Ask the Experts


There is often no right or wrong answer to a question about art – all artists will find their own way to tackle a problem. Here we ask some of our Professional Associates to use their experience and knowledge to suggest ways to solve your artistic dilemmas

Q When painting in oils or acrylics I have found acrylic paper is best, but sometimes the paper cockles if more than one coat of paint is applied, even if it has been stretched first. What do the experts advise?
Gerald Gould Expressionist artist

Ali Cockrean says that all her students learn acrylic painting techniques using acrylic paper and paper cockling is rarely an issue. “When it has become a problem, it invariably comes down to one of two things, the quality of the paper and the consistency of the paint,” she says. “Always use a good quality paper, 300gsm or above should be fine when used as an individual sheet and robust enough to cope with several layers of paint.

However, the consistency of the paint needs to be considered too: if acrylic paint is being thinned down and used like watercolour, cockling may well still be a problem. Using the paint straight from the tube and adding only a small amount of water to aid flow should help. Also remember that acrylic paper has a limited tolerance level if paint is being applied vigorously, like when using techniques such as scraffito or tools such as palette knives. In these instances canvas boards make an ideal alternative surface as they are cost effective, available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and extremely durable.”www.alicockrean.co.uk

Oil artist Roy Lang also recommends using canvas boards “I use Paperwave ones,” he says. “They have a good tooth and are robust - there is no need to tape them to a board in preparation for a painting session. They are also less work to frame, so they work out as allround good value for money.”www.roylangartist.com

Gerald’s problem isn’t one that causes Dee Cowell too many sleepless nights. “I quite like the fact that the acrylic paper cockles!” she explains. “Especially if I am working wet-into-wet with the acrylics. However, you can prime the paper first with either gesso or an acrylic medium, allow that to dry then paint on top. Two coats should do the trick.”http://www.virtual-artstudent.com

Finally the SAA’s in-house artist Anita Pounder, who is based at Head Office, suggests that you shouldn’t need to stretch acrylic paper in the same way as watercolour paper. “But if the paper does cockle, we’d recommend upgrading to an acrylic block,” she says. “The Atelier Interactive range is among the best.


Ask the Experts


There is often no right or wrong answer to a question about art – all artists will find their own way to tackle a problem. Here we ask some of our Professional Associates to use their experience and knowledge to suggest ways to solve your artistic dilemmas

Q When painting in oils or acrylics I have found acrylic paper is best, but sometimes the paper cockles if more than one coat of paint is applied, even if it has been stretched first. What do the experts advise?
Gerald Gould Expressionist artist

Ali Cockrean says that all her students learn acrylic painting techniques using acrylic paper and paper cockling is rarely an issue. “When it has become a problem, it invariably comes down to one of two things, the quality of the paper and the consistency of the paint,” she says. “Always use a good quality paper, 300gsm or above should be fine when used as an individual sheet and robust enough to cope with several layers of paint.

However, the consistency of the paint needs to be considered too: if acrylic paint is being thinned down and used like watercolour, cockling may well still be a problem. Using the paint straight from the tube and adding only a small amount of water to aid flow should help. Also remember that acrylic paper has a limited tolerance level if paint is being applied vigorously, like when using techniques such as scraffito or tools such as palette knives. In these instances canvas boards make an ideal alternative surface as they are cost effective, available in a wide variety of shapes and sizes and extremely durable.” www.alicockrean.co.uk

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