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Over the years I have used a number of surfaces for painting with traditional oils, including stretching my own canvases, etc. I am over this now and just want to paint using commercially prepared surfaces. I dislike the 'give' when you are painting on stretched canvas and will probably concentrate on rigid panels. The only quality commercially prepared panel I could find is Ampersand gessobord which, they claim, has 2 layers of 'seal' between the panel and acrylic gesso primer and support-induced discolouration will not occur. They state the only substance left in the panel during manufacture is natural lignin (glue). I have recently painted on a small sample panel and then tried to scrape the paint away from the gesso without any success. I then tried to dig into the panel to try and seperate the gesso but no go. The panel itself does not crumble and the whole thing appears sturdy, at least to my basic testing. Ampersand claim they are archival and will last over 200 years. JustPaint.org state that rigid supports are more archival than flexible ones (Canvas, linen).
I have no association with Ampersand except as a customer. I have more recently begun a portrait in oils on a larger gessobord. I did an underpainting with thinned watercolour (according to JustPaint.org this is fine provided the layer is thin and you let it dry properly. They also say it can be re-worked by simply wetting it) which means I can avoid solvents altogether, hence my reason for using a gessoed panel. I don't want to use panels with canvas stuck on them as youy don't know if SID will occur and the textile can still move anyway due to temperature and humidity changes. Where I live it can get over 40 deg. Cel in summer at times.
I know that Ampersand make other panels, but I want one ready to paint on and with the Archival seal, hence Gessoboard. They only disadvantage is that the larger panels have to be in a cradle which is quite expensive. The smaller ones need to be framed, which has to be factored in, cost-wise. For less important works I would just go back to stretched canvases. I use cheap canvas panels for quick studies.
Am I on the right track? Are Ampersand gessobords really a quality archival surface? I really want to find a good quality pre-prepared gessoed panel and hope these Ampersand ones fit the bill.
Appreciate your comments,
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
These panels are indeed of a high quality. My only issues
with them are the general use of hardboard. They have certainly done the
testing and have made a stable product. The only problem is if the corners of a
hard board panel are knocked or the panel falls on a corner. It is almost impossible
to get the panel planar again (at least in the affected area). This can be easily avoided by using cradled
panels or placing the panel in a frame.
many thanks for your prompt response. Actually, the additional cost of the cradle is probably less than framing the panel (at least in the sizes I use) and, according to Ampersand can be stained. I take your point about care being required when handling these panels and found that a relativley mild knock on the top edge caused a small peice of gesso to flake off. Granted this was only a very small peice but I have been extra careful since.
I am glad to have finally found a quality gessoed panel that suits my painting style, as they have only recently become available in my country.