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Preparing Metal Surfaces for Painting

By Gord MacDonald, Painter September 24, 2020

Painting on Copper has been used for 500 years and probably started with old etching plates. In 1992, I first saw paintings on copper that were so immaculate that they looked fake. No cracks, yellowing or discoloration. They were painted in the 1640s.

So, why do I use copper and how?

To use it, the patina must be taken off first. This can be done with Comet or sandpaper. I like sandpaper. Anything under 300 grit. I like 100. I then use alcohol to take the copper powder and any grease off the surface. This is done only when I'm ready to paint. Beforehand, the copper needs to be mounted on a panel for hanging and support. You could just put it in a frame without mounting on a panel. I use 8-10 ply half inch plywood and glue it down with PL Premium, (available at home building centres) 'an industrial glue that will glue yer arse to the wind'.

Once mounted and you're ready to paint. Some of the positives about this are as follows.

- The re-oxidation gets absorbed by the oil paint and helps drying.

- Copper prevents microbiol attack.

- It doesn't flex.

- It absorbs temperature evenly.

- It's also more reflective than a matte gesso.

- It's fun to paint on.

If you are a professional, you may hear clients say, " I'll just wait till he/she does something else on metal."

All my work under 24/36" is on metal now. 

You may see more of Gord's painting on his PROFILE PAGE or see more of his art at ARGYL FINE ART.