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I have a question regarded priming of linen canvas. I have streched over 100 canvases and glued them with rabbit skin glue, and want to know that what would be the best primer over the glue which is reliable and trustworthy. I know that old masters used oil primer, but I have got so much different information that I am really confused. Someone told me that I can just buy regular acrylic paint which we use in homes for interior and make three coats of it on canvas, while others says that I should use oil primer. Some people go for the gesso version.
What about the glue, next time, should I use GAC400/200/100 insted of rabbit skin glue?
I have seen 19th centuries paintings on galleries, and the are almost vanished. The oil is cracking and the conditions are very bad. I saw a Picasso in gallery, and that was almost finito. This means that paintings which are made on acrylic background are not reliable.
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So it sounds like you are asking two questions here. What should I size my linen canvas with and what should I prime my linen canvas with?
To answer that I think it would be helpful to first have a look at our Resources section and read over the documents "Adhesives and Sizes" and "Grounds and Primers."
There are pros and cons to everything….are you using oil paints in a traditional sense? That will help us to narrow things down a bit. You can certainly use acrylic sizes and/or grounds with oil paints (read the documents cited above and also look in the references section as Golden has published a fair bit about this in their Just Paint online technical newsletter). And you can certainly use rabbit skin glue. With glue, however, we typically recommend adhering your linen canvas to a rigid support as glue remains reactive to water in the atmosphere and is often what can lead to cracking and/or deformation (I would NOT use traditional glue-based gesso on linen canvas unless it is applied to a rigid support). Note however that there are plenty of examples of Old Master paintings that have RSG sizing and are doing just fine. Conversely there are many Old Master paintings that have needed conservation intervention b/c of the glue sizing…
But this leads me to your last statement….Picasso was not using acrylics as WE know acrylics (they were different from the acrylic paints that you buy on the shelf today)….he did occasionally experiment with a paint called "Ripolin" which was an industrial enamel paint. One cannot really tell simply by looking at a painting which passages contain Ripolin and which contain oil IF there IS indeed Ripolin in the painting. This is why the conservation science community has had to employ very sophisticated imaging techniques in order to identify passages containing Ripolin (and even then it can be difficult). The condition of any painting is dependent on MANY factors. Materials of course play an important role. But so does the conservation/restoration history of the painting, how it was displayed/stored, etc., etc. So unless all of these factors are known it is really impossible to blame the condition of a work solely on its appearance.
As far as using acrylic latex house paint, I would recommend reading one of our older threads that can be found here: https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra/forums/question?QID=403
I realize I have thrown a lot of reading at you! But do please let us know if you are still confused about something or have additional questions....
We recommend that artists do not apply acrylic dipersion painting ground (gesso) over RSG. As Kristin points out, a water-based primer will cause a glue sizing to swell, and the acrylic layer will usually craze as it dries.
Matthew Thanks for adding the adding the additional clarifying
sentences here. We always know what we mean but not always, what others will
take away from what we write.
Yes, acrylic or latex paint over a coat of animal glue is
one of the easier methods of creating craquelure faux finishes. Not at all appropriate for the creation of a stable, smooth ground, though.