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Old 04-12-06, 04:08 AM
eggart eggart is offline
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Default alternative grounds

I just don't like making the traditional panels (though I like their surface). I don't get too many good panels for the effort I put in, so I'm wondering if anyone here can recommend alternatives for me. The commercial panels are too hard and slick. Can watercolor paper be glued to hardboard and used? Can egg tempera be applied directly to RSG (no chalk) coated hardboard? MUST one use the chalk gesso ground? Are there other alternatives?
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Old 04-12-06, 03:12 PM
eggart eggart is offline
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Default a little more info

Just a little more info--though an experienced artist, I'm fairly new at egg tempera so I'm still learning. But the recipe I was using was simply plain gelatin heated in a double boiler with garden variety lime added to it. Is lime different enough from chalk that it would make a difference? I checked and it seems chemically that whiting, chalk, etc are chemically the same as garden variety lime, just not as white. The panels that came out well were wonderful to paint on, I just have trouble duplicating the process since the glue/lime tends to absorb into the previous layer before I've had a chance to spread it smooth. Also sometimes the new layer picks up the layer beneath, complicating things further. I end up with very lumpy surfaces which require a lot of sanding. Hence, a lot of work.
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Old 04-12-06, 04:31 PM
JanMoore JanMoore is offline
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Default Alternative grounds

I just checked my reference book, Formulas for Painters, because I had never heard of anyone using lime as a ground for egg tempera. Generally, this is used for fresco but I also found a recipe for use with casein. Also, some pigments are stable with lime with a high magnesium content

Lime is a different substance from "whiting" which is calcium carbonate. There are different kinds of lime, too, but the best pit lime is made from marble and is mostly calcium oxide. (reference Kremer Pigments catalog.)

I recommend that you use a "mix" for RSG gesso. You can buy these premixed. I prefer the one made by Gamblin because it seems to be the sofest. This may be available through catalogs (try Jerry's Artarama or Cheap Joe's.)
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Old 04-12-06, 04:33 PM
JanMoore JanMoore is offline
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Oops! a typo. I meant are Not stable with lime.
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Old 04-12-06, 05:26 PM
eggart eggart is offline
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Hi Jan, thank you for the info, especially the incompatiblity of lime with some pigments part. While looking for the products you mentioned I ran across some cautionary warnings about using traditional rabbit skin glue for gesso due to it's inherent property of absorbing atmospheric moisture and cracking over many decades and/or centuries. I suppose I shouldn't be concerned about that, but the cautions do seem to be logical. Are there no modern inorganic products that have similar properties to the traditional? Also, I read somewhere on this site about paper being used, has anyone tried gluing paper to board for egg tempera? Thanks again.
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Old 05-12-06, 01:45 AM
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Salamander Salamander is offline
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Quote:
I ran across some cautionary warnings about using traditional rabbit skin glue for gesso due to it's inherent property of absorbing atmospheric moisture and cracking over many decades and/or centuries.
RSG is the way to go. Remember it lasts for centuries! That's hundreds of years. Make sure you want your work around that long.

Golden makes an absorbent ground that is acceptable for et and they make a sandable ground that would probably work too but I have no experience with that.

DON'T USE PIT LIME! That is the medium for fresco work. The only things it has in common with et is that it has been around for just about as long and you use dry pigments.

A good recipe for rsg gesso is:
1/3 warm rsg solution
1/3 Zinc Oxide
1/3 marble dust

You can also use technical gelatine in place of rsg
You can also use titanium dioxide with the zinc.
You can also use whiting in place of the zinc and marble dust.
You can also vary all your proportions a bit to your satisfaction. (more glue = less absorbent)
Zinc oxide and whiting can be economically purchased from most pottery supply people.

You can certainly use watercolur paper glued to a board. Hard pressed gives you a very smooth surface whereas the cold press does not.

Have fun! Experiment! Do something new!
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Old 05-12-06, 04:41 AM
turlogh turlogh is offline
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Default Re: alternative grounds

Quote:
Originally Posted by eggart
The commercial panels are too hard and slick.
Which commercial panels have you tried?
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Old 05-12-06, 01:03 PM
eggart eggart is offline
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I've tried clayboard which is advertised for egg tempera, but I thought it was pretty non-abosorbant and I didn't like the feel or the effect. Also commercial panels can run into some money and I'd like to minimize the cost of panels.

Does anyone know what is the best adhesive to mount watercolor paper to board? I'd like to give it a try. Should I 'stick' with RSG? Or use something like acrylic medium?
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Old 05-12-06, 02:21 PM
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PhilS PhilS is offline
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eggart,
Back when I used to make my own gesso I used calcium carbonate. You can buy it in quart containers from pharmacies (it is used as an antacid). I think I used to pay about 6 dollars for a quart (many years ago). Cheap.
Now I use Fredrix Dry Gesso mix which isn't cheap, but it is convenient and it works. If you plan to sell your work you would be advised to be careful about the materials you use. Otherwise, by all means, experiment! And let us know what happens.
Phil
p.s. don't know anything about mounting watercolor paper...
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Old 05-12-06, 03:19 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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I have this link on file as a reference for a whitewash lime (plaster) recipe that you might find informative. It's directed towards casein and fresco work. The sort of lime used is hydrated lime (aka slackened) and a starch glue.
http://fortress.uccb.ns.ca/search/HG05_8.htm

As for mounting paper, I've lately been using a dextrin paste made by Gane Bros. called Yes!. It works very well. Before that I used either hide glue/gelatin, PVA, or other starches. Starch pastes are generally easier to handle in this case, to my experience.

http://www.ganebrothers.com/products.../yes_paste.htm

BTW, Ampersand's Claybord uses an acrylic polymer in their ground so that may explain the non-absorbency you've found.
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