questions:

1) Your picture shows a container of "gesso". Is that what you
use when you say "acrylic medium" or "acrylic primer" or are
those different things?

2) Later you comment on not liking to paint on the acrylic primer
alone. How does this surface differ? I imagine it is rougher (the pumice)
and more textured. How about in terms of absorption?

I've generally been just slapping a couple of layers of "liquitex
acrylic gesso" on my boards and am wondering how that compares
to your surfaces. I don't really like the resulting surface but am
not sure why (haven't tried other products, as I still have a fair amount of
the gesso to use up). The gesso seems to produce an acceptable surface on canvas, though.

Chris

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 02:54 PM
Thank you, Marc. 'Will order some soon.

Jamie
I forgot to mention that Liquitex makes a 'light' version. I use this one because it is easier to mix into the primer(wish I could call it gesso!), the heavy version is really thick and hard to mix and quite a bit heavier. Also, if you use this on it's own, always coat it with an additional coat of primer, it is very porous and there would be a large 'sucking' sound when you paint on it if it isn't overcoated with primer. In my example it is mixed into the primer so no overcoating is really needed, but in the second coat of my procedure, you are doing just that.

James or Jimmy Jim
05-12-2004, 02:59 PM
Marc, thanks for this, you're just too knid to us all. I'll be saving this for future use!

When I read the title, I thought you found a mouse in the primer :D

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 03:06 PM
1) Your picture shows a container of "gesso". Is that what you
use when you say "acrylic medium" or "acrylic primer" or are
those different things?
The manufacturers still call it 'acrylic gesso', as you have probably noticed there is a movement to begin calling it 'acrylic primer' because it isn't gesso like the traditional whiting/rabbit skin glue 'gesso'. Semantics! Acrylic medium is the translucent fluid that is mixed into acrylic paint as a medium or in this case used to seal the panel first.


2) Later you comment on not liking to paint on the acrylic primer
alone. How does this surface differ? I imagine it is rougher (the pumice)
and more textured. How about in terms of absorption?
Right, Just acrylic primer is very unattractive to me. The pumice makes a more absorbent surface that takes the paint and feels good to me to work on. It is a drier surface that allows you to add layers pretty easily. Having said that, you'd have to try it to see if you feel the same. The trick with this is to fine out how much pumice it takes to make the kind of surface that is right for you. I usually paint some on a scrap piece of cardboard as a test before coating an entire set of panels.


I've generally been just slapping a couple of layers of "liquitex
acrylic gesso" on my boards and am wondering how that compares
to your surfaces. I don't really like the resulting surface but am
not sure why
As I mentioned above, the straight acrylic primer made now days is more of a plastic-like surface than it used to be. The old 'Hyplar' acrylic primer(no longer made) had something in it that created more of this type of surface and wasn't half bad to work on. And there might be another manufacturer like David Davis in NY that makes a better grade primer, but this recipe works with the cheaper more available Acrylic primers so is more convenient to use.

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 03:09 PM
Marc, thanks for this, you're just too knid to us all. I'll be saving this for future use!

When I read the title, I thought you found a mouse in the primer :D

MOUSE !!!!! I'm no 'sthissy. :rolleyes:

coh
05-12-2004, 04:25 PM
Marc,

Your answer to my 2 questions finally cleared up a lot of the
confusion I had regarding the "gesso" issue. It's been discussed
a lot recently in different places and yet despite reading through
many of those discussions I still didn't quite get it. So, thanks!

So maybe the "gesso" is part of my problem. I find that when I
try to start a painting with a thin wash, the wash just tends to
"sit there" and takes a long time to dry/absorb. Of course it then
muddies up subsequent layers, which also seem to slip around on
the board too easily. Things seem better on canvas with the same
gesso because of the nooks and crannies that hold the paint, I suppose.

Chris

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 04:59 PM
Marc,

Your answer to my 2 questions finally cleared up a lot of the
confusion I had regarding the "gesso" issue. It's been discussed
a lot recently in different places and yet despite reading through
many of those discussions I still didn't quite get it. So, thanks!

So maybe the "gesso" is part of my problem. I find that when I
try to start a painting with a thin wash, the wash just tends to
"sit there" and takes a long time to dry/absorb. Of course it then
muddies up subsequent layers, which also seem to slip around on
the board too easily. Things seem better on canvas with the same
gesso because of the nooks and crannies that hold the paint, I suppose.
Chris
Chris,
You've got it! Glad to be able to help.

Michael24
05-12-2004, 08:15 PM
Marc:

A very interesting way of achieving more texture. Curious about the pumice layer. Do you not find that the textured mediums made by a number of manufacturers do the same job as the pumice layer? The mediums with garnet, ground lava and glass beads are very course. Modeling paste and fine sand seem to be smoother.

Just one note of caution. The pumice will disturb the medium to solids ratio a bit. I would add a tablespoon or 2 of acrylic medium to your pumice layer to make sure that layer does not get medium starved.

Related, - have you ever added chalk to oil paint. It dries it up like the green sawdust that janitors used in grade school to clean up spills and unfortunate childhood illness matters. Now that is totally underbound paint. The same can happen to acrylics when too much dry material robs the mixture of medium and does not coat the particles properly.

Have you ever looked at MDO plywood. It has a covering that gives you a warp resistant surface. Also be careful. Even though it is acrylic and flexible, you may have cracking problems if your coating is very thick and expecially if it is a bit underbound. The hardboard you are using has a lot of flex and given the thickness could cause some of the material to pop off.

Have fun painting...


Michael Skalka

Michael24
05-12-2004, 08:24 PM
Marc:
PS: A product called Pumice Gel by Golden is also on the market. You might want to compare it to what you are using. It is said to add tooth and come in a course and fine version. The number of medium mixes could run into the thousands if you mixed and matched until you got all the combinations. Example: mix pumice gel and absorbent ground or pastel ground and get a highly absorbent toothy ground.

Later...

Michael Skalka

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 08:59 PM
Marc:

A very interesting way of achieving more texture. Curious about the pumice layer. Do you not find that the textured mediums made by a number of manufacturers do the same job as the pumice layer? The mediums with garnet, ground lava and glass beads are very course. Modeling paste and fine sand seem to be smoother.

Just one note of caution. The pumice will disturb the medium to solids ratio a bit. I would add a tablespoon or 2 of acrylic medium to your pumice layer to make sure that layer does not get medium starved.

Related, - have you ever added chalk to oil paint. It dries it up like the green sawdust that janitors used in grade school to clean up spills and unfortunate childhood illness matters. Now that is totally underbound paint. The same can happen to acrylics when too much dry material robs the mixture of medium and does not coat the particles properly.

Have you ever looked at MDO plywood. It has a covering that gives you a warp resistant surface. Also be careful. Even though it is acrylic and flexible, you may have cracking problems if your coating is very thick and expecially if it is a bit underbound. The hardboard you are using has a lot of flex and given the thickness could cause some of the material to pop off.

Have fun painting...


Michael Skalka

Michael- Do you think that a few table spoons of pumice in 2 or 3 cups of primer is enough to upset that balance? When I used to make my own pastel supports I did add medium to the mix, so it isn't a bad idea I agree. In my post I do warn folks to beware not to add too much pumice, for the reasons that you raise, and it will 'eat' brushes!

I like this because it isn't so coarse as to be difficult to paint on. This FFF pumice is like talc, a very fine powder. In factthe boards are no where near as coarse as Wallis paper if you are familiar with that. There isn't enough pumice in my mix to noticeably wear down a brush. That's why I haven't been too worried that I had added too much pumice to the primer.

Having tried Golden's primers with various grits I have to say that they were awful to paint on. Remember the old (not that old) Hyplar Acrylic Gesso (that's what they called it)? This mixture that I make is very similar to the texture of that, and takes the paint in much the same way. I don't know what they put in that product but the acrylic primer made now just isn't the same, seems more plastic.

As for the coats, there are just two, one that is thin and textured with the primer/modeling paste mix, followed by the toned primer/pumice coat. Both are thin so that doesn't worry me. You can see in the posted photo of the finished panel that there is very little texture. But if someone making these mis-interprets the notion of how thick a coat is, it could be a problem.

In my classes I demo this for them so they see just how thin these coats are applied. Putting these kinds of demos up here on WC, as long as I haven't completely led people astray in a big way, there is a little bit of hope that people will have some background knowledge and a basic understanding of what would be proper procedure in this regard, and if not will ask. By reading the back and forth on all of these ideas we have, the right information usually comes forward. That's a good thing!

I really appreciate you're following us here on WC Michael. I support your efforts to educate us all, and 'try' to follow your advice. Some of these issues like Dibond and MDO plywood are absolutely the ideal material and your procedures are without a doubt the correct way of dealing with the craft of painting. But, for a lot of us they aren't available, and/or are prohibitively expensive for everyday use. When we find some method that with a little care, or 'tweaking' is close to being the ideal, we have to give in to the reality of our situation, either practical or financial, and just keep working. That is the most important thing that a painter does. Without that, all of the best conservation practices don't mean a thing any way.

Let me know what you think, and thanks again for your concern.

Wayne Gaudon
05-12-2004, 10:18 PM
Michael24
I'd never before heard of MDO Plywood .. looked it up .. do you still need to gesso this stuff or could you just apply paint?

coh
05-12-2004, 10:35 PM
Marc,

A follow-up,after thinking about this some more: it seems the primary
function of layer 1 (primer+modeling paste) is to provide the surface
texture. So, if one wanted a more regular surface,
what about just doing 2 coats of the step 2 layer (primer+pumice)?
Would that produce a significant improvement compared to just
using the primer ("gesso") like I do now? Or have you found that
these two different layers are really needed to get significant
improvement?

I've got a bunch of pumice left over from a wood finishing project
(it was for pore filling a guitar that I built), but it is REALLY fine stuff
(it's called 6/0 whatever that means). Maybe I'll do some experimenting
on the next set of panels I make.

Chris

Marc Hanson
05-12-2004, 10:45 PM
Chris- sure I used to make this same basic board for pastel work. Instead of the 'spastic' strokes, I used a 2" foam brush and applied a criss-cross pattern using just the primer/gesso/and acrylic medium(as per Michael's suggestion)to make a smooth surface but with the tooth that the pumice provides.

Marc Hanson
05-13-2004, 10:31 AM
Here are the ten panels, finished and dry ready for me to ruin them!

If you've been following this thread, you have probably read Michael's suggestion to add Acrylic medium to the 2nd coating of primer/pumice to prevent the 'possible' over load of pigment to medium ratio.

In that regard, I added a tablespoon of medium to each cup of my pumice/primer mixture just to be safe. It didn't make any difference to the surface 'feel' of the board. So I would modify my instructions to say 'ADD 1 TABLESPOON OR SO OF ACRYLIC MEDIUM TO THE MIXTURE OF PRIMER AND PUMICE.' Also 'ONLY PUT TWO LIGHT COATS ON-ONE OF THE PRIMER/MODELING PASTE...ONE OF THE PRIMER/MEDIUM/PUMICE.'

Total time to make these(not including drying), was about 2 hours to mark,cut,sand,wipe clean, apply the two coats of primers.


http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-May-2004/37743-panels.jpg

coh
05-13-2004, 10:42 AM
Last night I threw together a quick mix of 1 tblsp pumice/1 cup
"gesso" (plus a little grey color) and painted it onto some boards
and paper that only had the gesso. Going to try it out sometime
this week (maybe today) and will let everyone know if it seems
to be a "better" surface.

By hand, the surface feels only very slightly grittier/rougher than
the plain gesso. The pumice I have may be a little bit too fine
but we'll see.

Chris

lkk17
05-13-2004, 11:49 AM
Hi Marc and everyone -- not to change the subject from priming materials, but I'd like to ask you a dumb question: How do you cut your hardboard?? That stuff is hard to cut!

I have a jigsaw and a circular saw. I've tried cutting hardboard with a blade designed for that use in the jigsaw, but it's hard to get straight edges. Do they make hardboard-cutting blades for circular saws? What do you use/recommend?

Thanks -- Lisa :confused:

Marc Hanson
05-13-2004, 11:53 AM
Marc:
PS: A product called Pumice Gel by Golden is also on the market. You might want to compare it to what you are using. It is said to add tooth and come in a course and fine version. The number of medium mixes could run into the thousands if you mixed and matched until you got all the combinations. Example: mix pumice gel and absorbent ground or pastel ground and get a highly absorbent toothy ground.

Later...

Michael Skalka

Michael,

Are you suggesting using the Golden Pumice Gel as the base for mixing into the primer? That's not a bad idea if that is what you mean. But if I add additional acrylic medium to my primer/pumice mix it would be 'strong', cheaper and 'customizing' the mix, easier to do.

I have a Pint of the Golden Fine Pumice Gel ($13.20 a couple of years ago!), and in reading the application procedures as I type), I noticed that they recommend a product called 'Golden Support Isolating Primer' to prevent SID from the support of which Masonite is one support they recommend using. Do you know what this Isolating Primer is? I'd like to look into that.

I bought this to use for pastel 'tooth' on paper but it was too coarse for pastel and very plastic. But if according to them and you, it can be mixed into other paint, mediums or gels, and can be thinned with water or medium....it would be a very good base because it could be modified in a more absorbant acrylic primer and would be a safer mix in terms of the ratios. ( Can you tell I'm thinking and typing at the same time...dangerous! ) The only negative is that there is only about .30 cents worth of pumice in this, considering I buy a pound of pumice for about $2.00, and they want to charge over $13.00 for it.

Marc Hanson
05-13-2004, 12:10 PM
Hi Marc and everyone -- not to change the subject from priming materials, but I'd like to ask you a dumb question: How do you cut your hardboard?? That stuff is hard to cut!

I have a jigsaw and a circular saw. I've tried cutting hardboard with a blade designed for that use in the jigsaw, but it's hard to get straight edges. Do they make hardboard-cutting blades for circular saws? What do you use/recommend?

Thanks -- Lisa :confused:

Lisa,
I use a Utility knife (it's on the table in the picture showing the boards and square), with a good supply of x-tra blades. If using 1/4" then I use a jig saw.

If you want to use the utility knife, make several light(each with more pressure) scores with the knife and ruler, turn it over, mark where the scores are on the ends, and make several more pressured scores on the back side. You will either cut through or through enough to 'snap' the cut over the edge of a table and clean up the edge with sandpaper.

The reason I prefer to do it this way rather than with a jig saw, is that I don't loose any 'yardage' because of the saw blade waste. When I buy the boards, I buy the 2'x4' pre-cut panels for convenience sake (and 4'x8' doesn't fit into my vehicle), and they are usually 2'x4' right on the nose. Using the U.knife I end up with exactly 'x' number of panels at 12" or whatever measurement I'm cutting. If using a power saw the allowance for the blade means that there will be waste, not a lot but some.

Many people have the lumber yard cut the boards for them, it costs to have them do it but if you place an order for 10- 9x12's, and they are accurate, that's what you should get whether they have to use more than just one board or not. That would be worth checking on.

If you want to use the jig saw to cut your own, get a 'panel' blade, the kind used for cutting counter top material, and you will have less waste and end up with a nice cut. To make straight cuts use an aluminum level or straight edge, measure or eyeball the blade to edge of foot(on saw) distance and clamp the straight edge to the board that distance equally from the line at both ends. Then when you cut keep the saw up against the straight edge and you should end up with a pretty good cut.

Here's the best way to do this...I place the saw on the board with the blade on the mark where the line begins, and clamp the straight edge up against the saw foot. Go to the other end and either measure the distance from the line to the straight edge and clamp that end at that same distance.

Why this concern about having exact 9" or 12" or 10"...... measurements? If you buy ready made frames, or like me have made wet panel boxes with little grooves that only invade the side of the image 1/8 to 3/16 of an inch, there isn't any room to have dimensions that are off by 1/8" or so. The boards either won't fit(too large), or will fall out(too small).

Hope this helps.

coh
05-13-2004, 12:46 PM
Marc wrote

make several light(each with more pressure) scores with the knife and
ruler, turn it over, mark where the scores are on the ends, and make
several more pressured scores on the back side.

Yes, I found out the hard way that it is crucial to make cuts on
both sides - otherwise the board will not break cleanly when you
try to bend it. It will tear leaving a ragged edge.

I had a lumber yard cut up a 4x8 ft panel a few years ago and it
was pretty expensive. And they weren't real careful about the
sizes so I wound up with a bunch of pieces that were too small...
lesson learned.

Chris

lkk17
05-13-2004, 01:16 PM
Lisa,
I use a Utility knife (it's on the table in the picture showing the boards and square), with a good supply of x-tra blades.
Aha! (insert light bulb icon here) I've never tried cutting hardboard with a knife, only sawing it. I will definitely go try your technique! I would love to be able to cut this stuff myself.

Thanks, Marc! -- Lisa

Marc Hanson
05-13-2004, 01:19 PM
Aha! (insert light bulb icon here) I've never tried cutting hardboard with a knife, only sawing it. I will definitely go try your technique! I would love to be able to cut this stuff myself.

Thanks, Marc! -- Lisa

It is so much, what's the word...quieter! cleaner!...my preferred method. I would say that using a knife similar to the one in the photo is an advantage. It has a lot of leverage and is easier on the wrist than the typical straight shaped blade holder.

lkk17
05-13-2004, 01:38 PM
It is so much, what's the word...quieter! cleaner!...my preferred method. I would say that using a knife similar to the one in the photo is an advantage. It has a lot of leverage and is easier on the wrist than the typical straight shaped blade holder.

Do you think a straight mat cutter like the Logan Team System would work? It has a cutter (just a holder for a sharp blade) that moves along a guide to make straight cuts. The handle for the straight (not beveled) cutter is designed for a pull rather than push motion. I have this gadget, I may try it -- if it's good for this purpose I'll post something.

Lisa

Marc Hanson
05-13-2004, 01:47 PM
Do you think a straight mat cutter like the Logan Team System would work? It has a cutter (just a holder for a sharp blade) that moves along a guide to make straight cuts. The handle for the straight (not beveled) cutter is designed for a pull rather than push motion. I have this gadget, I may try it -- if it's good for this purpose I'll post something.

Lisa

Lisa- that might work, but I'd be carefull not to ruin the blade holder by applying too much pressure on it. Let us know.

Michael24
05-18-2004, 10:01 AM
Michael- Do you think that a few table spoons of pumice in 2 or 3 cups of primer is enough to upset that balance? When I used to make my own pastel supports I did add medium to the mix, so it isn't a bad idea I agree. In my post I do warn folks to beware not to add too much pumice, for the reasons that you raise, and it will 'eat' brushes!

I like this because it isn't so coarse as to be difficult to paint on. This FFF pumice is like talc, a very fine powder. In factthe boards are no where near as coarse as Wallis paper if you are familiar with that. There isn't enough pumice in my mix to noticeably wear down a brush. That's why I haven't been too worried that I had added too much pumice to the primer.

Having tried Golden's primers with various grits I have to say that they were awful to paint on. Remember the old (not that old) Hyplar Acrylic Gesso (that's what they called it)? This mixture that I make is very similar to the texture of that, and takes the paint in much the same way. I don't know what they put in that product but the acrylic primer made now just isn't the same, seems more plastic.

As for the coats, there are just two, one that is thin and textured with the primer/modeling paste mix, followed by the toned primer/pumice coat. Both are thin so that doesn't worry me. You can see in the posted photo of the finished panel that there is very little texture. But if someone making these mis-interprets the notion of how thick a coat is, it could be a problem.

In my classes I demo this for them so they see just how thin these coats are applied. Putting these kinds of demos up here on WC, as long as I haven't completely led people astray in a big way, there is a little bit of hope that people will have some background knowledge and a basic understanding of what would be proper procedure in this regard, and if not will ask. By reading the back and forth on all of these ideas we have, the right information usually comes forward. That's a good thing!

I really appreciate you're following us here on WC Michael. I support your efforts to educate us all, and 'try' to follow your advice. Some of these issues like Dibond and MDO plywood are absolutely the ideal material and your procedures are without a doubt the correct way of dealing with the craft of painting. But, for a lot of us they aren't available, and/or are prohibitively expensive for everyday use. When we find some method that with a little care, or 'tweaking' is close to being the ideal, we have to give in to the reality of our situation, either practical or financial, and just keep working. That is the most important thing that a painter does. Without that, all of the best conservation practices don't mean a thing any way.

Let me know what you think, and thanks again for your concern.

Dear Marc:
This topic of dry additives just came up in conversation unrelated to our discussion here. It appears that dry additives like pigments and texture enhancing materials react with the surfactants (soap like chemicals) in acrylic dispersions. The surfactants make the solids added to acrylic emulsions mix together and not clump. In fact, if you add too much dry material you could get the acrylic resins to come out of suspension and clump together thus terminating the material as a paint. It would turn into a cottage cheese like solid with some liquid on top. (Similar to the damage done by freezing acrylic paints)

I am not suggesting that you have reached that critical junction of overpowering your mixture with absorbing solids. Its just a word of caution to others who might get overzealous and want to add lots of pumice to the mix to get more tooth. As you discovered it will grind brushes as well.

Yes, I am old enough to have suffered through Hyplar Gesso.

Given you are painting on hardboard, I don't think that any oil penetration into the wood is going to be of issue. I feel more comfortable if the paint does not penetrate all the way through to the substrate. Your two coats are quite absorbent and I would guess that some of the oil in your paint will penetrate through both priming layers. Again, I just feel more at ease when the substrate is not violated by oil paint.

Thanks for your comments. I am not trying to be an art materials snob and suggest only the most expensive materials. As you suggest, artists can read information from both you and me and find a happy medium. (pun intended) I think it is important to know the full range of options out there and decide a path that works best. I just want to suggest things that don't contain inherent problems that will fail in a short period of time.

Perhaps we can all examine the types of commercial boards that are available to see what substrates offer the best properties at the lowest price. This industry is filled with rumors and assumptions. Every so often it is nice to connect with industry experts and get some quality information about products so that consumers may get good information to make decisions.

Marc: were you the one who had oil paintings that were delaminating from the acrylic ground. I want to pursue that further.

Michael Skalka, National Gallery, Wash. DC

Marc Hanson
05-18-2004, 10:17 AM
Michael,
I've been following your comments on all of the new products, sounds like a money hole to me too, but exciting.

Would you feel OK with what I'm doing if :

1- I seal the boards first with an acrylic medium, or the 'Golden Support Isolating Primer'?[ Are you familiar with what this is?]

2- Add the minimum amount of pumice (1Tbs per 2 cups primer + 1 Tbs acrylic medium) into the primer?

Or would it be better to buy the Golden Pumice Gel and add acrylic primer to it, and if so, what would be the recommended allowable amount of primer to add?

Thanks Michael.

Yes that is my problem with the paint delamination. If you PM me with the address, I will get it out to you.

DanaT
05-18-2004, 01:45 PM
Wow, Marc. This is such a coincidence! I just bought a 4x8 foot 1/8 inch Masonite panel at the hardware store and had the guys cut it up for me in 11x14s, 8x10s, 7x10x, and 6x10s. (I'm a sissy female in a New York apartment) I didn't get the cost savings you did but a sheet of Masonite that size cost about 27 dollars and the big jar of gesso cost maybe 10 dollars. I figure the Gessobords cost 5 dollars for the 8x10s and with 30 of them thats over 100 dollar savings.

A couple of questions. I'm surprised that you had to add pumice to get a rougher more absorbent surface. I primed some boards with several coats of the gesso alone and slick it is not! I did a good sanding job though between each coat going from a 100 grit to a 180. Would that have made it more absorbent?

Secondly how long did it take you to do each panel? It seemed like it took me forever. The masonite just drank up the gesso for the first coat and it looked like skim milk. It took 4 to 5 to get decent coverage and then I had to spend extra time sanding down the ridges.

I don't know if they're tempered or not. The guys in the hardware store didn't know. I haven't put anything on the backs just as of yet. Only the front and sides. Is there a way to find out?

I'm looking forward to painting on these panels.

JamieWG
05-18-2004, 02:18 PM
I figure the Gessobords cost 5 dollars for the 8x10s and with 30 of them thats over 100 dollar savings.


Dana, making your own is certainly the least expensive way to go. But you shouldn't have to pay $5 for a gessoboard either! Here's a short list of current prices of various boards that I like to use. I've priced them out for you in 8x10s, but some of the other sizes are great buys (like 12x16 on the Pinturas!)

Whenever I use any of these pre-primed canvas-on-hardboard or masonite gessoboards, I always add at least 2-3 coats of acrylic gesso in addition to the manufacturer's priming, and allow plenty of drying time. For me, it's a real convenience factor to have them already cut and canvas-covered. I like the canvas they use on these too; they just need extra gesso. I'm wondering about adding some of that yummy modeling paste that Marc told us about too. Will try his recipe soon. Sometimes I just don't have time to cut and prepare my own.

Pinturas on sale (about $2.25 each for 8x10s, and a great bargain of $2.35 for 12x16s! Sold in 2-packs)
http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply-stores/online/3155

Gessoed masonite, $2.21 for 8x10:
http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply-stores/online/539

Panelli telati (canvas-covered and primed), four-pack of 8x10s for $6.99
http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-supply/catalogs/0059773000000

Cheap Joe's gessoed masonite, 3-pack of 8x10 for $4.99
http://www.cheapjoescatalog.com/catalog/products.asp?id=1102&pid=35&ppid=4

Pre-cut masonite (unprimed), 8x10, 3-pack for $2.99 (3-pack of 16x20 is $6.99!)
http://www.cheapjoescatalog.com/catalog/products.asp?id=320&pid=35&ppid=4

I haven't tried these yet, but they look intriguing too:
http://www.cheapjoescatalog.com/catalog/products.asp?id=2831&pid=32&ppid=4

Jamie

Marc Hanson
05-18-2004, 04:36 PM
Wow, Marc. This is such a coincidence! I just bought a 4x8 foot 1/8 inch Masonite panel at the hardware store and had the guys cut it up for me in 11x14s, 8x10s, 7x10x, and 6x10s. (I'm a sissy female in a New York apartment) I didn't get the cost savings you did but a sheet of Masonite that size cost about 27 dollars and the big jar of gesso cost maybe 10 dollars. I figure the Gessobords cost 5 dollars for the 8x10s and with 30 of them thats over 100 dollar savings.

A couple of questions. I'm surprised that you had to add pumice to get a rougher more absorbent surface. I primed some boards with several coats of the gesso alone and slick it is not! I did a good sanding job though between each coat going from a 100 grit to a 180. Would that have made it more absorbent?

Secondly how long did it take you to do each panel? It seemed like it took me forever. The masonite just drank up the gesso for the first coat and it looked like skim milk. It took 4 to 5 to get decent coverage and then I had to spend extra time sanding down the ridges.

I don't know if they're tempered or not. The guys in the hardware store didn't know. I haven't put anything on the backs just as of yet. Only the front and sides. Is there a way to find out?

I'm looking forward to painting on these panels.

Yikes Dana! That must be NY price. I just was out at the .....Depot here and noticed that a 4'x8'- 1/4"tempered is $6.00 a sheet. Untempered I buy in the 2'x4' panels at $2.59 x 4 ( 4'x8') and that is still only a little over$10.00 a sheet. So building products must just be more expensive out there. Gesso expense per board is minimal as is sandpaper, brushes and all of that stuff that should be figured in.

As far as I know, and there are many varieties, use Standard or Untempered. There are a lot of discussions on WC about the different methods used to produce, and types of board...too much for my brain to worry about, but untempered is the safe one to use. Or MDF which I can't find in 1/8" thickness. It is just slightly more than hardbord in the 1/4" thickness.

I add pumice because I just have never liked working on the acrylic primer straight. It has a surface that just 'grinds' me the wrong way, don't like the way strokes show on it, and the 'hardness' to the feel of the brush is. It is totally a personal issue, many like it. I just put on 2 coats. The first is a little thin, but the second I really scrub on and it covers thoroughly. I play with it until I have the texture that I like and it isn't smooth, it is irregular.

Takes me a couple of hours to completely process a 2'x4' sheet. I use a hair dryer to speed up the drying time.

lkk17
05-18-2004, 10:16 PM
Yikes Dana! That must be NY price. I just was out at the .....Depot here and noticed that a 4'x8'- 1/4"tempered is $6.00 a sheet. Untempered I buy in the 2'x4' panels at $2.59 x 4 ( 4'x8') and that is still only a little over$10.00 a sheet. So building products must just be more expensive out there.
Generally the home warehouse stores charge something like 50c per cut for lumber. That plus a little NY premium would account for the extra cost.

It is certainly much cheaper to do it yourself. But for those who don't have the equipment, the means to transport 4x8' sheets, or the physical ability to handle the cutting, board cut at the lumberyard still compares favorably to buying things packaged for artists.

-- Lisa

Marc Hanson
05-24-2004, 09:03 AM
Michael,
I've been following your comments on all of the new products, sounds like a money hole to me too, but exciting.

Would you feel OK with what I'm doing if :

1- I seal the boards first with an acrylic medium, or the 'Golden Support Isolating Primer'?[ Are you familiar with what this is?]

2- Add the minimum amount of pumice (1Tbs per 2 cups primer + 1 Tbs acrylic medium) into the primer?

Or would it be better to buy the Golden Pumice Gel and add acrylic primer to it, and if so, what would be the recommended allowable amount of primer to add?

Thanks Michael.

Yes that is my problem with the paint delamination. If you PM me with the address, I will get it out to you.

Michael,
If you happen to be roaming the site, would you give your opinion on this? Thanks.

JamieWG
05-30-2004, 08:06 PM
Marc, any word back from Michael on this yet?

I have all my ducks in a row for these now except I can't find the *$%$#%*^ pumice! I went to Home Depot and they don't stock it. Any other ideas? Do you think paint stores would carry it? I have all the other materials now.

Jamie

Marc Hanson
05-30-2004, 08:15 PM
Marc, any word back from Michael on this yet?

I have all my ducks in a row for these now except I can't find the *$%$#%*^ pumice! I went to Home Depot and they don't stock it. Any other ideas? Do you think paint stores would carry it? I have all the other materials now.

Jamie
Jamie,
No but maybe he'll see it now and respond. Try small home deco/paint stores. I did see it advertised in, I think, the Daniel Smith catalog. I'll check and let you know later. It used to be available in any hardware or paint store but it is becoming harder to track down. If you find some snatch it up, it's only a couple of dollars for a carton so it's worth stocking up.

JamieWG
05-30-2004, 09:49 PM
Thanks, Marc. I'll put on my detective hat and see what I can dig up.

Jamie

Michael24
06-10-2004, 10:25 AM
Michael,
I've been following your comments on all of the new products, sounds like a money hole to me too, but exciting.

Would you feel OK with what I'm doing if :

1- I seal the boards first with an acrylic medium, or the 'Golden Support Isolating Primer'?[ Are you familiar with what this is?]

2- Add the minimum amount of pumice (1Tbs per 2 cups primer + 1 Tbs acrylic medium) into the primer?

Or would it be better to buy the Golden Pumice Gel and add acrylic primer to it, and if so, what would be the recommended allowable amount of primer to add?

Thanks Michael.

Yes that is my problem with the paint delamination. If you PM me with the address, I will get it out to you.

Marc and Jamie:

So sorry to not get back in a timely fashion. Lots of projects and a high school graduation have taken up my time.

OK, The Golden isolating material is GAC 700. Most people know GAC 100 and 200 as acrylic paint modifiers. Here is the page of the Golden web site that describes GAC 700 and the entire GAC line.

http://www.goldenpaints.com/products/medsadds/polymers/index.php

I feel it is important to do this because it stops the migration of the soluble components in the hardboard that darken the priming layer. Gesso does not seem to stop the migration. It just shows how absorbent and permeable acrylic gesso can be.

Dana: This will also fix your acrylic primer drinking problem. The first few layers will actually sit on the surface rather than soak into the board.

Marc: Given the ratio that you are using of pumice to gesso/medium AND that you have not had application problems with it, you are most likely fine in your approach. I believe that you would have lots of problems with consistency and application if the pumice level were too high. The acrylic dispersion would clump and get lumpy or cottage cheese like. That would be an extreme use of an extender like pumice. Again, I think you are keeping the ratio low and by adding the extra acrylic medium you make up for the addition of the pumice. To be safe you could even add a bit more acrylic medium.

Pumice sources: woodworkers use it for finishing wood. Combined with paraffin oil, pumice and rottonstone are used to create the smooth finish you find on well made furniture. Companies like Behlen market pumice. Google wood finishing and pumice and you will find places that sell the product.

Marc: I will PM you on a mailing address for those paint adhesion problem panels.

More later.

Michael Skalka, Nat. Gallery of Art, Wash. DC

Marc Hanson
06-10-2004, 12:34 PM
Thanks Michael,
I know the graduation feeling...we're graduating our second of two tonight! Appreciate the reply.

JamieWG
06-10-2004, 03:11 PM
Congratulations to both graduates!

Michael, thanks so much for the reply. I had already picked up some floor polyurethane to seal the board. I assume it's okay to use that instead of the GAC700. (???) Or do you think the substance Marc is mixing would adhere better to the GAC?

Thank you also for the pumice search info. Once I did the search and discovered that it's used for french polishing guitars, I put in a call to a luthier friend. Hopefully he can turn me onto a local supplier; otherwise, I found an online source through the search to order the Behlen 4f grade.

Jamie

brianc
08-02-2005, 11:44 AM
On cutting the board. Should I worry that the kerf of the saw blade robs 1/8" from the size? The boards are not exactly 2'x4' from Home Depot. They are - 1/8" in the width, presumably because they've been cut from a larger board. When you cut them again on a saw, you lose 1/8" per cut. What is people's experience on the tolerace of a board to be covered by a frame? If my 8x10's are actually 7 7/8" x 9 7/8" or even approaching (but never less than) 7 3/4" x 9 3/4", does that work?

Marc Hanson
08-02-2005, 11:55 AM
On cutting the board. Should I worry that the kerf of the saw blade robs 1/8" from the size? The boards are not exactly 2'x4' from Home Depot. They are - 1/8" in the width, presumably because they've been cut from a larger board. When you cut them again on a saw, you lose 1/8" per cut. What is people's experience on the tolerace of a board to be covered by a frame? If my 8x10's are actually 7 7/8" x 9 7/8" or even approaching (but never less than) 7 3/4" x 9 3/4", does that work?
Brian,
This is why I use a good quality 'mat' or 'utility' knife with the triangular blade. A few passes against an aluminum ruler as guide and you'll go right through the 1/8" boards. The knife I use is angled half way down the handle and give more leverage...ergononomic is the word. I even cut the 1/4" board this way but it is more difficult. If you go this route buy a pack of 100 blades because you'll be more likely to change them often making the cutting more easy.

7- 7/8 x 9 -7/8 would probably get you by in most cases. Less than that would get you in trouble once in a while. Also, the frames vary even if from the same source. Sometimes I've had to trim a board exactly on measurement to fit and occassionally found frames that are way too tolerant so that an 8x10 for instance doesn't fit. Better to be on size and deal with it when it comes. Most often the makers give you 1/8" per length tolerance. So the 8" dimension is actually 8-1/8 to 8-3/16".

James or Jimmy Jim
08-02-2005, 12:14 PM
I think those knives were designed for cutting carpets. I have one that was left behind by guys installing a carpet in the basement.

It is amazing - makes ya feel strong! :D

Doug Jones
08-04-2005, 04:53 PM
First off... let me say how much I like your paintings! They are wonderful! I love your color.

I was happy to see this demo... as one fairly new to the oil medium. I'm coming from a background of watercolor, and oils are takeing me a bit of getting used to.

So far most of my attemts at painting have been on the Fredrix canvas panels. I'm thinking this is making most of you "cringe" at the thought, but they are inexpensive and available. I did coat a piece of hardboard with some old gesso and tried that. It seemed too slippery to me... but again, i have no "feel" for painting surfaces yet. At this point Fredrix panels are my gold standard. :)

Oops! I thought this was a new post till I just noticed the date and found that it is a year old! Oh well....

I went to Home Depot today and found 2'x4' marker board for $6.75. Then I went looking for pumice stone. Struck out at Ace Hardware... Sherwin Williams... and Michaels... Blank stares all around... but I did find some at Woodcrafters. It goes for $6.50. The modeling paste was $10.50 at Michaels. So far with these three items I have spent over $25. If I make 10 panels that's $2.50 each. If I save any more money making my own painting panels, I will go broke! :)

My first question is, what value are you shooting for with the gray? Are you wanting a midtone gray or something lighter? I can't quite tell from the picture.

I have a gallon of Fredrix Acrylic Canvas Ground (Gesso) that is over 10 years old. There is about 1/3 left in the container. It is very thick. I add some water to it to thin it down and now it is the consistency of mud. It looks fine to me...just thick. Do you think it is still good? How thick is new acrylic primer?

Last question. Do you also make canvas panels? If you do, could you put up a link for that?

thanks a lot!

Like2Pedal
01-11-2006, 03:57 PM
i have been looking for pumice for a few days.
here is what i have found

http://www.balaams-ass.com/piano/lubeglue.htm
look at the very bottom of the page, pretty cheap.

and

http://www.museumservicescorporation.com/consemp/catalog/a.html


thanks,
Eric Kytola

did anyone else find a source for the triple FFF grade/course?

Johnnie
01-11-2006, 09:45 PM
Thanks, Marc. I'll put on my detective hat and see what I can dig up.

Jamie

Hi Jamie

LeeValley Tools carries pumic. Regular and fine.. 7.95 Can 5.95 US..
It a Canadian company. They do ship to US.. They have a map on main page that
shows the different stores from East to West coast..
Your in NewYork they have a few close to you on Canadian side.

http://www.leevalley.com
http://www.leevalley.com/home/Stores.aspx?c=2
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=20059&cat=1,190,43040
Hope this helps

Johnnie

Scorpio
01-14-2006, 09:54 AM
Hi,
Dakota Art Pastels sells a 2 lb bag of 4f pumice for $4.00. Scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Prior to finding this source, I made a panel and substituted Art Spectrum Pastel grit for the pumice--didn't know how to measure it really, so it was hit or miss. I'm not sure if I like the result. Of course, I'm also trying new paints, (M Graham) so maybe I just need to get used to a different feel.

Emilie

http://www.dakotapastels.com/pigsfix_grounds.shtml

PCool
11-06-2006, 12:21 AM
Hi Marc and to the other Artists,

I thought I would give this panel making exercise a try. Here is a link for the pumice also.

http://acmehardware.com/paint-and-paint-sundries/thesynkoloidcompany-6201/



The Synkoloid Company
Other Products By
The Synkoloid Company

1# Synkoloid Pumice
Model 6201
Retail Value $3.29
Sale Price $2.23

Sku 6068480
UPC 042446062013
Weight 1.080lb



Peg

russell44
01-19-2007, 10:01 PM
Marc,

I was over at William Kalwick's studio this summer, and he is starting to use birch panels when he goes to Guatemala for his plein aire studies. He seems pretty happy. Your big box stores carry the 1/4 inch in 4x8 and 2x4 ft. lengths.

Being you have had at least two workshops with Richard Schmid and have still retained your style, what did you hear from Richard on all of the copycats of his style? I would really be interested.

You are very prolific, Art Center was the place I wanted to go. Instead, went to Vietnam as a combat artist and went to college when I got back in Louisiana. Great work Marc.

Chuck in Houston
www.anderson-workshops.com (http://www.anderson-workshops.com)
[email protected]

Bill Foehringer
03-27-2007, 12:46 PM
Recently acquired some kitchen cabinet panel material painted on one side. It is an oak panel a little thicker than an 1/8 inch. When we redid our kitchen the cabinet company sent a bunch of extra panels. I'm cutting them into 11x14 and 16x20 mostly because these have been the sizes that worked out to make the best use of the odd-sized panels. I'll have about 20 panels when I'm done. What should be used to seal out the acid from the wood assuming that I would either paint directly on the prepared panel or glue canvas to them? I may just hang onto this material for future use with oil paint when I've become more proficient in that medium rather than use them for backing Wallis. BillF

WindMedia
11-21-2007, 02:03 PM
"Pumice FFF finest grade."

Ok, this is the one thing I cannot find!!!!

In the hardware stores, what department would it be in? I am getting real tired of the "clerks" giving me dumb and strange looks when I ask for it. . .

Anyone know anywhere to order on-line? I am sure the freight will be more than the pumice, but I want to try this! I have done 3-4 google searches, but cannot find an exact match. . . The Art Supply stores only sell the premixed gels and that does not give me enough control.

Thanks.

WindMedia
11-26-2007, 01:38 PM
Sorry, for some reason I read one post and replied to another and once I read all of this post, I realized my question was already answered. Again, sorry for a "newbie" type mistake from someone that should know better. :)