Panels , medium .. questions questions ..

Hello all,

So far I mostly paint on canvas paper as most of my paintings are practices . I do not want to waste good canvases and the cheap ones seem grainy and just .. meh. 
Plus it is easy to store .
I have been gifted some panels for Christmas . They are gessobord by Ampersand and I love them ! Are there any no-no’s on gessobord for oilpaint ? Someone told me they’re for acrylic and that they’re no good for oil but I can’t find any information on it .

And what kind of panels do you recommend and use ? 

Another question : can you use the Geneva brush dip as a medium ? As there’s clove oil in the paint as well ?

Final one : what is your favorite blending brush ? I have Rosemary  and Co mundy mops but sometimes I find even those not “soft “ enough . But the shape of them I like . Other soft brushes I have might be too narrow . 
Thank you for reading . Have a nice day ,


  • I use Dibond ACM.  Aluminum Composite Material.  I give it a coat if gray enamel primer. I then brush on a middle value umber of Holbein oil ground.  I use one or two layers of the oil ground depending on how happy I am with the coverage.
  • Thank you @GTO

    Is that called allin panel ? I found an oil primed linen acm panel . 
    The brand is artefex.

    I am going to order a few different kinds of panels and see what I like the best . 
  • edited January 8
    @Annie, Ampersand gesso board is fine for oil. 
    The brush dip was not meant to be used as a medium. :)
  • @tassieguy

    Great ! Bevsuse I really like how smooth it is .
    Its almost like having to re think your painting on new surface .
    Thanks , Rob 
  • @Annie that artefax board sounds like linen over ACM and primed with an oil ground.  
    It will be like painting on a linen canvas.  But without any flex to it because it’s on the ACM board.  
    I’ve put canvas over ACM but of course it is not as smooth as linen and certainly not as smooth as painting on the panel without linen.
  • @GTO

    oh I see .. you put primer  on the “ naked “ board ?
  • edited January 8
    Yes ampersand gessoboard is fine for oils, I have used them, I have just bought a couple of their wee cllayborad too.

    Its a nice smooth surface which i prefer to work on too. I still do some on canvas though the weave can be tricky to paint on. However applying gesso can smoothen it out considerably.

    My favourite are Belle Arti wooden gessoed boards that I buy from Jacksons.

    I am considering giving aluminium a try too, as they are smooth surface and relatively low cost in comparison to other surfaces. They will need preparing though, and thanks @GTO for sharing how you go about that.
  • Ampersand seem to produce good quality materials although I've never used them myself. I prefer board to paint on than canvas (I feel more control of fine mark making) and if I did prefer canvas I'd now put linen on board backing because the painting is more stable and less prone to cracking, etc. I do woodwork so make my own panels from masonite/ hardboard with a framing at the back.
    In the last 12 months I turned my attention to the research and advice from art conservators. If you watch youtube you can be convinced oil paints need medium as a matter of course. In fact most artist quality paints are suitable and even optimal to paint with - even glaze - without medium. I'm glazing successfully without it - and more oil risks yellowing in long-term, particularly with light colours and blues. This is what the research demonstrates. Occasionally I find certain of my pigments do need a small amount of medium such as my burnt umber (winsor & newton). Most have the optimal pigment load and oil. I've also stopped using solvent in early stages because it can leave paint underbound by oil.
    Sometimes mediums might be used for special purposes such as quicker drying, or impasto medium. Some people just like to use it or solvent or zinc paints. And if you don't particularly care if your paintings last for very long ages none of what I've said matters. Still others may have a different take on the research which is great because different perspectives question our assumptions and help us learn.
  • Yes, I'd stay away from the zinc white. It's not a good look when your clouds start falling to pieces. And too much solvent is bad, too, as you say, @Abstraction.  You can end up with a chalky look and unbound paint that rubs off easily. I've come to the conclusion that the less stuff you add to your paint the better.
  • @Annie yes these days I just paint on the ACM with only the primer and oil ground on it.
  • @MichaelD
    Thank you 😊
    I will check the ones you use out , too.
    Yes, I love that smooth surface . It’s a whole new way to do it , for me . 
  • @Abstraction

    I don’t think my pears or apples will need to survive centuries but at least a lifelong so that people who buy them or who are gifted them, can enjoy it . 
    I really like this Ampersand gessobord. The blending is so easy . Although you need to be very careful it seems . Things move around way faster .

    I almost never use medium . But sometimes I need very thin line and need thinnner paint than what’s coming out of the tube .

    Interesting that you glaze without medium . Never thought of that 
    Thank you so much for your response. 
  • tassieguy said:
    Yes, I'd stay away from the zinc white. It's not a good look when your clouds start falling to pieces. And too much solvent is bad, too, as you say, @Abstraction.  You can end up with a chalky look and unbound paint that rubs off easily. I've come to the conclusion that the less stuff you add to your paint the better.
    I don’t use it at all , zinc white . Nor solvent . And most times not even another medium . I do end up with chalky looking splotches with titanium white and got some titanium buff . Maybe it’s my imagination but it’s less chalky ?
    Thank you !! B
  • @GTO
    Thank you for sharing . I’ll see if I can find some here. Much appreciated.
  • @Annie you can use any surface you want. The important thing is to be consistent with practice.
    Using brush dip as medium is not a good idea cz it is manifuctured to stay wet for longer period of time.
    And harder brushes blends well than soft hair brushes.
  • Thank you .
    I understand I could paint on anything but I wanted to see what people use that’s smooth and not needing me to gesso layers and layers before that 

    I was wondering about if brush dip will affect the painting eventually . I like my paint to stay wet for a long time . That’s why I love Geneva paints .

    When I use a hard brush , I move my paint around it see the lines of the brush . 
    I like rounder sort of blenders .
    Do you just “ dab” your brush for blending ?
    I suppose it takes practice too . Somehow it ends up scratchy for me .

    Thank you @[email protected]! Much appreciated 
  • On brush dip - depends on recipe. For example, if it contains clove oil, then the MITRA forum* resources on Solvents and diluents ( says this:
    Essential Oil of Cloves or Clove Oil has been used as a preservative in emulsions and as an additive to mediums to substantially slow down their drying rate. There are far better preservatives available today. The use of clove oil as a drying retarder is greatly discouraged as its addition tends to substantially weaken the dried paint film.
    Clove oil is a non-drying oil and advice from conservators seems to be to keep non-drying oils away from your paints. I would rather use fresh paint each day than risk losing a painting that has a compromised paint film.
    On the same site Sarah Sands from Golden responds to someone whose oil paint isn't drying - although not 100% clear of the cause:
    "We are not fans of adding clove oil into paints. It is an extremely powerful antioxidant and, while you have seemingly had luck in the past, future results (and clearly present ones as well) can differ. If you need to have more open time in an alla prima process, we would recommend trying to use poppy or safflower oil as safer."
    M Kinsey: "I would echo Sarah's caution against use of essential oil of clove in mediums. The main antioxidant component (eugenol) is not standardised from brand to brand, and last time I investigated, it seemed there was a significant difference between the same product from several sources so I think it's probably very difficult to measure reliably. I also agree that later adding a product which accellerates drying will make the paint film very complicated and may yield unpredictable, undesirable results"
    We also need to consider that Mark would disagree with this. I'm sure there are differing views and I'm simply presenting one that reflects . You can search clove oil on the site and you'll find they also acknowledge Mark's use of it without problems. Perhaps he is very selective on the clove oil he uses - I would be interested to learn.

  • Abstraction

    I get the sense that MITRA are flying by the seat of their pants in this set of responses.
    The statement about weak skins is really only an assertion. No tests, experiments or observations.
    Clove oil is really a distillate that functions as a solvent and boils off within hours or days of application and exposure to the air. Used in such small quantities I doubt that it could complicate the paint film.

  • Annie said:
    I was wondering about if brush dip will affect the painting eventually.
    You might be totally correct, particularly about small amounts. Still, a group of experts in the field on one of the most respected sites on art conservation and materials separately agreed that they view it as a risk and recommended other solutions. They appear very disciplined in their fields, including chemists, conservators and researchers. I haven't had the sense that they are ever 'flying by the seat of their pants'. No tests but in this case conservators shared observations on paintings with problems they view as potential impact of clove oil (difficult to attribute so not evidence) and others shared insights based on their understanding of the chemistry. So no studies as you say.
    The conclusion I drew from perusing numerous posts in MITRA other than those I've quoted is that in small amounts clove oil shouldn't cause a problem. But theoretically it can, and issues have emerged at times attributed to clove oil. The view of many professionals in the field is that it is a risk. I think that's worth knowing and worth posting in response to the original question. Others have clearly used it without problems.
    I don't have an agenda one way or another. Just sharing information.
  • I’ve used 2% clove in walnut oil and haven’t seen any problems.  I have paintings that were done 2 1/2 years ago and the paint film seems fine.  Don’t know how it will hold up in a hundred years but that will be a conservators problem.
  • edited January 13
    The cheapest thing, that countless artists who sell paintings for many thousands of dollars use regularly is a masonite type board.  I buy the ones that come finished on one side.  Last time I bought some it was 12 dollars a sheet for 32 square feet of material.  So about 10 cents per 5x8 panel.  You can get it pre-cut from art stores also, and it is still cheap.   I put gesso over it, but it also works fine to prime with cheap acrylic and paint over that.  I have also painted on the painted side.

    If you don't like to gesso, and i don't greatly like it either, it may be because I bought cheap stuff, then I would use Rustoleum primer in grey.  I use the spray, but in future I may use the stuff from a can.  I also bought liquitex basics, in white, cadmium red, and burnt umber.  I use either the tan that Mark recoments, which is 1 part white to 3 or 4 BU,  I match it to a mid tone.  Or I use white and red.

    You can pretty much paint oil paint over anything, unless it is actually a release material, as with some plastics.  If it is absorbent, you need to seal it first
  • I don't know anything about clove oil but solvents that vent off will leave a porous paint film.  Possibly not for oil paint as it takes so long to dry.
  • edited January 14
    GTO said:
    I’ve used 2% clove in walnut oil and haven’t seen any problems.  I have paintings that were done 2 1/2 years ago and the paint film seems fine.  Don’t know how it will hold up in a hundred years but that will be a conservators problem.
    That's pretty much where I'm at, too, @GTO. We'll be giving future conservators jobs if our work is worth conserving. I doubt the small amount of clove oil in Geneva paints would cause any problems. And we hear a lot of stuff about whether this or that substrate is archival but they all have pros and cons. As @TamDeal says, you can paint oils on just about anything. The most important thing is to paint. I keep meaning to try aluminium and wood panels but I've got so used to painting on stretched canvas I'm loathe to change. I know it's characteristics and I like the springiness and texture of it. Paintings I did six years ago on canvas are still in pristine condition. I've never had a problem with cracking due to flexing or movement of the canvas. But I will get around to trying ACM eventually. 
  • @tassieguy this last year ive painted on gallery wrapped canvas and ACM panels.  I’ve used floating shadow box frames on the stretched canvas which makes framing so very easy.  I wish there was a way to do a simple frame like that for the ACM panels.  
  • GTO

    I wish there was a way to do a simple frame like that for the ACM panels.  

    Floater Frames we’re originally used for mounted photographs on panels.
    Floating an ACM panel is just the same.


  • Thanks for the link @dencal
    That looks like a good solution.
  • GTO, my framer makes the cradle our of polystyrene - very lightweight and it does the trick. You just glue it in place inside the frame and then attach the painting panel to that. It's a clean, lightweight and economical solution. 
  • @Annie, if you are ordering different panels, try the Centurion Linen panels.  Jerry's Artarama sells them. They have an oil primed and a universal primed version.  You can use either one with oil paints.

    They are good panels and are relatively inexpensive.  I know several professional artists who use them.  One is Michele Byrne who has her studio in Santa Fe now.  She does impressionistic landscapes and cityscapes using a palette knife. 

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