house paint as gesso/underpainting?

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rdp 08-28-2007 11:44 AM

Acrylic House Paint as Oil Painting Primer
 
Has anyone actually tried acrylic exterior house paint instead of acrylic gesso as a hardboard panel primer? There are a few artist’s sites on the web that recommend it. Supposedly the house paint has less absorbency than gesso so supports a “juicier” oil paint surface. I’m a bit leery since, as far as I know, house paint is formulated for much less longevity than gesso. Any other ideas on how to reduce the absorbency on hardboard panels? I’m frustrated with the dull and dry looking paint surface that results from so much oil being absorbed into the gesso.

 

CareyG 08-28-2007 11:51 AM

Re: Acrylic House Paint as Oil Painting Primer
 
I know that some people do use it, but it’s not recommended from an archival point of view. Some of the appeal also seems to come from how much “cheaper” it is than acrylic gesso, however it’s not really when you consider that it’s so much thinner and takes more coats to make it work (or so I’ve heard from those who have tried). Also, I’d be leery, too, of the adhesion.

Here is an interesting post about reducing absorbency (though it gets a little off-topic, it’s still very interesting reading). http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=425041

~!Carey

 

jocelynsart 08-28-2007 12:41 PM

Re: Acrylic House Paint as Oil Painting Primer
 
House paint is not recommended because it’s life span is only intended to be for about 10 years, so that would be the archival issue.
Jocelyn

 

1100ww 08-28-2007 02:02 PM

Re: Acrylic House Paint as Oil Painting Primer
 
I always end up leaning toward the side of caution. I’d rather just have the peace of mind of knowing my materials are reliable (as I glance over at my table covered with expensive bottles of artist paints, brushes, and large containers of gesso).

But just for the sake of discussion…I can see why people might prefer house paint, and it’s not necessarily from a “cheap” point of view. I’ve painted plenty of murals, and I actually prefer the feel of exterior paint. For me, it handles much better than the tons of artist acrylics I’ve tried.

The argument most people bring up about house paint is, “Jackson Pollock used house paint, and now his paintings are falling apart.” The problem with that is, formulations and quality are different now than they were back in the 1940s-1950s. I’ve even heard that he used enamel. Maybe he used layers of enamel and latex, whatever he had laying around—yeah, this would definitely be prone to cracking! Especially big clumps/blobs of paint poured straight from a can, that just sit on the surface, waiting to fall off.

The thing is, “housepaint” is not an all-encompassing word. There are different quality levels. The cheaper latex paints are made with a vinyl and definitely wouldn’t be reliable.

The paint that I use for murals is high quality 100% acrylic, that’s been designed to hold up to freezing temperatures, rain, and blazing sun. Its’ been formulated specifically to resist cracking, and to have a high pigment load. Hypothetically, I don’t see why a high quality paint like this wouldn’t work for a piece of art, which isn’t going to be left in the rain, sun, and snow!

Is this stuff “cheap”? Nope. Another thing that I haven’t tried (but I suspect is a high quality product) is that “Kilz Premium” Primer. Kilz makes several different products, but the Premium is supposedly a very high grade of 100% acrylic (no vinyl). Seems like I’ve read that some artists here love the stuff, for use as a primer.

Here are some links to similar discussions (as you can see, some of them are quite lengthy and even end up being heated arguments):

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show…ght=housepaint

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show…ght=housepaint

http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/show…ght=housepaint

 

illuminous art 08-28-2007 02:17 PM

Re: Acrylic House Paint as Oil Painting Primer
 
Acrylic gesso is expensive? It starts at less than $3 for an 8 oz. jar at Dick Blick!

Fine gesso it is, too.

It is pretty absorbent, I get around this and “fake” an oil primer by oiling up the surface with walnut oil, then painting several thin coats of Cremnitz white over the gesso and letting it dry. Makes a real difference in paint handling and luminosity.

 

samhill 08-28-2007 03:29 PM

Re: Acrylic House Paint as Oil Painting Primer
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by rdp
Has anyone actually tried acrylic exterior house paint instead of acrylic gesso as a hardboard panel primer? There are a few artist’s sites on the web that recommend it. Supposedly the house paint has less absorbency than gesso so supports a “juicier” oil paint surface. I’m a bit leery since, as far as I know, house paint is formulated for much less longevity than gesso. Any other ideas on how to reduce the absorbency on hardboard panels? I’m frustrated with the dull and dry looking paint surface that results from so much oil being absorbed into the gesso.

Ken Auster uses hi-quality exterior satin or semi-gloss housepaint for primer, and he’s an internationally known painter. Top notch exterior house paint is made to stand up m in all types of weather for up to 25 years, so being protected under oil paint and hanging on your interior wall, should last for hundreds.

If you’re still worried, what I have done to cover up the absorbency of the gesso is to cover it with a very thin coat of artists quality acrylic paint. It seals it and when dried, the oil paint ‘pushes around’ very nicely over it.

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