Sunday, August 02, 2009

painting on paper

So, I have this commission to do and the client, a spa in central Texas, wants the three paintings painted on paper so they can be matted and framed. The image size is unusually large for paper, 25 1/4" x 37 1/4", and since I've ever only painted in acrylic on rigid surfaces and canvas I could see that this was going to be a learning curve for me.

On Friday I went to Opus so I could see
what's available and pick the brains of the employees. The thickest, least absorbent paper I could find was illustration board, but it's not archival, so I ended up buying an 8" x 8" pad of Rising Stonehenge (100% cotton 250gsm) with which to experiment. Certain papers were not available to me as they weren't available in large sizes.

Yesterday I applied two coats of gesso to a sheet of the Stonehenge and painted a teeny-tiny (4 1/4" x 4 1/4") house portrait on it to see how it worked. I was pleased with the results. The gesso adds a bit of texture to the ultra-smooth surface and after the painting was complete and dry there was no buckling. Working exponentially larger might be a different matter but I'm confident enough to buy the large sheets now and forge
ahead. Ellen let me know that using gesso with calcium carbonate on flexible surfaces can cause cracking when dry. (See? Facebook is a good thing.) Thanks, Ellen.

If anyone has any experience in painting in acrylic on large sheets of paper I'd love your feedback.

The little house painting is available here.


Blogger secret agent woman said...

No feedback since i have no idea, but I like the little house.

2/8/09 3:07 p.m.  
Blogger Angela Wales Rockett said...

Though I haven't done it for a while, I've actually been thinking about painting in acrylic on paper again. You can do it with or without gesso. I actually like to play with the absorbency of the paper. But if you want that texture, to avoid cracking, I recommend using a really thin layer of gesso, or maybe another medium altogether. You can also try a heavy weight (300 lb.) cold-pressed watercolor.

Pretty little house.

3/8/09 7:58 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Most of the painting I've done on paper has been with acrylic and in relatively large sizes too - I didn't apply gesso and I didn't layer it on thickly either. I've paintings I did 13 years ago this way that are still fine.

3/8/09 1:27 p.m.  
Blogger Ellen said...

Welcome, but I agree with Angela.For that size, thin layers to be safe. And I like the little house too, but you already know that because of...facebook.

3/8/09 5:09 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Thanks for the excellent feedback, Ladies of Art. After lots of consultation I'm going to buy 300 lb Arches Cover. I'll get a couple of small pieces to experiment with, too, so I can avoid gessoing if I can. I'm scared not to gesso! Can you tell? :) Here's the description and it makes me feel better:

Mouldmade of 100% cotton, Arches Cover is one of the world's most popular fine art printing papers. It features a lightly textured, cold pressed surface and a registered watermark. All sheets have four deckle edges.

Excellent for: Lithography, Intaglio, Silkscreen, Collotype and Drawing (particularly pastel).

This extraordinary surface also resists tearing and buckling and it remains perfectly flat. Neutral pH, lightly sized, 2 natural deckles, 2 tear deckles.

3/8/09 5:16 p.m.  
Blogger Jana Bouc said...

I recently got as far as gessoing two large sheets of watercolor paper to use for paintings but then decided to switch to stretched canvas. Before I started I phoned Golden, the company that makes Golden Acrylics and talked to their technical support people who are very accessible and glad to help. They recommended starting with a layer of an acrylic primer, GAC 100 which acts as a sizing and isolating agent and then applying a layer of gesso over that (or you could just using the GAC 100 which is transparent). I was wondering what GAC stood for and then realized it stands for Golden Artist Colors. It's fun to say though, "GAC, GAC!"

6/8/09 10:22 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Jana: GAC! What good advice! :)

7/8/09 9:54 a.m.  

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