Oil Painting on Paper?

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  1. #1
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    Oil Painting on Paper?

    Does anyone use oil paint on paper? I've been wondering if I could gesso paper and use it, just to get rid of some of these stacks of heavy watercolor paper I've got lying around. I've heard that some people have mounted paper to wood or masonite (but not what they mounted it with, or how?), and then painted on that, but no details on what kind of paper and whether it warped or discolored, and whether it was gessoed or had some other preparation done to it...

    Any experience here?

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    I've done one painting straight to grey paper, I assume it's stll holding itself together but I think eventually it'll disintegrate. It was horrible to paint on, so I don't really recommend it even if you don't care about the work.

    I bought some ready made gessoed paper from the art supply store, and they felt pretty much the same as ready bought canvases, annoying but cheap. I think some course mates of mine gessoed some of their own paper and painted on it, I don't remember them having any problems.

    In the donato mechanic download he prints his sketch and mounts it on wood (if I remember right), I didn't know the coating he used to do it so I don't remember it, but you can always buy the vid from the sale, if it's still going.

    I think as long as you manage to seal the whole paper you're not going to have too much trouble.

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    I have bought an oil painting paper from daler rowney.

    I am using it for my grissalle sketches. They are pretty nice, because they are toned, have got texture so that the paint has got grip, and you can also use a lightbox for tracing your sketch. Just tape it on the wall and paint.
    You don't have to prime it, there won't be a sucking in.
    Don't use acrylics, because the paper starts to curl.

    You can erase your painting with a towel and turp in a second to start all over again. The paper stays in perfect shape, even if you handle it rude. Your sketch, if secured with fixative, will remain.

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    I'm not an expert on the matter, but I did some paintings on gessoed water color paper a year or so ago. They're still fine. Make sure to gesso both sides to counteract the warping.

    You can fix the paper to wood or masonite with acrylic medium and a rolling brayer. Donato has some information about this technique on his website. You can use any paper, but if you go with the heavy paper, put it on both sides of your board to counteract the warping.

    Dipping directly from the acrylic gesso jar and using it on the paper, for some reason made mold grow in my jar. The paper itself never showed any signs of molding, but I think it may have contaminated my gesso. I would suggest pouring in a bowl what you'll use to prevent contamination.

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    Works fine. You have a couple of options:
    Stretch like you would for watercolor, then prime with acrylic gesso and cut it off the board when thoroughly dry.
    Give both sides a few coats of acrylic gesso, then tape down to a board when the surface is dry but the paper is still "limp" so that it dries flat.
    Wet the paper and mount it on hardboard with acrylic medium, then seal the surface with medium and/or gesso.
    Or, if you don't want to use acrylics, you can prepare paper for oil painting with shellac, hide glue, or strong gelatin size.


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    This was already discussed here a few weeks ago.

    Short answer: oil will degrade paper. You need to mount, size and gesso it first, at which point you might as well simply use gessoed masonite and save yourself the trouble.

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    I've used oils for years on gessoed Arches cover used mostly for printmaking. It absorbs well so buckles little with gesso. Actually dries a little like cloth. Just seal it all up to the edges and don't get any oil on the back unless you gesso that too. I don't do the back because it makes it kind of heavy with larger pieces.

    I enjoy working on masonite, wood, and metal but there is just something about using paper once in awhile.

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    Wow, thank you all, these are all promising replies, and I'll go look up the Donato information forthwith.

    The reason I asked is because I've optimized a work process for goauche painting, in which I do a highly detailed sketch, scan it, and then print it onto watercolor paper for final paint. I've been wanting to return to oil painting for a while, but I really, really didn't want to go tracing/pouncing/carbon-papering/light-boxing/projecting/etc the sketch onto canvas... it feels too much like a duplication of effort after spending so much time on the initial sketch. I was hoping there was some way to keep doing it the way I was, while still getting an output that I could use oil paint with.

    It seems like there is! I am very excited.

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    All I can say is that I want to do this.
    I've seen people doing some beautiful stuff in their moleskines. It'd be neat to carry around oilsketches in sketchbooks.. dunno why.

    Oils are so damn expensive where I live though. Even though they are affordable it's too much for my budget (=practically homeless!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loathsome View Post
    All I can say is that I want to do this.
    I've seen people doing some beautiful stuff in their moleskines. It'd be neat to carry around oilsketches in sketchbooks.. dunno why.

    Oils are so damn expensive where I live though. Even though they are affordable it's too much for my budget (=practically homeless!)
    Actually, expense is one of the reasons I went with this workflow. Sketchbooks are cheap. I can work out ideas with a lot more freedom, knowing that the paper's a few cents a sheet and that if I really like something I can easily transfer it to a paper I can finish it on.

    Paint and paper/canvas are still expensive, but at least I don't worry as much that I'm going to ruin $15 worth of materials instead of $1. Every little bit helps.

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  17. #11
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    Paper is an excellent surface for oils (Rembrandt painted on paper) but you have to prepare it properly. Raw paper will be burned by the acids released by the oil as it cures so it needs to be externally sized as Elwell mentioned earlier. There's no need to add a ground (acrylic gesso) just use acrylic medium that prevents oil pentration. Golden's GAC100 medium is designed specifically for this and you'll need at least 4 coats. There's an open question as to how well oils will hold to acrylic mediums. That's why acrylic gesso contains solids that allow oils to penetrate into it. If you plan on using acrylic gesso you might as well not use paper, and just prime the panel that you would be using for support.

    Hide glue works well for sizing paper but also needs several coats. Whenever you use water you need to be sure to wait long enough (possibly several days) for all of it to dry out before you paint with oils. Shellac is my personal favorite paper sizing since it doesn't use water which would require you to stretch the paper first, and it only needs about 2 coats of a 2 pound cut of shellac to protect the paper. Dries faster too.

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  19. #12
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    I have often in the past painted on cardboard, simply cut from old boxes. I just covered them in a layer of acrylic paint. It seemed to work perfectly well, although it's a good question whether they will last. It is not something I would do for paintings I hope to pass on to the grandkids. ;-)

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