Tuesday, July 14

Painting on Burlap Panel?

The Old Garage Out Back
Acrylic on Burlap Panel
10 x 8 in/25.4 x 20.3 cm
Copyright 2015 Byrne Smith
Have you tried painting on burlap panel? I had not; however, a few weeks ago at a local arts and crafts store, which shall remain nameless, I happened to see some. They were displayed along with all the other canvas panels, stretched canvases, and hardboards.

They stood out because of their color, not white, but raw-sienna burlap color.

If some don't know what burlap is, I'm not surprised, because you don't really think of it as a support for a painting. If you don't know, according to Wikipedia, burlap is:  "Hessian /ˈhɛsi.ən/, or burlap in the US and Canada, is a woven fabric usually made from skin of the jute plant or sisal fibres, or may be combined with other vegetable fibres to make rope, nets, and similar products."

The reason I was interested in trying it was because I have been wanting to paint on a more textured surface. I usually paint on canvas panel, which has a relatively smooth surface, and I wanted to try a more textured woven material to get a softer look.

Just so you know, I decided to use my acrylic paints rather than my oils since this was an experiment.

I'm not sure burlap is the answer, It is very coarse. Let me repeat: it is very coarse. Even though I had enough sense to apply two coats of gesso, it still soaked up the paint like a sponge.

Also, it took a lot of scrubbing brushstrokes to fill in all the crevasses in the weave. I would have used up a lot of oil paint, had I been painting with it. 

What I do like about it is that it is very easy to get that soft-edged, impressionistic look and feel due to the very coarse weave--it almost looks pixelated as in digital photo.I'm not sure that's enough to recommend it, but please let me know what you think if you've tried it.

I'm thinking I will try out a coarser cotton stretched canvas or panel next time.

Happy Painting. 

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