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Old 01-17-2009, 01:04 AM
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cjorgensen cjorgensen is offline
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How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

I consider myself beginner/intermediate.

I thought I would get some Masonite and have my husband cut it up, so it would be cheaper than canvas panels. When I see paintings on Masonite, they look so cool.

I coated them with some white acrylic primer. I did not put a canvas on top of them. When I paint on them, I am just slip-sliding all around, like ice skating. My brushes pick up the paint instead of laying it down. When I put on my dark under painting, the brushstrokes are just too obvious. It's like the tip of the brush scratches the paint off that the body of the brush lays down. The next layer won't lay on top either, but just lifts up both layers. If I wait a week to put on the next layer, it's just like skating around too.

There must be something I just don't know. If you paint on Masonite, how do you do it?

Thanks.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:15 AM
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Patrice Erickson Patrice Erickson is offline
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Did you try adding some tooth to the primed surface by sanding it with fine sandpaper before painting on it?
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:18 AM
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cjorgensen cjorgensen is offline
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

No I did not! I had NO idea I was supposed to do that. Thanks for that BIG tip!

When I painted on the primer, I used a big housepainting brush to make big brush strokes. I thought it looked cool. If I sand it a bit, should I sand those off? Thank you so much for your help.

P.S. I visited your website and your pictures are amazing. I really like your red poppy field.
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Last edited by cjorgensen : 01-17-2009 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:27 AM
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Patrice Erickson Patrice Erickson is offline
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Sand the brush strokes down to your personal taste, but if you sand aggressively you might reveal the Masonite base and need to put the primer on those revealed areas before repainting.

Thanks for your comments.
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Old 01-17-2009, 01:33 AM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Carolyn like all painting surfaces...prepping is the key.

Sand it down first with a smooth sand paper to get the hair fibres of it then apply a GOOD gesso layer and leave overnight for that first layer to harden as this will be the key for additional layers off gesso.

Apply a the very least 3 to 4 layers of gesso with sanding in between,the last layer must be pure gesso if you water it down in between coats?

Is your gesso a good brand?
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:14 AM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cjorgensen
I consider myself beginner/intermediate.
I coated them with some white acrylic primer. I did not put a canvas on top of them. When I paint on them, I am just slip-sliding all around, like ice skating. My brushes pick up the paint instead of laying it down.
There must be something I just don't know. If you paint on Masonite, how do you do it?

I had the same problems you are describing until I discovered a small paint roller at Home Depot. I think the brand name is RollerFoam. You get two per package for about $5 and they will last through many sheets of masonite. It will say Ultra-fine foam-extra smooth. Dome-shaped end for even coverage-no tracks. TWO 4" (100mm) ROLLER COVERS. Don't be fooled by it being called "ultra smooth". It leaves a canvas-like tooth. It's perfect. I buy the half sheets of masonite at Home Depot, they're about $4 each, easy to haul in the car and easier to manage than a full sheet on the table saw. I put three coats of Liquitex Gesso, each going in a different direction and then my husband cuts them to size. It works like a charm! I've tried many different things and this is the easiest and the best.
Good luck and Many Happy Paintings!!!
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Last edited by sekulastudio : 01-17-2009 at 07:22 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:23 AM
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bnguffey bnguffey is offline
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Hi Carolyn. I did over 80 plein air pieces this past warm season, all on masonite. In fact I hardly ever paint on anything other than masonite or birch. Both can be slick when applying paint if not prepped well.

Here are a couple of different ways I prep...

#1 - Cut the panel to size. When applying primer it's important to seal all edges. Make a sarcophagus out of it, so nothing gets in, or out, of the wood. If you prime the whole sheet first make sure to hit the edges after cutting. I find it easier to cut to size, have a stack, and prime in batches as time permits.

Seal with a polyurethane sealer. I seal one side and the edges, let dry, and come back to coat the other side. Next, apply gesso. When I gesso the smooth (painting) side I apply in a haphazard fashion, with brushstrokes varied (I like the effect, especially on landscapes). Let dry, and repeat 2 or 3 times for each side, and edges. Lightly sand the smooth side between coats, and after the last.

I have changed to the next method though, as I found the gesso tends to "suck up" the paint. It will dry quickly though, which can be good.

Method #2 - I buy paint from the mistake shelf at the local hardware store. It's a semi-gloss acrylic latex enamel housepaint. I use this to seal the board with 2 or 3 coats, then paint on it. That's it. Easy, fast, and inexpensive. Semi-gloss is perfect as it's not too slippery. I do sand each coat.

Ken Auster uses this last method. I started trying it before I went to an Auster workshop back in the fall. I asked him about the archival quality. He assured me he had spoken to conservators about it, and was confident about the use. It is different, but once I got the hang of it, I really like the painting surface. I also paint mostly on 1/4" birch in the studio now. Cuts with a sharp utility knife.

If you look at my blog, you can see the change to the housepaint on September 13 of this past year.

Sorry for the long post. Need more coffee now...

Bill
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Old 01-17-2009, 09:01 AM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

I've painted on masonite for near 30 years now...and I can't help one but wonder about your acrylic primer. Just regular gesso here or what?

I tried some Kitty Wallis pastel paper to paint on, the zinc/aluminum oxide coated paper which accepts solvent, and it was fun to paint on. Will beat up your brushes...but I'll want to try it again...but shortly after that we had a series of good discussions with WC artist and fine painter Marc Hanson, in the plein air forum. Since then, many of us have been adding pumice to our gesso.

I get mine from online...Woodfinishing Enterprises...scroll down to abrasives
http://www.woodfinishingenterprises.com/coating.html

#FFFF...

I mix about 2-3 tablespoons of the pumice to the gesso.

It adds some grit to the gesso, better grabbing of paint from the brush, but also serves to help the ground absorb paint better. With my copal medium and the pumice in the gesso, my oils are dry to touch in roughly 2-3 days...
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:14 PM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Thanks everyone for all of your wonderful help. I will double check everything you guys said and implement them.

If anyone has something else to say, I will check back and pick it up too!

Thanks again for all your generous help.
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Old 01-17-2009, 02:28 PM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

another option is to just lightly sand the masonite and then do a full underpainting with acrylics (they bond nicely on masonite and become the primer - but you have to get a decent coat of them on there or you're wasting your time - good way to build up texture too if you want that) then put oils on top of that (optional).

another good gesso (Not household latex primer) tip is to prime horizontally, dry, sand, then vertically, dry, sand, then horizontally again, you can do diagonally too if you like - at least three layers works best ... the more texture you want the less sanding you have to do on the Last layer. I have successfully thinned the gesso

i would never discourage you from doing bills full all around sealant ideas, but i've not ever done that full meal deal and it works fine ... tho if you're planning BIG pieces (like 4x4 feet or more) it would keep the warping to a minimum ... smaller than that pieces, the frame holds them straight - and you Must frame masonite to hang it ... unless there's a successful technique of hanging it that i'm unaware of.

good luck - masonite is great!

la
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Old 01-17-2009, 03:29 PM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Ampersand "Gessobord" is primed perfectly for oil painting, in my opinion. But I know the problem you speak of, because I bought some "Mona Lisa Gessoed Art Board by Speedball" because it was on sale for so cheap at the local Blick store. But it was a super-smooth surface and sucked for oil painting. I guess you get what you pay for.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LarrySeiler
...I can't help one but wonder about your acrylic primer. Just regular gesso here or what?
This was the first thing that occurred to me too.

Carolyn, acrylic 'gesso' primers vary a lot (a lot ) and how you apply it can have a marked effect on the surface you get - how many coats, whether it's diluted or applied unthinned, brushed on or rolled on or spread with a knife, if you sand between coats, whether you size first, any final sanding as well as the total thickness all affect the feel of the finished panel under the brush.

So even with a single brand it's possible to end up with very different surfaces. If you wet-sand primers of this type it's possible to get a very slick surface, nearly glossy, one I think is too smooth even to safely paint on with acrylic really, much less oil paints. But the same primer with the final coat unthinned, applied by a foam roller, gives a matt surface with a nice 'nubby' texture that'll take paint much better.

Einion
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:29 AM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

Thin glazing always worked for me. I find that a slight texture, very slight, also helps a lot, when working on primed hardboard.
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:43 AM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

I posted a demo on preparing hardboard panels in the acrylic forum. Here is the link to it:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=540973
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Old 01-19-2009, 01:52 PM
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Re: How the heck do you paint on Masonite?

i have painted extensively on masonite and various other panels, plywood, doorskin, etc.
as was pointed out all gesso/primer is not created equal. after all is said and done i would recommend using primer called pva, (poly vinyl acetate). this stuff will bond to anything except maybe glass. it cleans up with water, it is incredibly stable, is not any more or less toxic than acrylic primer, and has replaced all the other primers/gessoes in my toybox. the brand i use now contains less solids than most gesso, so it requires a second or third coat if i want a glowing white surface. the flip side of this is i never get the 'gesso soaks up the paint' phenomenon that a high solids primer is prone to.
good luck, steve
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