Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Oil Painting - Supports and Grounds

Rigid Supports:
Wood Panels - Cardboard - Standard Masonite Presdwood - Plywood - Metals - Grounds for Rigid Supports

Flexible Supports:
Paper - Textiles - Commercial Products - Grounds for Flexible Supports

Grounds - For Flexible Supports

General Importance of the Ground
After the support has been properly sized, it should receive a layer of paint called the ground. This ground is usually made of some sort of white pigment, bound to the support either by a glue-water binder [such as casein or rabbitskin glue], by a drying oil [such as linseed oil], or by a synthetic resin [such as acrylic or alkyd resin].

The ground is important for several reasons, and painters have known for centuries that a support primed with a good ground is preferable to a support that has received only a coat of size. First, the ground surface allows a more controlled and stronger paint handling than is possible on a support with no ground because it is more evenly absorbent. Second, if any repairs to the back of the canvas should become necessary, the restorer may work with less hazard to the painting when there exists a layer of ground between the textile and the picture.

However, the most important reason for the ground is that it allows the painting to retain its original brilliance of color, especially if the picture is done in oil colors. Most paint films become considerably less opaque as they age. If they have been applied over a dark surface, such as sized linen or a wood panel, the colors will appear darker with age. If they have been painted over a white surface, they will become brighter and more luminous with age. [pp. 104-105] Acrylic Resin Grounds

Alkyd Resin Grounds

Oil Ground

[Kay, Reed. The Painter's Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]



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