Egg / linseed oil emulsion Ground for canvas and panels

I Egg

Raw linseed oil


Titanium white (or other) pigment

Rabbit skin glue solution (1:30, glue to water)

Sized panel (1:15 solution) or sized linen (1:30 solution)

Break the egg into a glass jar and shake. Mark the level on the side of the jar and double the existing level with the oil. Again mark the level and double the quantity with water and shake to form an emulsion. This will store for 1 week in the fridge.

Put some Titanium white pigment onto a glass slab and gradually add the emulsion mixing with a palette knife to form a well-mixed, stiff and glossy paste. Dilute the paste with the glue solution to a thin cream consistency. The glue should be warm; hot glue will cook the egg.

Other pigments may be mixed with or substituted for the Titanium white to give a toned ground. The priming should be brushed on very thinly. 3 coats will provide a brilliant white priming.

The Half Chalk and Egg /Oil Emulsion Grounds can be applied to sized panels and also Linen where it must be applied very thinly and fairly quickly to prevent cracking. The back of the canvas should be supported with some board to avoid pushing it out of shape.

To prime linen, dip a decent housepainters or artist’s varnish brush into the primer by only ¼” so that a sparing amount of it is taken up. Push the primer ahead of the brush by angling it at 45 degrees working in a circular motion to work the primer into the weave, finish off with a light straight stroke to bring it onto the top of the canvas tooth.

Ian Rowlands