Sunday, 24 March 2019

Which Surfaces are Suitable in Acrylic Painting


Artists Guide to Preparing Canvasses, Boards and Paper for Acrylics

Acrylics are pigment bound with a polymer medium. It is water-soluble when wet, but water resistant when dry. It is a great base on which to complete oil paintings if conducting the under-painting and glazes. However, the acrylic painting surface must be properly prepared.

Any surface onto which a painting is applied is known as a “support.” Stretched canvas is the first type of support to spring to mind when one thinks of the artist’s practice. However, wood, card and even paper can be used if they have been properly sized with a gesso or primer. Such a sealant is known as a “ground.”

Acrylic Painting on a suitable surface


Sizing the Support Ready for Acrylic Painting


Applying the ground is known as “sizing.” The surface must be sized before the acrylic paint can be applied, otherwise the absorbent nature of the surface will retard the flow of the acrylic paint and cause it to sink, making the vibrant colours of the acrylic paint become dull. Grounds will be further explained in a moment.

Acrylic Gesso is the ideal ground for Acrylic Painting


Suitable Supports for an Acrylic Painting


Different supports can be used for an acrylic painting.

Stretched canvass
Wood, including plywood, MDF and hardboard.
Thick card
Thick paper of at least 300gsm
 
Paper, card and MDF are suitable supports for acrylic painting

Ready Stretched Canvas


Canvasses can be purchased ready stretched and primed onto a wooden frame. Various textures exist, from fine to coarse texture. Some artists take pleasure in stretching and preparing their own, but this can be time consuming. Certain DIY and craft stores stock ready-stretched canvasses quite cheaply. Coarse texture canvas is suitable for expressive paintings with broad brushstrokes. Fine texture canvas is suitable for more detailed paintings.



Artists Panels


MDF, hardboard and plywood provide suitable panels for acrylic painting. The surface provides a firm support that canvas lacks, for more control over the paint. However, wood must be properly sized so that the acrylic paint will not sink and become dull. Simply sand the surface gently with fine glass paper in order to provide a key for the ground.

Art Boards and Daler Boards


The large outlet, Daler Rowney famously stock Daler Boards. These are simply ready prepared thick card. Some are made with primed linen-canvas stretched and glued onto board. Card can be self-prepared at home at the fraction of the price by sizing it with a ground at home.

Painting in Acrylics on Watercolour Paper


Watercolour paper is ideal for acrylic painting, although it will need to be sized with a ground first. Watercolour paper is available in countless textures and grains. HP or hot pressed paper has a smooth surface. “Not” or cold pressed has a random texture. Rough watercolour paper is highly textured. The most suitable paper would consist of a thickness of 300gms or thicker.

Sizing the Surface with Acrylic Polymer Primer Ground


All sort of grounds are available in the market. Some require lengthy preparations, but the easiest to use is acrylic polymer primer. This is a brilliant white fast-drying water-based paint, ideal on which to apply acrylic paint. Two coats in a ventilated room at an hour’s interval are all that is required. A further coat might be necessary for very absorbent surfaces. Sometimes, acrylic primer is sold as “acrylic gesso primer.” It is a good guide to look for the word “acrylic” on the tin. Reading the manufacturer’s instructions will ensure satisfactory results.

Preparations Suited for an Acrylic Painting


All sorts of surfaces can be used for acrylic painting. This can include ready stretched canvasses and art boards, such as Daler Boards, available within craft outlets, to preparing your own. Wood, card and even watercolour paper can be used. So long as the surface has been properly sized, the acrylic paint will flow freely and the painting will retain its bright colours.

Acrylic paint can be used as the end medium or it can be used for the underpainting of an oil painting or the underglaze.

1 comment:

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