The archival quality of a painting has always fascinated me. To see the results of the care that the old masters took with their art to ensure that the work would survive hundreds of years is amazing to me. It makes perfect sense as artists. The hope is that long after we are gone, our work will continue to speak about ourselves, the times that we live in and the stories that we want to tell.
My miniature work demanded some departure from traditional archival techniques. For example, traditional canvases and even linen have a texture in the fiber that can be distracting in the final painting. That moved me to look to different substrates that were much smoother. Prepared hardboard made the best sense. This acid free pressed board is coated with a gesso which becomes the surface that accepts the paint. While it was a good option, the paint I was using introduced another substrate which would become the perfect choice. This paint that has lent itself best to the techniques that I use. It is a liquid acrylic based paint from Createx. The Wicked Colors line was developed as an all surface paint but specifically has applications in custom motorcycle and automotive painting. Since this paint was formulated to perform optimally on metal, it made sense to look at primed metal panels. Nothing is more archival than aluminium and titanium. Both do not oxidize and remains stable indefinitely. Standard 2 part automotive primer etches into the surface and creates the perfect surface for paint. For the Muriwai painting, I cut a 4.5 x 2.5 piece of .063 aluminium and prime one side. Both sides are powder coated so the back is still completely protected.
At the same time as the prep of the aluminium, I also start the frame for this painting. Knowing the color palette in this painting is black, ochre and orange, I chose Bubinga for the frame. This wood has an incredible orange glow and will go perfectly with both the painting and the black volcanic sand backdrop. The Bubinga plank is already milled so just some sanding is needed before the wood is cut into the frame rails.
Now that the reference is all set and the aluminium is prepped, I am ready to start the painting. In my next blog entry I’ll get into how I block out all the major areas. Thanks for following along! As always, any questions, comments, song lyrics or drink recipes you want to post in the comment section would be very awesome!