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I'm not sure if it's kosher to ask for thoughts on specific products here, but thought I'd risk it, as I can find no reviews anywhere for the new "Michael Harding Non-Absorbent Acrylic Primer" that came out in late 2017. It is advertised to "not suck out the oil from oil paint, thus preventing sinking in." But doesn't an acrylic gesso actually need to have some absorbancy to bond with oil paint? I'd LOVE to find an acrylic gesso that I could scrub a solvent-free Imprimatura into without it's absorbency preventing a really light layer of paint, but this seems too good to be true... Thoughts would be much appreciated.
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For the proper, long-term adherence of oil paint, a ground
must have absorbency or texture/mechanical tooth, preferably both. There is
more leeway with acrylic dispersion paints as that medium is a far better adhesive
on its own. Painting oil paint on a super slick, non-absorbent ground may work
fine in the short-term but flaking and delamination is very possible in the
future. For example, a large percentage of reverse oil paintings on glass have
severe flaking issues. Now that is the extreme as far as lack of absorption and
tooth but it serves to make a point.
As far as the particular product, I cannot comment, as I
have done no testing. The formulation may contain materials that provide
addition tooth or the absorption may be reduced but not eliminated, etc. We do
have a contact at Michael Harding Art Materials Ltd. and will send them an email to
see if they would like to comment.
Thank you for your thoughts, Brian. I hope the Michael Harding folks do comment, especially with more information than what I've read in their product literature.
Michael Harding Non Absorbent Acrylic Primer.
researched for several years to find an acrylic resin which did not
suck all the oil out of the oil paint applied over it making paintings
go dull. By far the most common complaint we have from newcomers to oil
painting is the apparent sinking that is caused by many conventional
primmers doing this. This potentially leaves the paint without enough
oil acting as a glue to hold the pigment particles together possibly
we describe it as non absorbent it does have minor draw but not so much
as to render the paint dead looking, we also add 5% ground marble
powder to add tooth and so increase adhesion between the two layers you
can feel this between your fingertips if you touch a drip of it between
your fingertips. It is this fine balance between the microscopic tooth
and the right acrylic resin that is the secret of its successful
formulation. This still results in a completely smooth surface with no
need to sand.
have done our own internal testing involving the bending of canvas to
see if the primer parts company with either the support or subsequent
paint layers and have found it to be every bit as strong as conventional
Artists should also consider the different film strengths of various pigments within oil.
addition they also should consider that some oil colours like the
umbers particularly when mixed with turpentine or those so called
odourless spirits tend to dry matte on their own, testing the mix on a
sheet of glass will show this.
I cannot bring myself to describe this as a 'gesso' as I feel this is
slightly misleading as a traditionalist and also advocate of the use of
rabbit skin glue.
Thank you for this more in-depth description of the make-up and usage of your new product, Michael. Much appreciated!