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Old 17-04-10, 12:09 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Arrow Please help clear up my confusion on panels, gesso and sizing

Hello everyone,

I am new to this board and also to the world of egg tempera. I have read many threads, googled my questions and received one bit of information that is concerning to me.

I am hoping that someone here will kindly take a moment to clear up my confusion.

I have some masonite panels that I want to use. I am unsure if they are tempered or untempered and don't know how to tell. I do not plan on using canvas or linen over the board and would like to paint directly on the board if that is proper.

Someone told me not to use masonite because the oil in it bleeds through the gesso every time. However, I see many people seem to use masonite board.

Is there a special way to prepare masonite board to protect it against this "bleeding" or is this a fallacy?

From what I have read I am unsure of the exact procedure to prepare it. I've read that you should sand the smooth side and paint on a layer of sizing before putting on the gesso. I've also read of painting the gesso right onto the smooth side of the panel with no mention of sanding or sizing. Perhaps there are several ways of doing it.

As I write, my gesso/water mixture is soaking. Please, if someone could direct me here I would be most grateful.
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Old 17-04-10, 12:44 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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As I understand it, "tempered" masonite is a historical artifact and not as readily available as when Ralph Mayer warned against it fifty years ago. Most masonite I see these days is untempered -- you can tell because it's relatively light in color, where tempered masonite, they say, looks very dark. Tempered masonite may also smell oily, as compared to the fairly pure woody smell of untempered masonite, but I wouldn't rely on that. Any lumber seller should be able to verify it for you (one of mine smirked when I asked about tempered masonite, as if I had requested buggy whips)

I sand and size. Thinking about it, I would be worried about the gesso flaking off if I didn't.
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Old 17-04-10, 02:47 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Thank you so much Alessandra!

First off, I got a kick out of the "buggy whips" lol!

I believe from the description that I have regular old masonite. I have actually gessoed some of this with acrylic gesso before and never had a leeching issue but wondered if that was due to something in the acrylic polymer sealing it in.

Can I just lightly sand off the sheen or does it need to be an intense sanding?

As far as sizing goes, should it be thinly applied? And, after the application of the sizing how long should I wait before applying the gesso...until it feels dry?

I'm planning on preparing a few boards, well, enough to use up the gesso I've whipped up. I'm really excited to give this a try. I can't believe I've never done this before. I paint in realism and therefore love detail. I've been looking a lot at the technique I believe is called Mische? It seems to appeal to me.

Again, I really appreciate your help!
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Old 17-04-10, 05:22 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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I lightly sand off the sheen and that seems to work just fine. I don't know if it's better to sand to a real roughness. I paint on a single layer of rabbitskin glue sizing on both sides of the board, so the board looks pretty wet and dark but without drips or puddles. Then I let it dry completely before starting to gesso. (If the board has one side smooth and one side textured, the textured side will need a lot more sizing and gesso)

I haven't done mische, but some folks here have.
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Old 17-04-10, 07:19 PM
lindapaul lindapaul is offline
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Default easy boards for newbie's to egg tempera (or anyone)

hi there
I love the pregessoed Dick Blick artboards ( sorry to the purists) The are ready to go without any more gessoing as long as your first coat of paint contains titanium white to make a good bond.

When I started in egg tempera 15 years ago, I did the old school method of board prep with masonist, calcium carbonate, rabitskin glue, etc etc. I needed to speed up my process annd just paint,

The Dick Blick or Amsterdam boards come in a variety of thicknesses.

I also like the Mona Lisa pre gessoed boards, that are 1/8" thick. These are super smooth and never warp, but sometimes i like to add my own gesso to create a textured look
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Old 17-04-10, 08:32 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
I lightly sand off the sheen and that seems to work just fine. I don't know if it's better to sand to a real roughness. I paint on a single layer of rabbitskin glue sizing on both sides of the board, so the board looks pretty wet and dark but without drips or puddles. Then I let it dry completely before starting to gesso. (If the board has one side smooth and one side textured, the textured side will need a lot more sizing and gesso)

I haven't done mische, but some folks here have.
I am so laughing right now, as I just realized it was your website I randomly happened upon earlier today to make my sizing...it is soaking right now, so thank you!

I'm using 1/4" thickness so I'm thinking that only one side of it really needs to be done since it probably wouldn't warp. Is that right?

I am not 100% sure I want to do the Mische technique. I'm not really even sure what it involves. What I saw that appealed to me was the drawing of a young girl in a veil with a nature background that was first done as an underpainting in india ink. I like the idea of having that drawing there and done. I like that it stays there while I would add glazes and such to finish it out. I also liked the idea of the build up of glazes that supposedly provides an opalescence effect.

What I don't know is what kind of paint recipe I would want to use. I have experience in oil which I love, watercolor which I love but tend to paint thicker than most people and in not a flowy style, pastel-love but I'm tired of, india inks that I like but their permanency scares me if I make a mistake and acrylic-do not like it much due to the fast drying and inability to blend smoothly as compared to oils.

And....what worries me about ET is that I hear it is so fast drying. I've been trying to read and find what recipe would give me the most working time yet still be true to traditional ET. I would ideally like to have smooth areas like skies and reflections and such. I am not sure I want to crosshatch anything. I love realism.

Of course since I've never tried ET I have no idea on what to expect. After reading the above is there a method or recipe that you think may fit with me? If so, I would love to read about it over the next few days while my panels are being prepared.
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Old 17-04-10, 08:36 PM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lindapaul View Post
hi there
I love the pregessoed Dick Blick artboards ( sorry to the purists) The are ready to go without any more gessoing as long as your first coat of paint contains titanium white to make a good bond.

When I started in egg tempera 15 years ago, I did the old school method of board prep with masonist, calcium carbonate, rabitskin glue, etc etc. I needed to speed up my process annd just paint,

The Dick Blick or Amsterdam boards come in a variety of thicknesses.

I also like the Mona Lisa pre gessoed boards, that are 1/8" thick. These are super smooth and never warp, but sometimes i like to add my own gesso to create a textured look
Thank you very much for your suggestions. Because I already have my gesso soaking I will be attempting it first this way but knowing me who knows what a mess I may end up with If this happens I will probably try out a pre-prepared board! I've also heard of a board called truegesso that is supposed to be good. I do want to get to the painting part!!
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Old 18-04-10, 02:41 PM
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JeffG JeffG is offline
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CB: There's been much discussion, here and elsewhere, regarding the suitability of the various panel options for ET. While we all agree that a solid wood-product panel is the standard for stability and gesso adherence, when it comes to exactly what type or brand of product for panel use, I've come to the conclusion that there is no conclusion ; What I mean is that while various painters seem to firmly believe that only a certain product is sound and others are not, there seems to my mind to be as much evidence for opposing views.

First off: Masonite is a commercial name for a hardboard product that has popularly become a generic term, much like "Kleenex", "xerox" or "jello". Many similar products have been produced that are either hardboard or medium-density-fiberboard (MDF) The big problem, as I see it, is that so many of these "masonite-like" products, tempered and untempered or even hybrids, are being introduced and discontinued over the years that its very hard for the ET artist to stick to one, since they are made for commercial building and furniture use, and not to artist specs.

I've used various MDF and hardboards (some light, some dark) over the past 10 years and I've never had a problem with gesso adherence, oil or color leaching through, or physical changes to the panel. Occasionally a corner gets smooshed, but that's my own fault for improper storage or handling.

When I make my own panels, I pretty much do what Alessandra outlined. I've been using the RealGesso products lately, but hope to experiment with different options. I've noticed that over the years, the RealGesso panels, which are not gessoed on one side, have been made with a variety of different toned MDF

Linda: are those pre-primed panels you mentioned made with real RSG gesso, or with acrylic "gesso"? I thought the Mona Lisa ones were acrylic but perhaps I'm mistaken.
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Old 18-04-10, 09:42 PM
dbclemons dbclemons is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alessandra Kelley View Post
As I understand it, "tempered" masonite is a historical artifact and not as readily available...Any lumber seller should be able to verify it for you (one of mine smirked when I asked about tempered masonite, as if I had requested buggy whips)

I sand and size. Thinking about it, I would be worried about the gesso flaking off if I didn't.
My experience is just the opposite. I happened to be browsing through local Lowe's and Home Depot stores today in my weekly tool porn browsing spree, and walked by their stacks of paneling. In both stores all they had was tempered hardboard, clearly labeled as such. There was some veneer paneling with what appeared to be untempered hardboard backing, but that was all I could find. Untempered is offered for interior use only, and as such is more difficult to come by. Tempered can be used outside or in, so it's more versatile in construction applications.

As for sanding, it shouldn't really be necessary. It will only kick up dust which makes it more hazardous (use a respirator mask.) Although sanding might help with adhesion, it also opens up the fibers which makes wood more absorbent and prone to curling. I dropped out of the habit of sanding and have not had problems. I would still recommend wiping it down first with alcohol, however.

I wouldn't worry about "bleeding." Tempered hardboard is not soaked in oil (or doesn't need to be,) but has only a tiny amount at the surface. A larger concern for me is not what on the panel but what it's made of, which is often hard to identify.
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Old 19-04-10, 02:33 AM
artistcb artistcb is offline
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Thanks for all the info Jeff! I went to the hardware store yesterday and sure enough saw "tempered hardboard". I had kind of a "now what?" moment and decided on the nice looking piece of mdf next to it. I had remembered reading one of your threads mentioning that you had used it. So I had that cut to different sizes and I've been sizing and gessoing for the past 24 hours or so. I also did a piece of the "masonite" I have and so far so good. The only thing is some warping of the mdf even the small 8x10's. I went ahead and turned all of them over and put a layer of gesso on the back. I hope this helps to counteract the warping.

BTW, did you ever get my over ambitious email? Yes that was from me! Ha ha! I do love your work! I have slowly been perusing websites for as much information I get. Anyway, had no idea you were an admin over here until I stumbled upon your picture and thought yeah!!
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