Letter to ARC

Home / Education / ARChives / Letters

Letter to ARC


Published before 2005

Kim Hanewich wrote in to ask:
Because of reading Virgil Elliot's technical column, I require an oil primer recipe, one excluding white lead, as it is not available to me.

Thank you,

And Virgil Elliott kindly responded:


Winsor & Newton's Oil Painting Primer is a good ground for oil painting. W&N's Foundation White oil paint is a white lead in linseed oil that works well, if you can get it where you live. It's sold through many mail-order catalogs. If you're painting on a rigid panel, you could use traditional glue-chalk gesso, or for that matter, acrylic gesso would probably be fine. The problems of delamination between the ground and the oil paint layer are more likely to occur on stretched canvas than on rigid panels or canvas mounted on panel. If you like the texture of canvas, my advice is to glue it to a panel, and then prime it with the best thing you can find. Give the primer/ground adequate time to cure, and make sure it's perfectly clean before you begin to paint on it, and you shouldn't have any problems.

I hope that helps.

Virgil Elliott