Sunday, September 21, 2014

What am I painting on?

I've been asked about the painting surface.

I have painted on several surfaces:

stretched cotton canvas
linen glued to wood panels
art store stretched canvas

I found that I spent too much time trying to get the surface smoother or stable.

Now I almost always make my own.

Most are 1/4 inch hardwood plywood or high density hardboard [hdf or 'masonite']

The hdf is a nice surface but a little heavy. It is hard to get a 4 x 8 sheet that isn't already warped. They don't store the stuff on a flat surface at the big box retailers. It is always laid on 4 large beams with waves between each support.

​The plywood is lighter. I have used Home Depot's Sandeply but now mostly like Lowe's hardwood plywood. I think that the surface is more uniform, a bit heavier and a little smoother, plus the back is already sealed saving one step.

When cut to the dimensions I want -
-seal the back with varnish if not already coated, this is to prevent moisture from distorting the panel
-it is then coated with at least three coats of Jerry's Best Gesso
​-sanded after the second and last coat with an orbital sander
-finished with Zinsser's Total Cover oil based paint. This is tinted to an ochre hue or less commonly left white

I put that on because the un-coated gesso is 'dry' and sucks the oil out of the paint leaving it flat.

This provides a stable, much smoother surface.

It can also be placed into frames that are too shallow for stretched canvas.

Incidentally paints [Windsor and Newton, M. Graham and Gamblin], mediums, brushes, varnish, hanging supplies, etc. are almost all purchased from Jerry's online.

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