Oil-Based Pigments, Continued
Oil paints are an opaque medium. You can achieve near transparency or
translucence by adding an extender and using the stumbling or glazing
techniques. Artist grade oil paint is permanent. Pigments made by organic
or mineral derivatives are more permanent than synthetic manufactured color
which tends to fade. Without an appropriate ground and substrate, oil paints
will crack and flake off the surface of the painting.
The ground and preparation of the substrate is important. An incorrectly
prepared surface effects pigment adhesion and permanence. The most
common grounds are artists flake white, artists white lead in oil, or gesso.
Household or industrial white paint is not suitable as a ground because this
paint looses its elasticity over time and increases the likelihood of cracking
You should not apply a ground too thickly. It is better to apply
two thin coats. The ground should not ooze out the back of the canvas
through the linen mesh.
Substrates or the surface on which you apply oil paint are canvas, canvas
board, masonite, wood panels, and metal. Before applying a ground to the
substrate, seal the substrate with a mixture of rabbitskin glue.
CANVAS: Canvas, bought in rolls, must be attached to stretchers before
Once you have secured canvas to a stretcher (a wood frame),
make sure to cover the canvas with a mixture of rabbitskin glue and gesso.
Be sure to apply the ground to the edges of the canvas where it wraps around
the stretcher. This is the first area to deteriorate and it receives the most
abuse. Some artists prefer the spring of the canvas under their brush as they
CANVAS BOARD: Canvas board is linen or canvas already adhered to a
solid surface such as rigid cardstock or thin wood panels. Many artists
prefer canvas board because they do not have to stretch the canvas
themselves, and canvas board provides a solid surface on which to paint.
The solid backing also offers protection from mishandling and puncture.
Continued on next page