Diy Panels in Batches

Hello everyone, what’s next after making my pochade box?

You guessed it, making my own painting panels. Again, I decided to make my own painting substrates to save money and end up with the surface that I like to paint on. For the most part, I like painting on rigid surfaces over canvas. I would like to try painting on Belgian linen but it’s more expensive than canvas. So if you are interested in my process, read on below:

Panel Batch
I recently got some Ampersand’s Gessoboard panels that I like and have used. The ones I bought are small panels that come in a pack of 4. Even so, buying pre-made gesso panels can get pricey if you plan to use a lot of it. Case in point, for me it would have cost approximately $300 CAD vs. $45 for the amount of panels I got out of my diy batch.

Despite my wanting to save money, I do not compromise when it comes to best practices for producing archival quality work. The word “archival” is very loosely used in legal terms when it comes to commercial art materials. For me, I think of “archival” as preserving artwork in the integrity of the methods and materials used. That means using artist quality paints with pigments tested for high lightfastness against colour fading, acid/lignin free substrates that does not yellow over time, taking steps to prevent warping and cracking of the artwork, to the best of my ability. I try to take into account all current available precautions to ensure an archival quality work. So, I went about making my panels taking these considerations into account.

On to the process, I ended up getting 1/8″ Baltic Birch plywood. Some people use Hardboard or MDF which are cheaper, but depending on the manufacturer of these products you don’t know whats in them. So I got the birch plywood which is composed of wood sheets laid in perpendicular directions for stability, and glued together. I intended to only make relatively small panels, largest being 11 x 14″. If I wanted larger panels, I would go up a size to 1/4″ thick. If the size gets larger than that, the plywood might end up being very heavy and you might want to consider other options. I got my local hardware store to cut the plywood sheet into 30″ square sections to make it more manageable, then I brought it home.

Next, I want to talk about Support Induced Discoloration, SID for short. When working on wood, I used to seal my surface with Golden’s GAC 100 This prevents yellowing that is caused by contaminants released by moisture from the paint, into the wood. SID is especially applicable with acrylic or water-soluble paints that are light in colour. The yellowing and discoloration will show through.

When using oil paint on a wood surface, the sealing of the wood is to prevent the wood from sucking out the oils in the paint and causing “sinking in” of the paint. This makes the oil paint look dull and uneven. I wanted to seal the wood surface but I was looking for a bulk size sealer to save money. So I called Golden; a company that manufactures the GAC 100 and professional quality acrylic paints/mediums. I found out that their current testing revealed that their Gloss Polymer medium is even better at preventing SID. They also informed me that wood can be sealed with a commercial sealer without any problems. I have to say that I appreciate Golden’s honesty and impartiality in sharing this information.

At first, I tried cutting the panels out by hand and I used 2 coats of gesso with a foam brush. I loved the fine linen texture I got, but it look way too long:
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Looking to save money and time in this project, I wanted to make a large batch of panels. So I sealed both sides of my plywood with a commercial sealer using one of those small microfibre rollers. After both sides of the plywood was dry, I switched out for a new roller and gessoed one side of the plywood in a mid-tone gray. After the first coat of gesso was dry, I rolled on the gesso in the opposite direction. I gessoed for a total of 3 coats and made sure it was dry.

Then, I borrowed my father’s table saw and his help, and cut the plywood into pieces. I tried to optimize the amount of panels I could get out of them, so I cut them into various sized small panels. I left the gessoed plywood unsanded until all the panels were cut out. I didn’t want to worry about damaging the surface while cutting the plywood.

After they were cut out, I test sanded the gesso surface. It came out great, it felt velvety with only a slight tooth, just the way I like it. It only takes a quick light sanding that can be done before painting or it can be batch sanded when time allows.

I wanted to mention that when oil painting on acrylic gesso, you have to wait until it’s completely dry. This does NOT mean dry to the touch. Depending on temperature and humidity, total water evaporation could take 3 days to a couple of weeks (this information also from Golden). If water is not completely evaporated, it could cause cracking and peeling off of the oil paint. This is another reason, I wanted to bulk prepare all the panels so I can paint on it at any time.

I hope I didn’t bore you with the technical details. And I want to say that my going on about my work being archival, is not because I consider my artwork is “all that”. I have just seen so much deterioration in artwork in my former job as a picture framer. And I feel that since I have invested time, energy, money and soul into my work, why not do it right? At the same time, I am not against being spontaneous and using whatever is on hand to create something. However, that creation might not look exactly like it did, the day you created it.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it!

Just a quick post today, here is a “4×4” piece called “Crimson Vine” I was fooling around with one night:
img_3893This is painting is acrylic on deep edge canvas. I love the variation of opaque and transluscent effect of the crimson hues. So I decided to take the colour further, on the face, in the form of a vine.

This painting provokes an interesting thought; how much does our environment seep into our selves… Wishing you a great rest of the week!

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“Distant Shores”

Hello everyone, Happy Friday! I am looking forward to the weekend. I don’t know about you, but it seems that every week is about just barely getting through the week, and finally breathing a sigh of relief on Friday night. There’s always something coming up, something that have to be done or dealt with and it’s exponentially worse when there are kids involved. Anyhoo, enough of my ranting..

Below is a 4″x12″ acrylic painting called “Distant Shores” (click on image to see larger view):
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I’ve received several comments from people who wanted to know the actual size of my pieces. I thought my site name was self-explanatory 😆; I do like to work small. Art materials are expensive and the larger the work, the more it costs, and usually takes longer to complete. I am not opposed to working large and I may at some point, but since a lot of my works are experimental (as in, me testing out ideas/materials), I have kept my pieces small. So from now on, I will try to include the sizes of my pieces. I am still learning about putting my work out there in the wide wide world of the interweb, so reader feedback is much appreciated.

Moving on to “Distant Shores”, this piece was purely intuitive. I painted it late one night without intending to do any painting. I saw the canvas (by the way, I hoard/stock up on canvases when I see a bargain) and I just started to paint. This piece ended up looking like an alien city, but technically it was about making scratches into the surface of the paint:
img_3870As you can see above, many lines and scribbles were inscribed into the surface as well as leaving patches of gold.

I really enjoyed making the gold fine-line scribbles:
img_3869The thin gold lines that make up the scribbles resemble a storm. I imagine this type of weather in an alien world (although this happens on earth too).

In this detail you can see a vague silhouette of a city that is aglow from the evening sun:
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I decided to render the sun in a playful liquid swirl:
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I hope you like this piece, it was something new for me in terms of subject matter, technique and process. I am trying to expand my horizons and explore art mediums and or techniques that are new to me. Thanks for coming along with me in my journey. Have a nice weekend.

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“Summer”

Hi everybody, below is the last piece from Seasons mini-series:
img_3861 This is “Summer”. Unlike my “Winter” painting, I didn’t have a problem doing this piece. Summer is my favorite time of the year. Summer is so beautiful where I live (Vancouver Island). It is warm to hot with no humidity. And the water is gorgeous:
img_3864 In this detail, I hope you can see the thin layers of water atop the sand. This painting is obviously abstracted~ the water and sand does not look like that where I live, but it feels like that.

The sand and sun is all shimmering gold for me:
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In the detail below, I tried to capture the golden light of the sun dancing on the surface of the water:
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Here is a skewed shot of from the side:
img_3862You can see by the side shot that this piece is not as thickly built-up as other pieces that I’ve done. This is because the subject matter was very straight forward; I did not have to think long about what “Summer” is for me. When this stage of the painting presented itself, I didn’t want to add A thing. Compared to other paintings in this mini-series, it is the simplest and the fastest piece. But in the end, you have to accept when a painting is done.

I am looking forward to summer and I will try to endure the winter as well as I can. Anyone else feel the same?

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“Winter”

As promised, here is another one from Seasons mini-series, “Winter”:
img_3854 I had the hardest time with this one. A kind of block~ I don’t know if it’s because I really don’t like winter. As I get older, I don’t seem to handle cold and dark very well.

Anyhoo, for me, the good things about winter are being warmed by a hearth, rest, hibernation and sleep. I wanted to show a blanket of cold over a sleeping earth:
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The hard earth below is done with many textured rocks built up into layers:
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Over the earth, is a dark stormy sky mottled with forming snow:
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And on top of the blanket of cold, through the veil of sleep, snowy sprinkles:
img_3857 The white striations remind me of stitching on blankets.

I hope you like this piece, I am satisfied with its overall harmonious and calming feel despite the stormy clouds.

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“Fall” from Seasons mini-series

I just wanted to show you another piece from a mini-series, “Fall”:
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I decided to make a mini-series called “Seasons” after a painting I did earlier called “Primavera”:
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I chose to show you this painting for the obvious reason of fall being our current season. I used some Japanese red maple seed pods and leaf that I collected some time ago, into this painting:
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I wanted this piece to be glittering copper, bronze, and russet hues.
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img_3842I added these raised nodules that remind me some kind of seed-forms that fall from trees to buried in the earth to rise later, in the cycle of seasons.

Stay tuned for the rest of the seasons. And have a good weekend.

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“Earthscape”

Here is a little piece I did on 4″x4″ Clayboard panel:
img_3826 I wanted to experiment with acrylic paint and airbrush medium to get watercolour effects. It was interesting to work with acrylic thinned down to such a degree. It was also interesting to work on such a smooth surface such as Clayboard from Ampersand. It’s nice that the surface is rigid hardboard that comes pre-finished using archivally sound methods.

You can see the very thin “watercolour-look” of acrylic paint here, on the upper region:
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In this detail, you can see the heavy acrylic paint with micaceous iron oxide. It contrasts the thin “watercolour-look” layer quite well:
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The dimensional aspect is further enhanced by the “encrusted” gold highlighted in some areas. I wanted it to capture the beauty of minerals and crystals found in the something humble and eternal as our earth:
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 Here is another detail:
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I enjoyed exploring the thick and thin of this piece but I am still undecided wether I should varnish it in matte or gloss. Right now, it’s quite glossy. Or I can varnish some parts matte and some parts gloss. What do you think?

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“Capricorn”

Here is the last piece in the Zodiac series:
img_3802Capricorn is my star-sign.

I wanted to use deep blues and one of my favorite colours, Payne’s Gray for most of the painting. It’s hard to see, but variations of blue are used along the edges.img_3803

It’s also hard to see the bluish iridescent highlights on top of the star-sign itself :
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But, I do really like the abyss of blue space and millions of stars within:
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I’m glad my family’s star-sign project is finally completed. We’ll see if they work as a grouping while having incorporated everyone’s preferences in the individual paintings.

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“Virgo”

Here’s my husband’s birth sign:
img_3798 He requested to incorporate his favorite colour: green. So I complied with his request. It was used predominantly in the centre of the painting.

Then the green is extended by subtle edging on the sides:
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Finally it was used as an iridescent highlight layer over for the star-sign :
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Heres another detail shot:
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Originally when I thought of doing these pieces, I wanted to do the star-signs in gold or silver metallic paint. I guess I could have done them here, but I thought it would be more harmonious if I kept the signs themselves white (since, they are going to be grouped together). Instead I chose to incorporate small variations, in the subtle highlighting of the signs via iridescent overlay. I guess we’ll see if it was a good decision or not when they are grouped.

Stay tuned for the last of this mini series featuring my star-sign😀
Have a good weekend!

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Pisces

Here is the Pisces piece from the Zodiac series:
img_3794 This one is done with a fiery “nebula-like” centre by request of my eldest son.

To reflect the fiery “underpainting”, I decided to include a red line on the profile of the painting:
img_3795The sides of the painting are still matte black. I want to keep the matte black as a unifying feature on all four pieces of this series.

More details:
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img_3797 The sign part if the painting was done with white and an iridescent green to offset the warm centre of the painting. Again, it’s really hard to capture depth of these paintings in my photo. Moreover, it’s also hard to show the shift in the colours as the light hits the painting in various angles. Hopefully, you still get the sense of it.

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