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Old 08-08-13, 05:13 PM
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JeffG JeffG is offline
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Location: US (NJ)
Posts: 121

Hi all;

I'm coming to this waaaay late, as I've neglected the forum. But in catching up, I thought I'd respond with my experience to this original point:

Originally Posted by Koo Schadler View Post
...Do you think true gesso would bond archivally to a non-porous surface, such as a metal substrate? In other words, would you recommend true gesso on a non-porous surface (such as a copper or aluminum panel) for museum quality art (i.e. artwork that is sold for a lot of money and may end up in a public, permanent collection)?
I've tried using aluminum/plastic composite panels as a substrate recently with what I can see is success. I mostly wanted to try them because of their rigidity for larger panels and their resistance to damage or decay that pressed wood products may incur.

The panels I'm using now are coated with some sort of paint, and I definitely wanted to use traditional gesso (RSG) on them as a surface for the ET paint. So my concern is how to get the RSG to adhere. I figured the best way was adhering linen onto the panel.

When doing this, I tried RSG directly on a panel scrap as test. While this worked surprisingly well on the scrap, I later found it didn't stick in patches on a larger panel, so I'm definitely continuing with putting linen on my panels. Perhaps the panel needed to be better cleaned and degreased, but I still dont want to chance it.

To adhere the linen on the panels, I'm primarily using Golden Gel medium as an adhesive. I tried using BEVA film and a household iron for an experiment but found I need to have a better process when doing larger panels for that: perhaps using a tacking iron or getting a secondhand drymount press. I had panels to make, so the Golden Gel worked well. So far, my process of using that and adhering wood strips to the back with construction adhesive to finish the edges of the panels is working well.
Jeff G
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Old 09-08-13, 12:31 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Alstead, NH & Zirahuen, Mexico
Posts: 316

Hi Jeff,

Thanks for posting about this...its very interesting. I remain uncertain about exactly what rabbit skin glue - and egg tempera - will or won't stick to in the long term (emphasis on "long term"). I hear completely different reports from conservators, art manufacturers, and painters!

In short, conservators seem more or less committed to ET on a true gesso ground atop a wood panel. Art manufacturers and artists support a spectrum of approaches, from very traditional (i.e. what the conservators think) to very experimental (ET on all sorts of absorbent and non-absorbent grounds and supports).

My own experience is that ET has the best working properties (the paint behaves well) and greatest adhesion to a true gesso ground. (A simple example: I can polish a recently completed ET on a true gesso ground and get no lifting; but if I polish ET when its atop acrylic "gesso" or clayboard it can lift...just one example). And, from what I read, it seems to me that the rabbit skin glue in true gesso needs some absorbency in the support beneath it to adhere well (however not everyone agrees with that). So your solution, of applying linen on top of aluminum, to give the glue something to grab onto, seems a good one.

For now, I'm sticking with the good working properties and good adhesion of ET on true gesso on a well made panel. For my panel, I like 5 ply birch plywood covered with linen, primarily because its simple and I'm familiar with it....but the aluminum with linen sounds good too. Please do many more such panels, become an expert on them, and keep us posted with what you learn! There are just too many experimental grounds and supports to play with for one artist to become sufficiently experienced in all of them - so its really helpful if we pool our experiences. Hopefully, eventually, we can wiggle towards a reliable answer of sorts as to what constitutes a well-behaved and truly durable ground and support for tempera.

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Old 27-08-13, 03:55 AM
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DLH DLH is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Detroit
Posts: 123

It is my experience that manufacturers of honeycomb compost panels make them with a variety of materials. The honeycomb is aluminum or plastic and the skins are metal, plastic, fiberglass or more interestingly, plywood.
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Old 02-09-13, 09:12 AM
Georgeoh Georgeoh is offline
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Northern California USA
Posts: 32

We are currently investigating adhesion of collagen glue and chalk/gesso grounds on aluminum composite panels. These panels are typically coated with a polyethylene coating over a pretreated surface. These coatings have excellent adhesion and it is my theory that collagen glue will adhere to these coatings if properly prepared. However, we are approaching this issue from several angles such as first applying a secondary primer or preparing composites of collagen glue with other adhesives both natural and artificial.

Golden Artists Colors has agreed to collaborate with Natural Pigments in this research to develop a better alternative support and ground for tempera painting.

We do not know when we will have results from this research nor if we will even be successful, but this is the first time that I am aware of such a study being undertaken for artists.
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