Oil on Foamcore
8 x 8 in/20.3 x20.3 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2015
Why?, you may ask.
Well, it's all about trying out new and different ways to paint. As I've said before, if painters didn't try new things, we'd still be using charcoal and berry juice to paint on cave walls.
What got me interested was an article in a recent issue of International Artist magazine about an Australian painter named John Lovett who paints on large sheets of aluminum composite panel because it can be large, rigid, but is also lightweight. I had never heard of it, but the article said it's two thin sheets of aluminum with polypropylene in between. I discovered online that it's used in architecture and also in signage, such as large outdoor advertising.
I was interested in trying it out, but it seems to be difficult to find and to buy unless you are in the trade; that is, I couldn't find any retail outlets (or online) that sell direct.
But that got me to thinking about gator board and also foamcore, which I happened to have on hand and is readily available from art supply or craft stores. What I had was a sheet of the black foamcore, which I use as backing to frame a painting.
I had previously tried painting on the white foamcore, but found when I applied gesso, the clay-coat paper laminate caused the foamcore to warp, even when I applied it on both sides.
However, I noticed the black foamcore did not appear to have the clay-coat paper laminate. I applied a thin coat of gesso to one side, and it warped. But, when I applied a thin coat to the other side, and let it dry, it reverted to its original flat state. Great!
Now the test. How will foamcore react to paint, in this case water-soluble oil? I painted a quick landscape of ubiquitous Texas bluebonnets in Spring on an 8 x 8-inch piece. I didn't use any water or medium with the paint. I'm happy to report it was a success, at least in my opinion. The paint flowed on smoothly, and the random texture of the underlying gesso gave it a canvas-like appearance.
I suppose there's no way to know how foamcore will hold up as a support except to give it time. I don't think, however, that wood and canvas are the absolutely only material that stand the test of time. Look at all the paintings and drawings done on paper that are well over 150 years old--I rest my case.
Try new techniques and tools and see what you discover with your painting.