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MITRA Forum Question Details

Image Picker for Section 0

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  • Best painting medium for flexible surfaceApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-11-16 00:07:22 ... Most recent comment 2016-11-16 06:18:00
    Acrylic Alkyd Flexible Supports Handling and Transportation Oil Paint Paint Mediums Storage
    Question
    I have been asked to paint a backdrop for a photographer, on a large canvas (5' x 8') with the following criteria:
    - the canvas will be rolled up so it must be flexible and not crack over time.
    - the end result must be matte, not shiny.

    I'm used to painting in oil, with a strong preference for oil, but I'm thinking acrylics would be the better choice. I"m thinking acrylic paint on canvas as acrylic can be flexible and inexpensive over a large area of canvas. There would be just two colours and those pigments are very inexpensive, but can be extended with a matte medium.

    Alkyd is also flexible, am I correct; and mediums could be added to oil paint, with a little bit of wax medium to matte it out, but I'm concerned with the flexibility of the surface if I use wax medium in any capacity.

    We don't expect this to last forever, but the photographer should be able to get the most of this for a long time. So I think we'd be happy if this piece can last for at least 5 years.

    What would be recommended?
Answers and Comments
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerFirst, our moderators will generally formulate our answers with longevity and stability as the main criteria. Adding to this is the fact that there are many times when a work that was initially intended to be ephemeral became valued after it creation. However, You may be able to get away with very thin alkyds on an acrylic dispersion ground and this probably will not crack in your period of intended use if applied thinly, but this is still a possibility. Artists alkyds tend to be fatter and with a lower pigment load than the highest quality oil colors. Perhaps more importantly, alkyds may retain some degree of gloss, which it sounds like you need to avoid. Matt painting backdrops usually need to be dead matte to avoid the creation of unwanted hot spots. Even what we call matte acrylic dispersion mediums generally create a paint with a slight gloss. If I were asked to paint a backdrop like this, I would likely use a high pigment load, low sheen, fluid acrylic dispersion paint or a matte vinyl paint (like Flashe) and thin it out liberally during application. This would likely achieve a rather matte work that should survive for the period you suggest. If you are dead set on a solvent born paint you might try to make a mock-up of thinned alkyds coated with a matte MSA varnish. If if this does work, you will need to wait a bit after the paint dries before applying the varnish. Perhaps one of the other moderators can weigh in on this subject as well.
    Baade, Brian
    2016-11-16 13:31:46
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerSome additional thoughts: Very lean paints like those created by adding very liberally thinning a paint can create a film that may remain soluble in its diluent. This would cause no issue for a piece mean to survive for only a short period, but as I wrote above, wishes and expectation change over time. Also, a lean very matte painting will always be more susceptible to abrasion and scratching than a painting with a more balanced pigment/binder ration. The backdrop will need to be well protected during storage, preferably with a soft non-abrasive film or tissue placed on the face of the canvas before rolling. About rolling, this is best done on a cardboard tube of as large a diameter as possible to help prevent over compression and to avoid crimping and unintentional folding of the rolled canvas during storage. Also, always roll the painting with the image side face out and covered. This may seem counter intuitive but when a painting is rolled face in, the surface of the paint film is most stressed when the painting is unrolled. A painting rolled face out does require a protective covering, but stresses are diminished when it is unrolled. I also realize that I did not address wax additives as matting agents. In this instance, and ignoring other issues about the use wax mediums in oils and alkyd paints, I do not believe that wax would provide enough of a matte effect to achieve the photo ready backdrop you seem to require.
    Baade, Brian
    2016-11-16 14:18:48
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerHi -

    We generally agree with what Brian has shared already but wanted to also address this from the standpoint of acrylics, which we believe would offer the longest service life in terms of flexibility, but like every medium it can have its downsides as well.

    If deciding to use acrylics look for ones that are already formulated to be matte when possible. Golden Acrylics offer a line of Matte Fluid and Heavy Body Matte Acrylics, and there should be other manufacturers as well. These will have higher pigment load to work with then trying to add matte medium to a regular paint line. Alternatively, you can paint with any of the professional acrylics and simply apply a matte varnish at the end. For advice and recommendation on varnishing procedures, consult with the manufacturer as instructions and advice might differ. Finally, if used to oils, you might find the fast drying quality of acrylics hard to adapt to. To make that transition easier, take a look at slower-drying mediums or slow-drying acrylic paint systems. The mediums can often provide 30 minutes or so of open time, while some of the slow drying acrylic paints can be worked for many hours.

    In terms of storing these, Brian's advice would be ours as well - select as large of a diameter of tube as possible. Ones used for casting concrete pillars, originally made by Sonotubes you can find a variety of brands now at building supply stores.

    In terms of downsides, acrylics are thermoplastic so in warm and humid weather they can become quite soft and any texture from a protective sheet can easily transfer to the surface. So trying to find a non-stick, wrinkle and texture free cover sheet is important and can be a challenge at a large scale. We would suggest looking into some of the large rolls of silicone release paper at places like Talas . Also keep in mind that all matte surfaces are inherently fragile and can be easily scratched, burnished, and will collect dust and dirt at a faster rate, so they should be handled with care.

    Hope that helps.

    Sarah Sands
    Senior Technical Specialist
    Golden Artist Colors
    2016-11-16 14:57:12
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentI forgot to mention the issue about the coversheet needing to be something that will not adhere to the surface. Thanks Sarah. This precaution should be observed no matter the medium. Leaner paint films do tend to stick less than more heavily bound paints (including those where the surface was varnished or when the matte effect was achieved by adding lots of a matte medium) but this needs to be a consideration when choosing any cover or wrapping material. I have some images of artworks that were completely destroyed because they were wrapped in bubble wrap, bubble side towards the paint surface, and shipped in a hot moving van.
    2016-11-16 16:25:00
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentComment: I forgot to mention the issue about the coversheet needing to be something that will not adhere to the surface. Thanks Sarah. This precaution should be observed no matter the medium. Leaner paint films do tend to stick less than more heavily bound paints (including those where the surface was varnished or when the matte effect was achieved by adding lots of a matte medium) but this needs to be a consideration when choosing any cover or wrapping material. I have some images of artworks that were completely destroyed because they were wrapped in bubble wrap, bubble side towards the paint surface, and shipped in a hot moving van Brian Baade
    2016-11-16 16:26:34
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentComment: Comment: I forgot to mention the issue about the coversheet needing to be something that will not adhere to the surface. Thanks Sarah. This precaution should be observed no matter the medium. Leaner paint films do tend to stick less than more heavily bound paints (including those where the surface was varnished or when the matte effect was achieved by adding lots of a matte medium) but this needs to be a consideration when choosing any cover or wrapping material. I have some images of artworks that were completely destroyed because they were wrapped in bubble wrap, bubble side towards the paint surface, and shipped in a hot moving van. Brian Baade
    2016-11-16 16:28:20
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentI forgot to mention the issue about the coversheet needing to be something that will not adhere to the surface. Thanks Sarah. This precaution should be observed no matter the medium. Leaner paint films do tend to stick less than more heavily bound paints (including those where the surface was varnished or when the matte effect was achieved by adding lots of a matte medium) but this needs to be a consideration when choosing any cover or wrapping material. I have some images of artworks that were completely destroyed because they were wrapped in bubble wrap, bubble side towards the paint surface, and shipped in a hot moving van. Brian Baade
    2016-11-16 17:18:52
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentThank you! I think I will go with acrylics, as it seems to be the best way to go about it - the Golden materials will be great in this case. Also, thanks for the advice re rolling up for storage, and so on. I will advise the photographer for the best practice in storage.
    2016-11-16 22:35:03
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