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  • Substrate for marbling and oilApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2020-01-14 22:34:27 ... Most recent comment 2020-01-31 07:48:35
    Grounds / Priming Gouache

    ​hi there, I'm trying to make large 6 x 8ft marbleized surfaces that I will then paint with oil on top. I'm having trouble finding canvas that is white enough and unprimed at that scale. My options as I understand them are,:

    Apply alum to paper, marble the paper, adhere to canvas, apply matte medium , paint oil on top

    Apply alum to 100% cotton bed sheet, marbleizing,  stretch on its own or over canvas, apply matte medium, oil paint on top

    Or apply golden absorbent ground to primed surface, apply alum,  marbleize, apply matte medium, oil paint over

    Or? Any other ideas? Will alum have any negative effects? Can paper be adhered to canvas and then painted over? Bed sheets with high thread count? What are the most durable options here? Thanks!!! 

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    If you google unprimed cotton duck by the yard 84" you should find multiple results.

    The cotton bed sheeting may be too thin to appropriately support the marbled paper.

    I am not sure if the marbling would take to the golden absorbent ground prepared with alum in the same manner, but it may. I will shoot our contact from Golden to see if this is something that they recommend.

    Brian BaadeAssistant Professor, Painting Conservator, and Researcher of Historical Painting Materials and TechniquesUniversity of Delaware

    2020-01-15 14:32:22
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​Thanks for your reply. The problem is wanting the canvas to be super white. You're right, unprimed is easy enough to find, finding really white unprimed at that scale is difficult. I could scour and wash and bleach and soda ash what I have... but if I can find an easier way that is also durable and archival I'd prefer a different route. Do you see any problems with the aluminum sulfate application? will it make the fibers too brittle? Or will it be okay? If the bed linens  are too thin, can I reinforce by stretching over canvas? Or is that still a problem? I've done some tests and the absorbant ground works with marbling some of the darker acrylic pigments. Is is posisble to adhere paper or bed linen's to canvas with matte medium and then paint with oil over that? I think If I can figure out how to apply paper to stretched canvas and I can responsibly paint on that surface that might be the most versatile option. Thanks so much! This forum is incredible and I truly appreciate your expertise:)

    2020-01-15 14:42:50
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​The apparent whiter-than-white brightness of consumer textiles like bedsheets is often due to the presence of optical brighteners which may not prove durable to the expectations of artists. Just something to consider... 

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2020-01-15 16:39:23
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    You could likely adhere bed linen to a heavier canvas using an acrylic dispersion medium. However, it is often chancy to use materials not intended for the fine arts. The bed sheets may have an internal sizing which is perfectly suitable for its normal use but may make adherence of paint layers problematic. Also see Matthews comment above. Additionally,Optical brighteners are unlikely to be permanently  lightfast so that initial brightness may not last indefinitely. I will let representatives from Golden discuss their product and its applicability.

    Brian Baade
    2020-01-15 17:24:18
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    My first thought was to suggest synthetic polyester canvas instead of cotton duck, as it is very durable and bright white. You could apply alum directly to the synthetic canvas or prime first with Acrylic Gesso. I have marbeled alum-coated synthetic canvas before with acrylic paints on a methyl cellulose bath and that worked well. If you didn't trust the whiteness of the canvas than a coat or two of Acrylic Gesso would hide any possible discoloration. Acrylic Gesso has good adhesion to polyester canvas and you could also apply the Absorbent Ground on top. The MAS team at Golden has only tested alum and marbling applications of regular Acrylic Gesso, which works well. Absorbent Ground has not been tested yet, but I would not expect any problems. Although I doubt that the marbling will be any better on Absorbent Ground than on regular Acrylic Gesso. We do not recommend applying full-bodied oil paint directly onto GOLDEN Absorbent Ground, because the absorbency of the ground might leave the paint under-bound. However, in this case the paint layer of the marbling, although thin, and the residue of the marbling bath (are you using methylcellulose?) might reduce the absorbency somewhat.

    If you want to adhere marbled paper onto stretched canvas, then Golden Gloss Medium should be a good choice as adhesive and 2 coats Fluid Matte Medium could be used to seal the paper surface and prevent oil stains on the paper.


    Here is the Marbleizing application sheet, Painting with Oils on Paper and Painting with Oils on Paper JP articles and an article on polyester canvas:

    Mirjam Hintz
    2020-01-22 10:32:09
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    Hi All, Thanks for your responses. I learned that one of the reasons the marbling might not be adhering to the primed canvas is due to surfactants seeping to the surface. Unfortunaetly, I learned this information too late and had already made giant marbled patterns of acrylic on paper. 

    Now I need to know the best method for adhering the paper to primed canvas or wood panel. When I called Golden I was advised to apply soft gel medium to both surfaces, let it dry, and then apply soft gel medium, stick them together, roll out the face with a brayer, turn it over and weight it... not sure for how long to weight it? 24 hours?

    then on the surface apply 3 coats of fluid matte medium to prepare the surface for oil painting. BUT when I consulted the University of Delaware conservation pdf's I saw the following:

    " Know that acrylic gel mediums can be used to adhere fabric or paper to a rigid support (see “Rigid Supports” document). Avoid using Golden’s Soft Gel as a size/sealant. If acrylic gel is used as both the adhesive and size, it is recommended that an acrylic ground also be used (avoid using a traditional glue ground)."

    This seems contradictory, So what's the proper approach? I have fluid matte medium, would that be better? Or should I use GAC? A bookbinding friend suggested I mount with PVA mixed with 1/3 methyl cellulose. I'm a little lost. Are they all the same in terms of outcome? What are the long term pros and cons?

    I have three- aluminum stretcher forms with a face of rigid foam panel, with primed canvas stretched over it, that I plan to adhere paper to. I have two wood panels that I plan to stretch unprimed cavnvas over and then adhere paper to. Thoughts? These are 6 x 8ft. large fyi.

    Thank you for any information you have. With gratitude,


    2020-01-30 19:55:13
  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    Hello Angie,


    I think the main point here is to not use an acrylic gel as a size when using traditional gesso on top because the materials as so unlike each other and the trad. Gesso would have poor adhesion. In your case Soft Gel Gloss would be a good choice because you already have an (acrylic ?) primed canvas and using the Soft Gel as an adhesive. 

    Mirjam Hintz
    2020-01-31 03:37:27
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser Comment

    ​oh, great! got it. thanks! thanks makes sense.

    2020-01-31 07:48:35

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