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Viewing Topic "Absorbent Ground - Chalk Ground for Oil on Canvas"

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Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2246
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004

Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground should be mixed well before use, and the contents inside the can should not be left exposed to air for long periods of time. Seal the can well after each use, too. We always recommend buying the smallest amount that you will use quickly, because when you get to the bottom of the can, the amount inside will be exposed to more air that is inside the can, altering its properties.

Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground dries to a matte surface, depending upon the substrate to which it may be applied and the number of coats applied. For canvas, we recommend applying it to a properly sized canvas, such as two coats of Golden GAC 200, and then applying two coats.

George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : Jul 10, 2017
Posted By: Alexandra Latypova
Total Posts: 1
Joined Date: Jul 9, 2017
I have a question about lead oil ground. I sometimes use Rublev, which I like. I accidentally discovered that when I get towards the bottom of the can, the paint in the can starts drying out. I mix the ground very thoroughly before each use, and also hammer down the lid when closing it, but this still happens. But this is not a problem because I actually like what happens. So when I go to apply the ground, I first have to remove the upper layer of dried "skin". The paint is also much thicker. I like to make textures in the ground with my brush, so this is a plus. Also when the ground is dry, the surface is very nice and chalky (I don't know if it is actually chalky, I just don't know how to describe it, but it has less rubbery feeling than when I first begin to use the ground from a new can). I love the feel and how it absorbes the paint when you star painting on it. My question is how do I get the ground to be this consistency from the beginning, not only when I am at the end of the can of Rublev's ground? Maybe you can recommend another product with less leveling properties and more matte surface when dry?
Posted : Jul 9, 2017
Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2246
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004

"Q: What is the difference between the Lead Oil Ground and the Lead Oil Paste Ground? The product description does not differenciate between the two."

The paste ground is exactly that a paste, wheras the oil ground has the consistency of heavy cream and contains solvents and driers, so it dries much faster.

"In the description for both the Lead Oil and the Paste: "This grade of calcite is designed to provide the lowest possible oil absorption." Isn't this counter to what I am after?"

Yes, and no. On the one hand low oil absorption means higher pigment load in the ground. A pigment with a high oil absorption achieves matte surface effects with less pigment. However, for your purposes it is the pigment volume concentration of the ground that is important to you and the oil ground has the highest possible PVC for best overall properties, i.e., absorbency, adhesion, hold out, leveling and flow out, etc.

George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : Feb 19, 2017
Posted By: Alex Peace
Total Posts: 3
Joined Date: Feb 17, 2017

Thank again for your time with my questions.

I trust your technical knowledge very very much and I will pursue more experiments in the vein of Lead Oil Ground, i imagine your product will perfom better than others I have used int the past.

Q: What is the difference between the Lead Oil Ground and the Lead Oil Paste Ground? The product description does not differenciate between the two.

Q: In the description for both the Lead Oil and the Paste: "This grade of calcite is designed to provide the lowest possible oil absorption."  Isn't this counter to what I am after?

Again I am looking for the same effect that a simple mixture of Chalk and RSG creates, which is very fast drying of the Ebauche layer and an overall Chalky Matte finish to the final work.  I would like a similar effect on a panel backed canvas without filling in the texture too much.

Thank you agian

Posted : Feb 18, 2017
Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2246
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004

When I am applying the Chalk/RSG to the canvas texture, even when scraping with a blade, the chalk tends to fill up the crevasses in the weave even after just 1 thin coat, and I am sure at the very very least 3 coats is necessary.  I have tried reducing the Chalk to RSG ratio which is not producing the same Matte finish in the final product, so I suspect higher chalk content is what is producing the the desired final matte finish.

Yes, but you can exceed the amount and intorduce poor adhesion.

Q: The extra Fine Easy Gesso boasts of fine particle size, would the smaller particle size then increase the absorbant quailty of the chalk?

No, smaller particle size does not increase the absorbency.

Q: When applying the Extra fine Easy Gesso, is it nessecary to first have a first layer of RSG size or is the first layer going to properly size the canvas even with the added Calcite/Pigment in the mix (as my concern is keeping the applied layers to a absolute minimum as to not build up and fill in the weave)?

It is best to apply a coat of RSG first.

Q:Is the desired "chalky matte finish" being caused by the chalk specifically or is it being caused by the overall absorbant quailties of the ground, leeching the oil out of the paint, where as the Grandi / Hundertpfunds Grounds would casue the same effect? Perhaps the Wheat paste and Bone Ash particles are smaller than the RSG and Chalk?

It is caused by the very high pigment volume concentration (PVC). Grandi / Hundertpfunds grounds cause the same effect because they too have very high PVC.

Q: If switching to an Oil Ground method, and ditching the distemper/gesso ground altogether, adding Chalk to increase the effect, what would be a relatively safe ratio to spike the ground with?

Add only a small amount, because I have formulated the highest possible PVC without compormising its other properties, such as adhesion, hold out and flow out and lelveing.

Q: In referncing Anthea Callen: The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique & the Making of Modernity, Chapter on Absorbant Grounds,  They disscuss applying Gesso/RSG ground to canvas in 3 thin layers, and then adding a 4th layer of a Drying Oil with the intention of knocking down the absorbancy a bitm refered to as an "Oil Isolating Layer".  Would adding Chalk to the Oil Isolating Layer (which is now ontop of 2-3 layers of RSG/Chalk) possibly increase the effect?

Increase the absorbency of the final layer or the ground underneath? It would not incerase the absorbency of the ground underneath it, but of that layer only.

George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : Feb 18, 2017
Posted By: Alex Peace
Total Posts: 3
Joined Date: Feb 17, 2017

Thank Mr. O'Hanlon, I was hoping very much to have the chance to disccuss with you.

-- Yes, I understand the issues of RSG and non rigid supports, for the sake of discussion lets say the support is rigid panel backed canvas.

You can add chalk to Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground, but do you really need a more absorbent ground?

-- Yes, The 3 Part Chalk to 2 Part RSG when applied to the Panel has the effect of gorgeous Matte and chalk like surface that is unlike any other.

To achieve what you are seeking have you tried Rublev Colours Lead Oil Paste Ground?

-- I have not experimented with the paste on the Panel backed Texitle support at this point

My Questions at this point:

When I am applying the Chalk/RSG to the canvas texture, even when scraping with a blade, the chalk tends to fill up the crevasses in the weave even after just 1 thin coat, and I am sure at the very very least 3 coats is necessary.  I have tried reducing the Chalk to RSG ratio which is not producing the same Matte finish in the final product, so I suspect higher chalk content is what is producing the the desired final matte finish.

In your product decrpition for Chalk(Calcite) " The larger particle size of our chalk (when compared to precipitated chalk) keeps oil absorption low".

Q: The extra Fine Easy Gesso boasts of fine particle size, would the smaller particle size then increase the absorbant quailty of the chalk?

Q: When applying the Extra fine Easy Gesso, is it nessecary to first have a first layer of RSG size or is the first layer going to properly size the canvas even with the added Calcite/Pigment in the mix (as my concern is keeping the applied layers to a absolute minimum as to not build up and fill in the weave)?

Q:Is the desired "chalky matte finish" being caused by the chalk specifically or is it being caused by the overall absorbant quailties of the ground, leeching the oil out of the paint, where as the Grandi / Hundertpfunds Grounds would casue the same effect? Perhaps the Wheat paste and Bone Ash particles are smaller than the RSG and Chalk?

Q: If switching to an Oil Ground method, and ditching the distemper/gesso ground altogether, adding Chalk to increase the effect, what would be a relatively safe ratio to spike the ground with?

Q: In referncing Anthea Callen: The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique & the Making of Modernity, Chapter on Absorbant Grounds,  They disscuss applying Gesso/RSG ground to canvas in 3 thin layers, and then adding a 4th layer of a Drying Oil with the intention of knocking down the absorbancy a bitm refered to as an "Oil Isolating Layer".  Would adding Chalk to the Oil Isolating Layer (which is now ontop of 2-3 layers of RSG/Chalk) possibly increase the effect?

I apologize in advance for the heavy questioning, Thank you for your time and expertise Mr. O'Hanlon, truly a treasure.

Posted : Feb 18, 2017
Posted By: George O'Hanlon
Total Posts: 2246
Joined Date: Jun 15, 2004

First, we do not recommend applying a tradtioinal gesso or chalk ground onto stretched fabric. This was learned by the old masters in the 16th century.

You can add chalk to Rublev Colours Lead Oil Ground, but do you really need a more absorbent ground?

We have recreated Grandi's and Hundertpfunds's grounds with good success, but again not on stretched textile supports.

To achieve what you are seeking have you tried Rublev Colours Lead Oil Paste Ground?

George O'Hanlon Technical Director Natural Pigments
Posted : Feb 17, 2017
Posted By: Alex Peace
Total Posts: 3
Joined Date: Feb 17, 2017

Hello,

After many experiments and countless hours reading ever forum nook and cranny my frustration has led me here, Thank you in advance for advise.

I love love love the overall chalk like finish I can get when painting on an Absorbent chalk ground.  I love the how the ground sucks the oil right out of the paint, and is dry to touch the very next day.

* note, I prefer to paint very very thin with turped down oil paint and no medium.

The recipe I have been using with success:

1 cup Rabbit Skin Glue

1.5 cup Whiting (Calcium Carbonate)

This is Applied to Wood Panel

Size: 2 Coats Rabbit Skin Glue

Medium/Heavy coat of the absorbant ground, Lightly sanded when dry.

My question comes when attempting to paint on canvas with an absorbent ground.  

What I am looking for is the same Matte Chalk like final product, as well as a pronounced canvas texture.

When I apply the ground in the same way as I have with the panel, the ground becomes too thick and the canvas texture is lost, even with scraping the access off of the weave when its first applied.

I have also tried reducing the amount of chalk in the formula to 1/2 cup (instead of 1.5 cup) with no success, it does not behave the same way.

Would you recommend continuing to search for a Chalk to RSG ratio?

Modifying Lead Oil ground to be more absorbant and chalk like (add minimal about of chalk)?

Thinned down Chalk ground layer with the addition of a Thinned down Lead Oil Ground layer?

S. Grandi Wheat flour / Bone Ash ground (has anyone tried this)?

Hundertpfund Wheat Flour Pipe Clay ground (has anyone tried this)?

Recap: Would like a ground for a canvas support that retains the texcture of the canvas, and the final finish to be a matte chalk finish.

Posted : Feb 17, 2017

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