Jacksons Art -- Aluminium Painting Panels

Hello everybody -- long time lurker, first time poster :)

I've been curious about aluminium as a painting substrate, and came across the aluminium panels provided by Jacksons Art -- anybody tried them?

Their panels are anodised aluminium -- which is quite different to Dibond (an ACM). Anodised means the aluminium won't "oxidise" and tarnish. 

Jacksons Art Blog: "These panels have an anodised aluminium surface that is ready-prepared for use with all types of painting media, including oil, acrylic, watercolour, gouache and ink as well as some drawing media like pencil and pen. No priming is necessary. The paint will adhere very well to the metal."

This is a bonus given there's no white coating to sand down (like you do with Dibond), however Jacksons advises (in the comments beneath the blog post) a "light sanding" if someone wishes to use a primer for a different texture/colour. A light sanding is so that the priming will adhere better (which makes me worry given that aluminium dust is hazardous to breathe).

I don't know if I'm overthinking it, but I'd love to know if anybody here has tried Jacksons panels before and can give their two cents? 

Comments

  • edited December 2021
    @ari88

    Ha ha, I like your opening line.  :)

    I had recently read that the art shop aluminium panels are way over priced compared with buying elswehere. I hadn’t realised, as you mentioned, that they are different than the likes of Dibond.

    I’m not an expert on them, but there are plenty of knowledgable people on here who I am sure can advise.


    I get my wooden panels from Jacksons, I have yet to give aluminium a try.


    If you type `aluminium panels` into the search box on here it will come up with a few past threads and posts and I am sure some useful info there too.



    ari88
  • I haven't tried them and nobody is likely to have any experience of how long they last which is the main claim they would have.

    "Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts." 

    In practice it is often top coated with a clear coat to increase the properties of the oxide layer.Apparently it does improve the adhesion of paints, assuming that it isn't top coated already, as most anodizing is.

    I used some al flashing stock as a palette liner, and found I couldn't easily remove the dried paint as I had hoped (as with glass).

    I do find it weird that they are saying beware of the oxide layer on aluminum, try instead our oxide layer on aluminum, but it seems to be correct that anodizing is taken as a superior base layer.  The oxide layer on Al, is very thin and stable, and deposits instantly.  It isn't like rust, it won't progress.

    I also find it weird they are saying it is ideal for ink, watercolor, etc...  Really?  People want to do watercolor on a metal surface?  Most artists seem to be as concerned with how the surfaces takes paint physically as how durable it is. 

    Flashing is actually pretty cool.  It is very cheap and easy to cut, and takes paint well, you can get it where one surface has a baked on surface.  If it could be easily adhered to a board, it would be pretty interesting.  Because should it ever separate, it would not be like linen glued to a board, it would be very easy to conserve and apply to something else.
  • ari88

    I will only use ACM. The list of faults, difficulties and limitations with linen or cotton canvas or with hardboards has driven me to aluminium panels.

    Can be used straight or sanded to give some tooth. Avail in many colours eg browns, beige, black, white as a toned support. 

    My pref is to use a tinted, water based, metal primer over lightly sanded  aluminium composite panel.
    Many brands available. Love this no odour Dulux product. My supplier tints it grey or a red/brown for me.

    No adhesion, slipping, cracking or wrinkling problems. 



    Denis
  • MichaelD said:

    If you type `aluminium panels` into the search box on here it will come up with a few past threads and posts and I am sure some useful info there too.

    Thanks Michael! And yes, the search bar for my first stop here. Read with great interest the info shared by @PaulB on his experience with Dibond :)
    MichaelDPaulB
  • dencal said:

    Can be used straight or sanded to give some tooth. 
    Thank you for the wonderful tips, Denis.

    I heard that to use Dibond/ACM straight (no sanding, just peel off and paint) is problematic due to the smoothness of the polyester coating -- ie. every brush stroke is visible, a lot of paint required for opacity to hide the white surface beneath, so smooth you'll want to use watercolour brushes, etc.

    Then to sand it down for some tooth is also problematic given you'd be inhaling polyester/aluminium dust (reaching the AL layer beneath the coating seems inevitable).

    The hazards of inhaling not something I'd be concerned for myself, but more my cat (who shares both indoor and outdoor space with me, her coat would inevitably come into contact with the stuff no matter how much vacuuming I did, etc).  

    Can one simply apply a primer without sanding the coating of the ACM?

  • TamDeal said: ...nobody is likely to have any experience of how long they last which is the main claim they would have.

    Excellent point -- someone in the comments (under the JAB article) also pointed out: "Whether the adhesion is “fantastic” remains to be seen over time (50 years)."

    "Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process used to increase the thickness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts." 

    In practice it is often top coated with a clear coat to increase the properties of the oxide layer. Apparently it does improve the adhesion of paints, assuming that it isn't top coated already, as most anodizing is.

    By "coating", do you mean sealing? My understanding is that aluminium naturally forms a thin layer of aluminium oxide on its surface -- which makes it challenging for paint to adhere to unless this oxidisation layer is adequately removed and then "sealed" to prevent further oxidation. 

    I do find it weird that they are saying beware of the oxide layer on aluminum, try instead our oxide layer on aluminum

    I'm just as confused, perhaps this statement by them might shed light: "[Our] process modifies the surface by creating aluminium oxide within the surface, creating an extremely hard porous surface that allows fantastic adhesion of paints."

    I also find it weird they are saying it is ideal for ink, watercolor, etc...  Really?  People want to do watercolor on a metal surface?

    They admit that watercolour doesn't layer well at all on their panels, that it readily lifts off when rewetted.  Apparently it's the least permanent medium on their aluminium panels. 

    Flashing is actually pretty cool.  It is very cheap and easy to cut, and takes paint well, you can get it where one surface has a baked on surface.  If it could be easily adhered to a board, it would be pretty interesting.  Because should it ever separate, it would not be like linen glued to a board, it would be very easy to conserve and apply to something else

    Very interesting, do you mean like Alfoil??
  • ari88

    If I sand ACM it amounts to light scratching and is done outside.
    After my primer I block in with acrylic and overcoat with oils. No opacity problems with Geneva.
    Brush strokes can be eliminated with medium or maximised with texture gels
    Read the label on the tin. Ideal for glossy surfaces.

    Denis
  • dencal said:
    ari88

    If I sand ACM it amounts to light scratching and is done outside.
    After my primer I block in with acrylic and overcoat with oils. No opacity problems with Geneva.
    Brush strokes can be eliminated with medium or maximised with texture gels
    Read the label on the tin. Ideal for glossy surfaces.

    Denis
    Wonderful, thank you for clarifying that. Would it be possible to view any images of your work on AMC, Denis? Would love to see a finished painting using the steps you described above...
  • dencaldencal -
    edited December 2021
    ari88

    The technique described above is taught by Michael James Smith (MJS). A modicum of patience and a few simple brush strokes and stunning realism is possible.

    MJS has an on line school.  https://www.michaeljamessmith.tv/

    Here is a short video demonstrating his methods. https://youtu.be/8sa8e1mNC-s

    Denis

  • dencal said:
    ari88

    The technique described above is taught by Michael James Smith (MJS). A modicum of patience and a few simple brush strokes and stunning realism is possible.

    MJS has an on line school.  https://www.michaeljamessmith.tv/

    Here is a short video demonstrating his methods. https://youtu.be/8sa8e1mNC-s

    Denis

    Sorry I meant for the ACM panels using the light sanding, Dulux primer, Geneva paints, etc. MJS seems to be selling his own primed panels, which is a great option I guess.  
  • You might not need a primer:
    https://justpaint.org/painting-with-oils-on-non-porous-substrates/

    I do circular scuffing with wire wool which I find stops the polyester coating being broken through.
    jean_kahler
  • ari88

    Just tying up a loose end on this thread.

    here is the cutting, sanding and gesso prep of ACM.

    Please don’t use a lead primer.

    No need to glue on linen, unless you consider canvas texture essential.

    https://youtu.be/i6jBWM1fl-s

    Denis
  • "By "coating", do you mean sealing? My understanding is that aluminium naturally forms a thin layer of aluminium oxide on its surface -- which makes it challenging for paint to adhere to unless this oxidisation layer is adequately removed and then "sealed" to prevent further oxidation. "


    I am not sure what you mean by sealing.  Anodizing is a process of building up an oxide layer that is at best extremely durable, you find it on fishing reels and carabiners for climbing, and flashlights.  You normally don't find it on very large surfaces as it is expensive to do.  Sometimes there is a top coat to protect the anodized layer.  Often the surfaces is slick like glass.  I don't know what they are doing here. 

    Aluminum, does not in normal uses "further oxidize".  And with normal processes there is no way to stop it oxidizing, it happens instantly.  The moment is is exposed it oxidizes, but that layer is stable and protective.  Aluminum is somewhat hard to paint, that mostly has to do with exterior work.  If these makers have found an anodizing process that makes paint adhere better, that would be a good thing.  There are aluminum primers that are effective, but all the better if one does not need to bother.

    "I'm just as confused, perhaps this statement by them might shed light: "[Our] process modifies the surface by creating aluminium oxide within the surface, creating an extremely hard porous surface that allows fantastic adhesion of paints."

    Within the surface is a weird oxymoron.  Presumably they mean the textured surface, or that they are getting chemical bonds to the surface.  Porous is also very odd in the context of anodizing which is slick and hard.  But the literature does say anodizing improve surface adhesion.  I would be surprised if that improvement was permanent.

    There is a relatively easy way to tell if metals are receptive to paint, and that is whether water beads on the surface or wets it (lies smoothly over it).  I would try that.  But maybe whatever is going on with this is not operating on the same principles.

    "Very interesting, do you mean like Alfoil??"


    I had something similar in 12 inch width.  I am not recommending it, but if you have any of it around, as I do from renovations.  It is fun to experiment with.  The stuff I have in the large roll is plain aluminum both sides, but there are baked on finishes available and they would certainly speak to me more than vinyl surfaces on some other products.






  • dencal said:
    ari88

    The technique described above is taught by Michael James Smith (MJS). A modicum of patience and a few simple brush strokes and stunning realism is possible.

    MJS has an on line school.  https://www.michaeljamessmith.tv/

    Here is a short video demonstrating his methods. https://youtu.be/8sa8e1mNC-s

    Denis

    He is painting trees with a rigger, or similar very fine brush.  That is the kind of attention that does really well on smooth surfaces, but for whatever reason, a lot of people seem to want texture. 

  • dencal said:
    ari88

    I will only use ACM. The list of faults, difficulties and limitations with linen or cotton canvas or with hardboards has driven me to aluminium panels.

    Can be used straight or sanded to give some tooth. Avail in many colours eg browns, beige, black, white as a toned support. 

    My pref is to use a tinted, water based, metal primer over lightly sanded  aluminium composite panel.
    Many brands available. Love this no odour Dulux product. My supplier tints it grey or a red/brown for me.

    No adhesion, slipping, cracking or wrinkling problems. 



    Denis
    Sounds like a good process. 

    Here is my worry, and it applies to all such priming processes.  When I prepare panels, I make a bunch.  I still have some left over from a year or so ago when I tried out Bauman's approach to prepping masonite panels.  He sprays them with Rustoleum primer.

    So normally when one primes a surface it is painted pretty much immediately.  One does not wait a week, a month, or a year.  So I wonder what the super powers of these various primers are.  Do they remain active for ever.  They presumably are not forming chemical bonds to all these surfaces.  How do you chemically bond to glass.  So they are just hard products to rub off a surface.  But nothing remarkable.  I paint my fiberglass boat with Behr house paint, latex, and it does a great job, never lifts.  Paints by their nature stick relatively well to things.  I have applied it both with and without primer.

    The idea that there a primers that are formulated to stick better to surfaces, and that in turn paints stick better to them, makes sense.  Rather than having all the tasks paints have, the primer only has a few.  But at the same time, I wonder how long the receptivity lasts.

    There is a standard scratch test for adhesion.  And I would suspect that acrylic paint already meets it. Acrylic paint is pretty soft, but it does stick well.

    It goes like this.  You paint the surface and let it harden off.  You then score the surface with a knife on a roughly 1" grid.  Then you apply masking tape to it, firmly pressed down.  Then you rip the tape off.  If it doesn't lift the paint, it is good to go.  I know a test using masking tape sounds suspect, but it is an actual test.
  • TamDeal said:
    That is the kind of attention that does really well on smooth surfaces, but for whatever reason, a lot of people seem to want texture. 
    I began to paint on board because I don't like texture of canvas and found doing a portrait that the undulations of canvas weave interfered with my accuracy.
    This is a really interesting discussion with conservators on aluminium panels related to some of the issues you're discussing. 
    "The main concern with painting on ACM panels is always adhesion. You want to ensure the surface is prepped in such a way that you do not encounter scaling, flaking, delamination, etc. down the road." -The texture we do need is 'tooth'.
  • I’ve used Dibond ACM.  I spray with a gray rustoleum auto primer.  I wait a day and then use a 2” wide brush and brush a Holbein white mixed with umber to a mid tone.  But that mix is thinned way way down with low volatile turps. I wait a few days until that dries and then I do another coat of the Holbein mix.  
    Seems to hold up well enough and the oil paint adheres like it does on a prepped canvas.
  • TamDeal

    https://www.newlinepainting.com.au/paint-primer-guide/

    What is a paint primer?

    Paint primer, otherwise also known as an undercoat, are painted onto the surface before the colour paint is added. There are three main reasons for using a primer on a surface. It provides strong adhesion that acts as a glue between the surface material and the paint. It is an extra layer between material and the paint. This allows the finishing paint better durability and protection on the material. It also blocks any smell or stain from the material from surfacing.

    How is primer different from paint?

    Without delving deep into the nitty-gritty stuff, the difference between primers and paints lies in the chemicals inside them. Primers contain resins that allow them to provide a chemical bond between the surface material and the paint. Paints contain pigments that provide them colour along with the durability to perform better under certain conditions and weather.


    Denis



  • I watched a vid from an artist showing how he prepares ACP panels for pianting.

    Applies several coats of acrylic gesso.
  • I like the artists who have the honesty to say that if the process they use fails in a hundred years and causes conservators a nightmare to preserve, "it's a good problem to have".  Basically we are at the point where everyone does something different.  At least we are spreading our bets around.
    ArtGal
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