Week 4 - All Work and No Play...

Makes Sharon a dull girl... I definitely don't want to go that route, so, I added a couple of friend, gallery, and outing days to my schedule this week. Nothing refreshes my muse like having lunch with a girlfriend, or going on a road trip. After all, an artist has to draw from life, don't they?

I did spend four days in the studio this week working on my new painting, varnishing some finished work, and prepping new boards. Prepping boards, is a multi-day event for me. Read about my process below.

Here's a couple of photos of my new, just "off the easel" painting. I had fun painting this one, it's all about colour harmony and contrast.

Free Spirit, acrylic on cradled board, 24"x24"


Now back to "business"...

How I prep wooden panels and cradled boards. I lay a thin coat of Golden Gloss Medium on a board, and if its cradled, I paint the medium along the sides as well. According to Golden, Gloss Medium is the way to go to seal your boards. You certainly don't want any tannins seeping through and destroying your work in the future. Some artists use GAC 100 for this job, but Golden advises against it, as Gloss Medium is far superior at resisting tannins. I let this layer dry overnight.

The next day I lightly sand the surface, as the Gloss Medium will cause little "hairs" of wood to raise up. The light sanding just takes these way. Next, I lay down another thin coat of Gloss Medium. I let this layer dry overnight.

After I've put down two layers of Gloss Medium on the boards, my next step is to paint, with abandon, and a big gnarly brush, a layer of molding paste. I generally use Golden, but have recently experimented with TriArt Modeling Paste. The results are similar, although TriArt's medium doesn't hold the brush marks as well, which results in less texture in the finished work. TriArt is much cheaper than Golden, so there's that. I let this layer dry overnight.

The last step is paint, with a big brush, two layers of white gesso on top of the molding paste layer. Let the first layer of gesso dry completely before adding the second. That's it, the board is now ready.

This process usually runs over 5 days, so I plan ahead, and more often than not, prep multiple boards at a time. I love painting on solid surface boards, and to guarantee my work is archival, this routine is worth the time.

FYI: For canvas panels I start at the molding paste stage, then two layers of gesso.


  • Hi Anne, Yes, I always add texture with molding paste prior to painting. I paint with a lot of liquid and high flow paint which drys flat as a pancake. So, to get that painterly texture, I slather on the molding medium.

    Sharon Fox Cranston
  • Do you always apply the modeling paste to add texture under your paintings? Interesting.
    I’m painting over some old paintings and finding the texture from the older paintings interesting.

    Anne Wedler

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