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preparing surfaces for oil painting
Gentle reminder to subscribers: At the end of March there’s a draw for a small original painting for subscribers of ArchibaldStudio.substack.com. I’ll draw a name on Thursday, March 31st and reach out to the winner through email from there. If I don’t hear back from the selected winner within 30 days, I’ll select another name. So keep your eyes on your inbox from me.
Prepping surfaces for oil paint
I’m starting the prep work on this stack of birch panels below. Just getting boards ready for painting is a project in and of itself. The prep work is well worth it as they’ll serve as the surface for future paintings. The unprepared birch has a wonderful scent.
Although I’m starting the above boards this weekend, I’m finishing up the boards below (various sizes) too. They’re ready for their final sanding and fourth coat of acrylic gesso1
I applied gesso over a series of days, allowing each layer to dry thoroughly before sanding and applying another coat. I’ll knock the rough edges off before the panels are complete.
Gesso protects the boards from deteriorating over time from the oil in the paint.
Acrylic gesso can be toned by adding acrylic paint. In the image below, I added grey to create a dark grey on the cradled board.2
There are a couple of types of gesso that I use, one is an acrylic gesso (above), which is commercially prepared and comes in a squeeze bottle or bucket. The acrylic gesso is convenient but it off gasses quite a bit.
The other gesso is a gypsum based traditional gesso that you mix together and “cook” — meaning you need to mix it with warm water, stir, and allow it to sit for a couple of hours before you put the container with the gesso mix into a pot of hot water so it will liquify and then brush it onto the surface. It takes several coats to create a nice painting surface no matter what type of gesso is being used. Not as convenient as the acrylic gesso but higher quality.
These are a few of the surfaces I use to prep for oil painting, other surfaces include canvas, linen and aluminum.
Prepping may not be as exciting as painting but it provides the foundation for the fun part.
Gentle reminder to subscribers: At the end of March (March 31st) there’s a draw for a small original painting for subscribers of ArchibaldStudio.substack.com. I’ll draw a name on Thursday, March 31st and reach out to the winner through email from there. If I don’t hear back from the selected winner within 30 days, I’ll select another name. So keep your eyes on your inbox from me.
Acrylic “gesso” isn’t actually gesso, it’s just called gesso as it serves the same purpose and has similar qualities. Gesso, in the traditional sense is composed of glue, chalk and pigment.
A cradled board is a wooden panel with another piece of wood attached to the back. The “cradle” could be in the shape of a frame or just a single piece attached at the ends. It’s purpose it to prevent the board from warping.