Yesterday I had the good fortune to spend the day in Mount Gretna at the brand new Mount Gretna School of Art. I gathered some very helpful tips and was introduced to several easy techniques for preparing paper for oil paint. I was also able to spend a few hours painting outside (in the rain but under roof). Not bad for a Friday.
Applying oil paint to paper, just like painting on canvas, requires careful surface preparation to avoid disintegration of the paper over time. But it's actually very easy, safe, and quick, and even more so now, thanks to some more recently developed products on the market.
The benefits of working on paper, especially when painting plein air,
are that it's inexpensive, versatile, rigid and lightweight for easy
transportation, and can be easily sized to fit your needs in the moment. Also, how can you not fall in love with those edges?
Our workshop instructor, Michael Allen, shared a brief history of painting on paper, along with images of stunning works by the masters, and demonstrated various surface-prep techniques using PVA size, shellac, and gesso.
I see a beautiful long-term relationship with PVA size in my future because it's cheap and easy - two qualities I value most in my relationships (with paint products, that is).