Oil Painting Canvas and Panels - How to Resurface & Reuse

Got used Oil Painting Canvas or Panels that you want to reuse?

If you have been painting for more than a few years, chances are that you have a large collection of unsuccessful oil painting canvas/panels that are clogging your studio space – maybe they have overrun your studio storage and have flowed into your garage, garden sheds, attics or closets. A virtual Tsunami of disappointing images....could have been, should have been...

We all get to the stage of wanting to get rid of the evidence – throwing old paintings into the trash isn't usually the answer. Some have been know to return like a boomerang at flea markets or other less than thrilling venues.

Your Collectors won't like that!

Purchasing new oil painting panels or canvas is expensive – so why not reclaim those old canvases or panels by re-surfacing them.

Due to the nature of oil paint, one cannot simply apply acrylic Gesso over the surface. It will not adhere properly and, over time, will peel away.

Resurface Old Oil Paintings the Right Way – then Re-use for New Oil Paintings

We checked with Gamblin Oil Colors, Inc., (a high end manufacturer of professional artists' oil pigment) with regard to using their Oil Painting Ground and they have replied as follows:

Our Oil Painting Ground will work very well to cover an old oil painting, provided that a good bond can form between the ground and the dry paint.  This bond can be unstable if a lot of painting medium was used in the old paint layers, resulting in a closed surface of the top paint layers. 

We recommend that old paintings be sanded to insure a good bond between the dry paint layer and ground.”

Artist Michele Hausman has a great new video of this process - check it out here -"How to Repurpose Old Oil Canvas".

We have applied the Gamblin Oil Painting Ground product to old plein air painting canvas/panels after sanding them down as recommended above.

Health & Safety Note: Use a mask while sanding, and do it outside if you can - you don't want to breath in the dust - it may be toxic.

We used a large palette knife to apply a good layer to the panel surface – then feathered the product with a brush to smooth it out. It takes about 3 or 4 days to dry or longer in colder weather. So far so good.

We now have a fresh new supply of oil painting canvas/wood panels covered with a white oil painting surface to work on. To get more information about this product go to: Gamblin Oil Colors Inc.

How to Make Your Own Tripod

Return to Plein Air Painting Equipment Page

Return to Front Page

To subscribe to our FREE monthly Newsletter - PLEIN AIR MUSINGS - about all things Plein Air, send us your information below.

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Plein Air Musings.