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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Ideal 'support' for large paintingsApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-11-12 18:43:55 ... Most recent comment 2016-11-12 18:48:00
    Flexible Supports Rigid Supports
    Hello. I am aware of the consensus that (oil) painting on a rigid rather than flexible support is best-practice, but I still feel confused & unsure what to choose to paint on when I want to make large paintings; say 50" x 60" or larger - Aluminum composite is both hard to come-by where I live, and at 3mm thickness, is liable to bend at the sizes I'm talking about, unless cradled... but then I have been told that cradling often creates its own problems. These same issues go for wood panels too, with the added problem of increased weight & natural warp. So, back to the question: What should painters be working-on when they want to paint on a larger scale? Thank you.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerFirst, please read through both our rigid and flexible supports pdf's in our "Resources" section. We cover a lot of this territory on there. These contain sections about larger substrates as well. As to cradling. it is true that the cradling that was applied to old panel paintings as a restoration practice was sometimes disastrous. The cross-grain construction and overly restrictive nature of those cradles caused severe damage to many wooden panel paintings. What people generally call cradling in the current art materials world would be better termed bracing, where the outside periphery is braced by the addition of wooden members along the outside and occasionally with a central or cross-bar. In general, this is far less problematic, especially if the central and crossbars are not adhered to the reverse of the panel. Certainly aluminum panels are free from most issues caused by cross-grain construction. Again, many of these subjects are covered more fulling in our Resources downloads. Feel free to post another more specific question after you digest what we have already written
    Baade, Brian
    2016-11-12 19:00:40
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentMy own concern with even bracing - but I admit I need to look into this further, as I am extrapolating from some of the studies on problems underlying cradling - is that a panel, if it is going to warp, will take the most efficient route to dissipate that tension. Thus the slight even bowing one might see is the least resistant means of relieving the stress. Attempting to overcome that by means of bracing simply means that that tension need to be relieved by other, usually less efficient means - thus ripples developing between the braced areas, or upwards towards potentially more brittle paint layers, leading to cracking. The best solution is to use thick enough plywood panels that warping at this primary level is minimized. Of course this leads to a lot of weight - but too many people, in my opinion, are trying to escape that problem by using too thin of panel and hoping that bracing will overcome the deficiency. Aluminum composite panels are likely the best route to avoid at warping as all wood is vulnerable to this. And taking a wider, art historical view, one sees precisely why canvas had such a following, allowing for very large compositions without the terrific weight.....but then, as we all know, that comes with its own host of problems.

    Anyway, just some thought to share on the topic.

    Sarah Sands
    2016-11-13 08:48:04
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentI have had considerable success painting quite large (onto 4' x 8' panels) with oil/alkyd glazes onto copper and bronze prepared with a thin layer of alkyd medium. I've also painted with the Golden product formulated for rigid surfaces onto copper first coated with either automotive clear coat or incralac. A painting using the former method has hung outside in Fairbanks, AK for more than 10 years with no discernible degradation.
    2016-11-29 00:44:10
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerThanks for your input regarding painting on rigid supports. Bronze as a substrate of course can have its own issues but certainly alkyds are a very good choice for creating a good bond between paint and metal supports. We are unsure what you mean however when you state that you are using Golden's products formulated for rigid supports....would you mind clarifying? Finally, it is always difficult to make final pronouncements when using products designed for industrial purposes or even layering systems that have not been thoroughly tested. It is good to hear that your artwork is holding up well outdoors but 10 years is simply not enough to determine whether or not an artwork will stand up to the test of time (although we hope it will!)...For further notions about these topics and concerns I refer you to number 10 and number 13 outlined in our "Myths, FAQs, and Common Misconceptions" document located in the Resources section.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-29 05:20:52

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