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  • pros and cons of using sized, cotton wc paper for oilsApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-10-10 11:46:05 ... Most recent comment 2017-10-10 16:39:02
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    ​Do you see any delamination or other problems with oil paintings made  directly on PVA sized, 140 lb, cotton wc paper, rather than on an acrylic primed paper?


    I've been using sized, 140 lb,  cotton wc paper for oil studies and small paintings for for 18 years without problem.   The paper has a texture that I enjoy and I size them on one side with 2 coats pH neutral PVA size, (75% water-25% PVA glue), as suggested by Robert Gamblin.   The size is allowed to dry in between coats. 

    I do not apply an oil or acrylic primer as it tends to smooth the very texture that I like and I can collect hundreds of small plein air studies and sketches on paper, for reference, without the massive weight and volume that mounting on hardboard or dibond would entail.   The paper is stiffer than the same on unstretched linen so that studies can be more easily be handled.

    On occaision, I mount them on panel for sale.   Again, no problem in the years that I have had paintings on paper mounted on panel, but I thought that I would check with you anyway.    

    I realize that the primer would likely be more absorbent and may create a better mechanical bond with the paint layer, but I've seen so many plein air studies of 18th - 19th C masters painted and/or mounted on a lot worse supports and often without sizing.

Answers and Comments
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    If the PVA sizing adequately ​isolates the paper, I wouldn't worry about destructive effects of the oil vehicle on the support. It would be a good idea to keep the paint relatively thin, however, and apply impasto only in small passages, not in a continuous film, because PVA alone doesn't offer the absorbency and texture of a bona fide painting ground, which would better facilitate paint adhesion. Ideally, the paper should be mounted to panel prior to painting, but if you can safely mount the finished work without stressing the paint, that sounds like a pretty good approach to me.

    I would caution against making conclusions about the soundness of any technique based on the apparent good condition of historical works in a museum- the appearance of those paintings might well be the result of expert treatment and careful storage in a controlled environment.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-10-10 15:58:41
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thnak you.  I do tend to avoid thick paint.

    I just had an 11 year old sketch in my hands and could bend it around without any delamination or cracking.

    If there was to be a failure in the adhesion of the paint layer to the PVA size, when would it show up?   5 years? 10 years?  More?

    2017-10-10 16:11:42
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    It's really important to maintain a flat plane where oil paint is concerned, so I wouldn't ever count on oils maintaining that degree of flexibility into antique age. A 10 year old oil painting is still pretty "young" but just speaking as a studio artist, I would probably not be too worried based on what you describe. I do think mounting to panel is a very good idea, to make the finished art easier for the collector to maintain.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-10-10 16:39:02
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