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Old 23-04-2011, 09:48   #1
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Need Advice: Acrylic Paint for Artwork on Transom

Need serious helpful advice - from those who have either commissioned or done the work themselves - on painting artwork on the transom.

We have our boat on the hard at the moment and it will be on the hard through possibly Thursday next week. The bottom is being painted and the hull waxed.

The boat is a 31 year old Pearson sailboat with super thick gel coat. The transom has been clobbered by dingys and the usual mishap over the decades.

I have spoken with the yard owner - Seaview North in Puget Sound - and discussed this topic with him. They can repair the gel coat dings with new gel coat patches, grinding down through the oxidation to reach the original color of the white gelcoat to improve the ability to match the old gelcoat and new gel coat patch, for a time anyway.

He said they would wet sand the transom for me and leave it alone till I get through painting my graphics. Then they will come back and wax the transom.

I am an amateur artist, very little training but decently skilled with drawing, so I should be able to create something pleasant on the back of the boat that won't embarrass me or the captain. If it's a failure, I'll pay the yard to sand it off...

My questions to those with qualifications painting on fiberglass:

do I need a primer, once the wet sanding has dried, and if so, what to use, how to apply, etc.

I have acrylic paint and guache. The acrylic paint was purchased at Michael's, was manufactured in China, and is Battat. Is this an adequate product? The guache is Winsor and Newton made in Britain. As I look at my little pile of paints, I realize they are too little in volume. So, what brand should I purchase? What paint will work for this? Where can I find it? I would prefer to purchase artist paints that also work on canvas and paper, since I know a little about using that kind of paint. But will they work?

I have some expensive animal hair brushes and some cheapo plastic bristle brushes. Also some brush cleaners, all designed for acrylic and water colors. Guessing use cheap plastic bristle brushes. Should I purchase something else?

Will the wax protect the artwork from UV, if I am religious with waxing?

Will the paint chip off anyway and look bad fairly quickly, notwithstanding some jerk backing into the transom with their boat, or unpleasant encounters of our own with hard objects? Any hope of the inflatable dingy not destroying the artwork?

Does the acrylic need to dry any particular time period before waxing over it? I'm assuming liquid wax only - no buffing the wax on the artwork.

As I've never done this, I'm too ignorant to even know all the questions to ask.

Please provide helpful information if you have performed this artwork yourself, or have commissioned it. Really looking for serious advice.

Thanks very much, in advance.
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Old 23-04-2011, 09:56   #2
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Re: Need Advice: Acrylic Paint for Artwork on Transom

That sounds like a great idea... I can't wait to see the pictures. I'm also interested in hearing the responses you get...
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Old 24-04-2011, 12:32   #3
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Re: Need Advice: Acrylic Paint for Artwork on Transom

spent about an hour in Dakota Art Supplies in Bellingham, WA yesterday. One of the staff is an artist that has worked with painting acrylic on fiberglass - not boats, but otherwise.

Just for info, here is what I have purchased and the procedure I'll be using, based on her recommendations:

The boat yard will wet sand the fiberglass and leave a porous surface.

I will apply three thin coats of Gesso, a 100% acrylic polymer dispersion that allegedly has marble dust in it. The product specs claim: flexible when dry, excellent adhesion for acrylic paint, water and UV resistant, and cleans up with soap and water. Gesso is opaque and pure white. If it doesn't flake off the transom after a year or two - I'll use it for patching fiberglass dings.

After gesso dries - about an hour required per layer, I will paint whatever art I want with acrylic paints and the 100% polymer medium that is transparent - acts like water does for water colors.

After the artwork is on, then the transparent polymer medium again - 3 coats. Polymer medium is UV resistant.

Once dry, apply an outdoor spray on varnish in three thin coats.

Once that is done, I will likely apply a plastic film product designed to go over fiberglass surfaces that get a lot of wear on boats, cars, etc., that is bullet proof - came up with that elsewhere not from the artist.

then I will put liquid Collinite 925 wax on the entire transom. It's going to be labor intensive.

I was going to paint the entire transom in one big mural, but instead, I'm going to start with just two spots - a turtle sketch in about 14" diameter - one at top starboard, the other at the bottom.

If these areas don't work, it will be easy enough to remove them, but an entire transom mural that flakes, chips, or falls off in hunks would be bad news. This will be an interesting experiment.

Will post pics when work is complete.
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acrylic, paint, transom art, polymer

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