Saturday, March 17, 2012

Studio Experiments

Unexpected Palette, 3x4, oil on prepped mat board
I've been busy getting some panels ready for a big painting trip next month, and wanted to experiment on some scraps of this surface to see how I liked them. These are colored mat board coated with clear acrylic matte medium, which I will paint on with Gamblin oil paint. I wanted to have some light weight panels instead of wood or canvas covered boards so that they would be less weight in the suitcase. In the past, one of my teachers used mat board covered with gesso as painting surfaces when traveling. I have used those before, but didn't like the rough texture, and didn't want to deal with the dust of sanding them smooth.

Recently, Michael Chesley Johnson wrote about coating his wood panels with matte medium (see end of his article). I decided to combine the two teachers' ideas. I'm always trying to use what I have, instead of ordering the newest and greatest product. Although there are very lightweight pre-made panels available for the plein air painter online, I figured I could use the piles of scraps of colored mat board that were stored in my closet. I put on two coats of clear acrylic matte medium using a 2" house painting brush, brushing each coat in a different direction which gave just a very slight texture. Because they were colored, the panels would therefore already be 'toned'. I also coated the backside of the panels, which were white. This way, I could use either side depending on the subject matter.

Michael also recently wrote about using an alternate color palette of cadmium yellow, quinacridone red and prussian blue. I really enjoy using unexpected palette combinations, so gave it a try today on the panels I prepped earlier in the week. I got some lovely colors from this combination. I was having some problems with the texture I was getting on the panels. At first I couldn't decide what was the problem. I finally figured out that because the surface of the boards were so smooth and I was using stiffer bristle brushes - they were causing a 'scratchy' looking effect. I switched to a smoother nylon bristle and was much happier with the result.

1 comment:

Nancy Van Blaricom said...

Interesting post Nancy. I've heard of others who have used museum board covered with gesso. Like the idea of the matte medium and NO sanding ... I may give this a try. Thanks for sharing this idea.