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painting the figure

IN OILS

module 1: supplies

F: Painting surfaces

a. Surface types

The first one is the standard that everybody thinks of when you think of oil painting, which is stretched canvas. Basically it's a piece of canvas that has been stretched over wooden bars. This one I prepared myself because it has an extra primer. This was a store-bought canvas, so it was primed with acrylic gesso. That makes them usable for both oil and acrylic. However, what I like to do is put an extra layer of oil primer made either by Gamblin or Winsor Newton which makes it more suitable for oil painting but unusable for acrylic. Once that dried, I toned a canvas with a neutral gray color of oil paint. That is the easiest option to find, with a modification that makes it easier for me to paint on.

Linen panel.

My preferred surface to paint on. What I normally get is Centurion OP DLX rolls of linen, cut them to size, and mount them to the board using Miracle Muck. Once that is adhered, I put down a extra layer of oil primer. Sometimes I will tone them depending on What I have planned for it. Usually for a plein air outing I like to tone my board to cut down on the sun glare.

Gessoed hardboard.

I don't have a preferred brand of acrylic gesso. I normally go with either Liquitex or Golden. You can apply it with a brush or a rubber brayer. I also add an extra layer of oil priming over it just so that the acrylic gesso isn't so absorbent. That's something that you may find you like.

Shellac-primed plywood.

You give it a few coats of shellac. I sand it first then shellac it so it has some tooth to it. It is a very smooth surface and you have the natural color of the wood that can come through the painting.

Aluminum Composite (ACM)

It is literally just two really thin pieces of aluminum glued to foam core. You can treat it like a piece of wood. You can glue canvas to it, gesso it, sand it. You may even just be able to paint on the surface itself once it's sanded a bit. A lot of people swear by aluminum composite material. The advantage to it is that it's pretty much weatherproof. The corners are a little soft compared to wood panel. Otherwise, it's a very durable surface.