Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Patching it up.

       Arable Patchwork   Oils on gessoed watercolour paper   4 x 6 inches   SOLD

I am painting a series of postcard sized studies taken from larger paintings in my studio.    This is number 1 and a view of the arable fields in the Wolds.

I am never lost for ideas as my existing paintings feed me with a variety of subjects.  Whilst continuing to explore my local countryside and taking photographs for reference it is sometimes nice to make use of my finished work.    

          Sizing up or down I can replicate the image or change it completely as I paint.  

Answering questions

I have recently been asked about painting oils on paper

Oils on paper... Is it fragile?  Does it crack?  How do I frame it?  Will it last?  Does it fade?

I hope to answer some of these concerns to throw a little light on this topic.

Fragility...Any artwork has a degree of fragility and needs care.  Damage can be from damp, abrasion, bending, creasing, or heat to name a few possibilities.  Try to avoid these.

Cracking, fading and will it last? ...I use modern artist quality oil paints and mediums in all my work. Guarantees are not easy to give but I rely on reputable manufacturers and follow their guidance in the use of their oils.  

How do I frame it?...behind glass or in an open frame?...Generally, oils like to be framed open to let them breathe and harden.  Framing is a very personal choice.  I prefer to let the online buyer choose their frame as it makes shipping easier.  Exhibition pieces are already in a frame for the show but this may be changed if desired.

Oils on board are already rigid and easy to frame.  Canvas is more fragile and requires a frame suited to the stretcher bars.  Usually open at the back, it lets the canvas breathe.

Paper supports...Oils may be painted on paper.  I like to use a heavyweight cold pressed watercolour paper 140lb minimum.  Two coats of artist quality acrylic gesso are applied to both sides.  This creates a protective seal and prevents the oils from seeping into the paper.

The gesso provides a strong surface for painting and is a lovely self-textured surface.  It will withstand a lot of brushing and scraping back for effects.  When the oils are dry enough I give the painting a light coat of re-touching varnish for temporary protection.  It may be varnished later in the usual way.

Framing oils on paper without glass...Select the frame, cut an acid free mount card the same size as the painting and place the painting in the rebate with the mount card behind it.  One point to remember is keeping the artwork safe from any acid materials.    The painting may be secured to the card first but I like to let it stay loose.  As my paper works are small...up to 30cms there isn't too much flexing and when the frame size is made to an exact fit I am happy with the result.

Next, place a thin hardboard or MDF board to the back of the frame, pin in place and display it as you wish.


  1. Anne, love the colors, values, lines, texture, and movement of Arable Patchwork!

  2. Thank you my friend....lovely to hear from you and I am pleased you like it. Watch out for more of these tiny studies as I am doing a series inspired by some of my previous paintings.

    4 x 6 inches makes a 'dainty' little art work. I say to people...prop it up or frame it. It really doesn't matter. Just enjoy. x