Monday, February 1, 2010

Painting on Matboard

"Mingus View" 8x10, oil/paper - contact Michael


"Courthouse Butte Glow" 8x10, oil/paper - contact Michael

We artists are always searching for cheaper materials. One option for oil painters, especially if you're looking for a good surface to sketch on, is acid-free matboard with a couple of layers of acrylic gesso.

While unpacking my new studio, I found a stack of matboard scraps that had been in storage for nearly four years. I decided I'd have some fun, so I took some 8x10 pieces and brushed on two layers of Golden Acrylic Gesso. I asked on the WetCanvas forum about the advisability of first sizing the boards with something like Golden's GAC-100, but the responses were mixed. (If any of you in BlogLand have an opinion, please let me know!) I let the brush create some neat texture, and once the boards were dry, I went out. The results are above. Although the surface isn't as absorbent as Ampersand Claybord, it is fairly absorbent. I like the way the paint "sets up" pretty fast because of it.

By the way, I used an Art Cocoon I to hold my 8x10 matboard while painting. Although I could have taped the matboard to an 8x10 foamboard sheet and then put it in a wet panel box to carry it home in, I don't have any 8x10 boxes. The Art Cocoon was perfect! (www.myartcocoon.com)

16 comments:

John D. Wooldridge said...

Wow! Love this idea! I wonder if for purposes of shows, etc. this could be considered a "paper"??

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

I suppose that, technically, this would be a "work on paper," but if you glue it to a hardboard panel (of course with archival, reversible glue) I would consider it to be oil on panel.

The Windrush Gallery said...

Hey Michael, I really like this view of Courthouse Butte. Very nice composition and depth.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks! It looks even better in person .

Gary Keimig said...

Like your idea of mat board. I have tons of the pieces that I thought only good as fire starter. I have given them to the school. Kids to do art on, friends who want to mat small things. They may now have to look for a new source.
Your last several posts are great.
I just did about an hour painting of Oak Creek Crosssing from photos taken several years ago. 6"x6". Great area.

B Boylan said...

Every time I drop on by, I always find some "eye candy" to sweeten my day! Incredible as always! I'm not an oil painter, but us pastelists sometimes prep boards with a rough gesso of sorts to create interesting under paintings. would love to see this IRL!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Gary and Brenda! Brenda - I've done the same, and it is a neat effect!

Aline Backes said...

Beautiful work!

billspaintingmn said...

Thanks for this "tip" Michael! I have got to give this a try.
Your paintings look great, Thanks!

Bill Cramer said...

Nice Michael. Some frame shops sell the drop outs from their mat cuttings. I used to work in a frame shop and these drop outs would pile up, get damaged, etc. If you're going to try this, it might be worth it to ask around and see if some free ones are out there.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Great idea, Bill! Time to go annoy the framemakers...

Anonymous said...

Painting on matboard is a nice change from canvas and I personally would use rag museum board. Better material. Gac 100 then a coat of acrylic primer. Nice work!

Anonymous said...

I love painting on mat board as it sets up quickly. I like quick "tack/set up." But, I was scowled at and told it "would rot in time." Now I'm confused and quite a bit reluctant to paint on this surface again. Should one ask a museum? Thanks

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

If you use acid-free or archival matboard, the material will not rot. You can also use museum board, as someone else suggested.

Lori said...

I've been sandwiching 1/8 inch foam board between two layers of rag mat baord... sturdy enough to frame and light enough to ship. Sometime I glue watercolor or canvas to the "sandwich".

Those paintings are little jewels.

John Ries said...

Michael. I have been using the backside of matboard cutouts (window drops) for 25 years or so,both for finished graphite pieces ,when coquille board was discontinued.And with a coat of gesso as a painting surface.What the heck it is acid free and certainly sturdier to work on than most papers. J.R.