Skip to Main Content
Sign In
Toggle Navigation

Open the Navigation Management window, which can be used to view the full current branch of the menu tree, and edit it.

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0


  • Why does fabric need to be sized but cotton rag paper doesn't?ApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2018-10-03 09:19:22 ... Most recent comment 2018-10-03 18:48:52

    ‚ÄčI am a printmaker who uses oil-based ink on cotton rag paper and sometimes on mulberry for both relief work and monotypes. I've sometimes used oil paints, after allowing some of the oil to be absorbed by paper towels. I'm wondering why I don't have to seal my printing papers (Rives BFK etc.) but on canvas, you would need to use gesso.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ‚ÄčThat's a good question!  Printmaking papers, including Rives BFK, are usually internally sized so that absorption of ink/paint/other media is controlled during the printmaking process.  To my knowledge (I'm a paper person, not a paintings person though!) canvas is not internally sized, so in order to achieve control of your printmaking media on the canvas surface a ground (i.e. the gesso) needs to be applied.

    Gillian Marcus
    2018-10-03 11:21:41
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    As stated, most high quality printmaking and watercolor papers have internal sizing. Some watercolor papers also have surface sizing. This diminishes oil absorption. Unprimed artists canvas and linen should have no existing size unless specifically purchased this way (I remember David Davis used to sell linen pre sized with rabbit skin glue as one of their options. Canvas like this is far harder to stretch and I could never see the advantage).

    Additionally, printmaking inks are generally bulked up with magnesium Carbonate to stiffen the ink. So, almost any oil paint that you would encounter would be far fatter than a similar printmaking ink. Finally, unless the oil paint is applied neat, with no solvent or medium, it is always going to be substantially looser than the ink.

    Brian Baade
    2018-10-03 18:48:52
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Sizing isn't just for the purpose of protecting the support, it's also to prevent paint from becoming underbound. Paint applied on raw canvas loses vehicle to the support quickly.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2018-10-03 21:00:10

Page Settings and MetaData:
(Not Shown on the Page)
Page Settings
MetaData for Search Engine Optimization
MITRA Forum Question Details
This page cannot be accessed until you accept the Terms of Use, which can be found here.
Please note that this Terms of Use system uses cookies. If you have cookies disabled you will not be able to accept the agreement. If you delete our cookies you will need to re-accept the Terms of Use.
  • The Department of Art Conservation
  • 303 Old College
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • Phone: 302-831-3489