29 September 2006

Bottle of oil and blue glass

Awhile ago I posted on a little sheet of copper I had prepared for painting on. Here's what's on it now. Oil on copper, 5 x 7". It's not done yet—I need to correct a couple of elipses and clarify some of the details. But so far I like it.

The copper takes oil paint like nothing else I've worked on. Normally, any surface is either absorbent or slick. Either way, the initial application of oil paint can be a bit of struggle. Not copper. The paint flows right off the brush, with no streakiness, chattering, staining, or other problems. Also, you can incorporate the tone of the copper itself into the painting. I need to find a source for bigger sheets of thin copper to paint on.


painterdog said...

did you prime the copper?

Jeff Hayes said...

I want to try this. If I remember correctly, you didn't have to do any preparation beyond an abrasion of the surface, right? I imagine you just got the panels at Lowes/HomeDepot/SomethingLikeThat?

David said...

Historically, oil on copper was primed with white lead, but I didn't do that (you can see the unpainted copper in the photo). All I did was sand the surface to give it a bit of tooth, then clean with denatured alcohol to get rid of any grease. Since the copper is pretty thin (I'd guess 20 gauge) I glued it to 1/4 inch hardboard. It's just a piece of copper, intended for patching copper gutters, from Home Depot. I'm looking into sources for larger copper plates; so far, kind of expensive.

Ben Shamback (http://www.benjaminshamback.com/) does a lot of painting on copper, aluminum and steel. I believe there's an article on his work in the November issue of American Artist.