I am posting this here to encourage other artists to poke holes in my arguments.
I have been thinking and experimenting over the years on the nature of the supports and paints I would like to use for my paintings and here are my conclusions so far:
- It is important for me to reduce present and future flexing of the paint film. For small sizes, say up to 12 inches, I use solid boards such as Masonite or plywood supports. I buy oil primed linen and after sealing the board with Golden GAC – 100 on all sides and edges, glue the linen to the boards with PVC glue. The gluing is done by spreading evenly a layer of glue on the board and pressing the linen onto the board carefully and evenly with my hands. I then trim to the edges with a sharp knife. I don’t use a bayer roller in order to avoid lumps. For larger paintings, the boards would get too heavy, so I staple them to stretchers. So I don’t waste time stretching a bad painting, I tend to paint on linen that has been temporarily stretched with masking tape onto a large board. If the painting turns out, I stretch it.
- It is also important for me to be consistent with the painting medium from layer to layer. i.e. I prefer to stick to oil-based paints and would rather not paint on top of acrylic primers. I may be breaking my own rule by using Ampersand gessobord panels for 6 x 6 and 6 x 8 inch boards. It is just too much trouble to do my own small boards and I hope that Ampersand has made them durable enough. Another reason is that while I like the texture of linen on the larger work, I find it distracting on the smaller paintings.
- For health/environmental concerns and because it is friendly to my brushes, I work almost exclusively with walnut-based oils.
- The exception to my rule about sticking to one medium is a top varnish layer. Since it is intended as a protection which may have to be removed at some point, this layer should not stick to the paint in a permanent way. For this reason I am afraid of painting with mediums that might contain substances that could bond to the varnish.