In my post titled Painting on Aluminum, I described my journey of discovery with this new medium. The first work I created with it is called Watching Over the Newborn Lord, shown above. The second is Heavenly Embrace. I spent many hours on them and learned a lot.
Aluminum panels, when properly prepared, differ little from any other painting base. They are lightweight, strong, and durable. The surface quality varies considerably from piece to piece, some having pockmarks, dents and scratches. For the most part, sanding and coating with gesso overcomes those pieces, but if you are going to paint on the untreated surface, which I did, you will have to allow for those problems.
Sizes larger that 24 inches in any direction require bracing, as the composite will sag. Prepared canvas usually include good bracing; you will have to come up with your own solution for larger pieces.
Will I paint on aluminum again? Perhaps. It has many advantages. My experience is slightly tainted, because I chose to paint on the untreated surface, which is slick as glass, a new and uncomfortable process for me, and I used new paints, which properties I wrestled with as well. These, combined with the constraints of painting on a relatively small size, frustrated me and slowed me down a lot. My next piece will be on canvas. We’ll see what happens after that.
Here is a detail of my second painting on aluminum, showing the imperfections of the process and some of what I learned: