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Hi. I'm a bit confused about tempered hardboard and whether it's considered to be an archival support for oils. Can I paint directly on it without any prep at all, including skipping adding any oil ground?
I posed this question to one of the popular oil paint companies and was told that I could paint directly on the hardboard because there's little risk of the board absorbing either moisture from the atmosphere or oil from the paint, so there's little risk of warping or movement from moisture, or degradation from the oils.
One of the popular acrylic paint companies suggests 2 coats of gloss medium followed by acrylic gesso. I know there's debate over whether painting oils over acrylic sizing and ground is archival.
What are your thoughts of these issues and do you recommend painting oils directly on tempered hardboard with no sizing or ground at all?
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
I am not a huge fan of hardboards but that is because of how
fragile the corners can be and the huge difficulty of getting an expanded
crushed corner back into something resembling planarity.
Beyond this, your plans seem reasonable. The fatty acids in
the oil should not cause any deterioration of the panel without a size.
Concerns about paintings oil over acrylic dispersions paints
(grounds or paints proper) were vastly overstated in the past. Oil over acrylic
dispersion grounds have shown to be quite stable as long as the surface has
some rigidity (multiple layers of a high-quality acrylic dispersion ground on
canvas or on panel with or without a ground).
But if hardboard can swell from humidity, could it not also soak up oils? If that is the case, you might end up with underbound oilpaint?
(*Edit: I see this was mentioned in the previous question. Sorry! I will leave my comment as a response.)
One concern I would like to raise is the "thirstiness" of bare hardboard. This support material can wick away a lot of oil from the paint in the first layers, so even if the artist is avoiding water-borne sizings to prevent swelling the board, it may be a good idea to treat the panel in some way to reduce absorbency (alkyd medium?)
Could I get some clarification on what to do? One moderator thinks it's okay to paint directly on the tempered hardboard with oils because they shouldn't degrade the support. Another says that the oils will soak into the hardboard.
I just finished reading the fantastic pdf here on rigid supports and it recommends degreasing and sanding. Is that preferable to painting directly without sizing?
Is the pdf I read the last word on this?
Not to confuse things more (well, I am confused LOL), but I just read this in a JustPaint article from Golden Paints: "Ampersand recommends using GOLDEN GAC 100 to seal panels followed by several layers of gesso or an acrylic dispersion. Gamblin Oil Painting Ground can also be used to seal and finish a panel prior to painting with oils."
Based on other concerns raised here, as well as information I've read elsewhere, I am starting to wonder whether it is better practice to seal tempered hardboard before painting on it with oils.
This raises another question. Is an alkyd-based oil ground the only option? I'm trying to create a healthy studio environment.
Oh, and would it be necessary to degrease tempered hardboard before applying an oil ground?
There are a couple of different things going on. Degreasing
is mostly recommended to remove any oil (including hand oils) that may
interfere with the adherence of an aqueous size or ground (glue, acrylic
dispersion, etc.). It wouldn’t hurt to do so if you are applying an oil ground,
but it would not be as important.
It would, of course, be preferable to seal the panel. That
was not part of the original question. Whether a tempered hardboard would
absorb too much oil if the paint was painted directly on the surface, I would
need to test. Put a drop of linseed oil on a panel and observe if it spreads
into the panel. As I originally wrote, I am not overly fond of hardboards as
substrates for other reasons and I do not have any around at the moment to
check, but I seem to remember them being rather slick and the surface quite
closed. That is one of the reasons when in the distant past I used them, I
would always sand the surface so that there was some mechanical tooth for the
ground to hold onto. However, Matthew seems to have more experience with the
material, and I will defer to his judgement.
So you could seal the panel and paint on the sealant layer,
you could apply an alkyd ground (the alkyd ground is going to be ready for
paint well before a more traditional linseed oil bound ground but the later
would work as well) over the sealant, or you could apply an water-borne ground
over an appropriate sealant like described. I would also make a small test
panel and paint some oil paint directly on the panel. Let it dry for a while
and check for adhesion.
Right, my word of caution was not in reference to any destructive effect that the oil might have on the panel material, but rather because I have observed oil paint on bare hardboard leaving a pronounced oil stain and colors becoming dull and waxy as a result of the oil being taken up. I don't know whether this is enough to diminish film strength.
Thank you to both moderators for your input on this. Let me see if I've got it right. It sounds like sanding, then sealing with GAC 100, then either painting directly on the sealed surface, or painting after adding gesso or oil ground is recommended.
Regarding sealants, is there a difference between GAC 100 and plain old gloss medium? In talking to Golden Paints, gloss medium was recommended over GAC 100 for better sealing. Do you have an opinion on this?
Also, (and I know I am venturing outside my original question), I don't understand the purpose of an oil ground. What's the difference between painting over an oil ground versus acrylic gesso?
Acrylic mediums with low viscosity may sink into the panel more than a more viscous medium, so it may be that "gloss medium" was observed to yield a heavier film. That is just a guess.Artists who eschew water-borne sizings and primers for hardboard may do so because water can swell fibers and raise an undesirable texture. Alkyd mediums and oil-based primers do not produce this effect. Where working properties are concerned, oil primer yields what is considered a "fast" ground, in terms of brush movement, compared to "slow" acrylic grounds which, being more absorbent, cause a little bit of dragging and "break" in brush strokes. There are ways to overcome this and improve lubrication in the first applications on an acrylic priming, by rubbing in a small amount of medium to reduce absorbency.
Thank you very much for the education!