My vision for this project is that I wanted my final pieces to be presented like family photographs would be. My stylistic inspiration for how I wanted my paintings to be presented were glass photo frames, where the photographs are held between two glass planes and framed by faux brass. My initial thoughts were to try painting upon glass but when organising my time plan I knew that realistically I needed to find a material that was lightweight and not quite as fragile as glass since I knew I would be transporting my paintings between home and my studio.

Thinking of an alternative that would still allow me to achieve the aesthetic I wanted I thought that an effective faux glass would be perspex plastic which is both lightweight and quite durable. My options were a few different colours of perspex so I wanted to experiment on samples to see what looked best for my idea.

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clockwise: blue perspex, clear perspex, stainless steel, glass-look perspex

I wanted to paint with oil paints and since I haven’t painted upon perspex before I wasn’t sure how the paints and the perspex would work together so using the samples gave me the opportunity to test this out. I thought that I would try a sample which was raw and untouched, a sample that was sanded in the middle to create a texture for the paint to stick to and a sample that was both sanded and primed. This would allow me to find out which method was best for preparing my base for my paintings.

glass-look perspex, untouched surface

I found that on the untouched perspex the paint went on smoothly and could be applied thickly however I found that it was easy to reveal the clear plastic underneath. This implied to me that although the paint didn’t slide off as easy as I expected, it didn’t adhere to the perspex that well.

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blue perspex, sanded surface

The way that the paint worked with the sanded surface was not all that different than when the perspex was untouched. Perhaps it adhered to the surface a little better but it was hardly noticeable. As I wrote in my Statement of Intent, I really intend to use a laser cutter to raster the surface so that the textured surface is neater as sanding by hand would likely go beyond the parameters of where I want to paint. Hopefully the texture created from the laser cutter will be more effective than sanding by hand.

clear perspex, sanded and primed surface

For my third test piece I both sanded and primed the surface with white acrylic paint. The surface was definitely opaque and the paint adhered to the surface significantly more than the other samples. Although the translucent effect on the other samples was aesthetically nicer than the primed painting, I feel that priming the surface is the better method as it’ll ensure the durability of the painting and consistency in quality.

Considering the colour perspex to choose, I found that the blue perspex was too coloured and that it distracted from the painting. Although the colour of the glass-look was more subtle, I still found that the colour distracted from the painting. The clear perspex, however, had the delicate and transparent quality I was looking for and mimicked the appearance as glass just as well as the glass-look perspex.

The experimentation with perspex was enough for me to fully decide on using it as a base so I felt that using the sample of stainless steel wasn’t essential to my development and it would be better for my time management if I opted not to use that sample.


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