So, I have been experimenting with using plaster attached to my canvas to use as a painting surface. I am playing around with a series of cracked plaster paintings going after the interior Design industry. (?) That might be crazy but that's the plan!
It is quite an arduous process. Oh, did I mention that I am working large? I have done a lot of trial and error once I learned the initial process from my friend and fellow artist, Suzzanna Frank. Tomorrow I will prepare a 6 foot by 3 foot piece of burlap and pour Plaster of Paris over the entire surface, pushing and smoothing it into the weave. Once you mix the plaster you have about 7 minutes before it begins to harden. Working large means working fast.
Also the weave of the burlap is loose so to end up with a rectangle and not a trapezoid is tricky. I have tried to remedy this with white glue poured along the edge of the burlap. Didn't work. Next I tried painter's tape underneath the burlap and stapling the corners to the ground. It was fairly successful but I didn't mix enough plaster so it was too thin in places. I have also thought about sewing it to keep it from stretching. I'm not much of a seemstress.
Once you get the plaster adhered to the burlap, it needs to dry for 24 hours. When it's dry, you crack it to give it an old world feel. Then you paint the cracks to make the cracks show up. I learned the hard way that you don't have to paint the whole surface! Next you remove the paint. I am still in a trial and error period for the best way to do this. I am onto about my 5th way and I am not sure I have a solution yet that doesn't give me carpel tunnel.
After I remove all of the paint from the surface leaving the cracks dark, I then seal the entire surface with clear gesso. Next, I adhere it to a canvas. I currently have been using YES glue which is a bookbinders glue. It is stronger than any spray adhesive and it's archival. The plaster has some weight to it so I need a strong glue. Once that dries, I am ready to go!
I have been attempting to paint with transparent oils so the beauty of the surface shows through. I also sand and rub and repaint to get the desired look.
I have done two florals so far. Companion pieces. Next I am thinking about a ballerina painting. I'm not sure how it will work. Once again, it will be trial and error!