Saturday, April 18, 2009
Mounting works on paper
I've had a lot of luck mounting works on paper onto stretched canvas. A number of students and other artists who have seen my work on display have asked me how I do it, so I thought I would explain my process.
(I used this technique to finish the painting "Cranberry Lines," shown at left, which is acrylic on paper on canvas, 30" H x 20" W.)
I believe there is a general perception of work on paper as less "important" than work on canvas. Also, if you're selling your work, a buyer may be hesitant to invest in an unframed page, or they might not like your taste in frames, yet want to buy something they can put right on the wall as soon as they get home. And once the paper is mounted, you can charge the same price that you would for a work done directly on canvas, because now it is a "real" painting.
This is a neat-looking method of displaying paper without having to place the work under glass, which to me separates it from the viewer (literally and emotionally). It also "seals" the paper in and protects it from abrasion or anything that might mar the surface.
I should point out that I've had a lot of luck doing this with paper that is 30" x 22". Any larger than that, I'm not sure how well it would work.
Start with a stretched canvas. If the paper is white, I paint the sides of the canvas white. If the color of unbleached canvas looks better with the image, I just leave it unpainted. When I mounted the red painting shown above, and I painted the sides the same color red as the work on paper. (I paint the edge and an inch or so onto the front surface; there's no need to paint the whole canvas.)
I apply a layer of Utrecht gel medium (the consistency of mayonnaise) over the entire surface of the canvas, about 1/8" thick or so. The strokes don't have to be perfectly uniform, but there shouldn't be any areas left uncovered.
Then I lay the work on paper against the canvas, and paint over it with a light but complete covering layer of Utrecht matte medium (which is somewhat thinner than gel medium). You could use gloss medium for this step instead if you wanted a shinier finish.
Then just let it sit horizontally and dry. I check it after about half an hour/an hour to see if there are any air bubbles, which I just press lightly down on and/or brush over again so the area sticks back onto the canvas.
This works best if the paper is slightly bigger than the canvas. Then, once everything is dry, you can trim off the edge of the paper to perfectly match the size of the stretcher bars.
The process leaves professional-looking sides, so you don't even have to frame the work if you don't want to.
I have only done this with Utrecht-brand products; I don't know how well it would work with another brand.
I should also add that this technique wouldn't work well on a piece that had a lot of pastel, charcoal or smudgable medium involved, although I have done it successfully with a small amount of pastel in the picture. In this case, you just brush the medium on very carefully.
Hope you too have luck with this method!