Painting on Copper

From my limited exerience, I have found copper to be a beautiful surface to work on. My personal choice so far has been to use copper etching plates at 1.6 mmm gauge from Lawrence Art Supplies. Given that they are pretty heavy, the size should be kept fairly small - (I have gone no bigger than 12 inches).

When preparing the copper panel, the first decision to make is whether or not to prime it with gesso. It seems to me it depends on why you are using copper in the first place. If it is purely to provide a solid, reliable surface then you may want to go ahead and use gesso. But my personal choice is to keep the panel un-primed, in an attempt to somehow harness that warm glowing colour in the underpainting, and maybe even let a little of the copper show through in places.

Below is an outline of my first experience in preparing a sheet of copper.

Here is a picture of the panel as it came - a beautiful shiny thing indeed!

However, advice from more seasoned artists than I indicated that this would need to be sanded in order to hold paint with any degree of reliability. So I introduced some tooth by sanding the panel with 60 grit paper.

Here is a picture of the panel after sanding... it now has a pinkish hue, and thankfully still glows, even if it is less shiny.

At this stage it is ready to go, and this is where I started work on a small still life of a muller and a glass bottle. For step-by-step images of the painting, cick here: Still Life with Muller

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