Oil paper recommendations, please?

Hello fellow artists!

Ok. Part of my portfolio of work is painting miniatures (see attached images). I like to use oils (because of the long open time) on paper (because of the way the paint is absorbed upon application). Currently, I use Arches oil paper, which is like a watercolour paper rather than most other oil papers which resemble a canvas-textured, treated (slight gloss) heavy weight paper.

Now, here’s the dilemma, the Arches oil paper is cold pressed. Meaning it has a rough texture to it and due to the small scale I work on, I have to use the reverse side as there’s slightly less bump. On that scale, every piece of lint becomes a tree in the road! Even the rough grain of the paper is sometimes an issue!

What I would love to find is this:
-Needs to be hot pressed or textureless.
-Preferably super smooth grain/toothless like Bristol board.
-Is safe to use with oil paints.
-Could be a printing paper that’s ok with oils too.
Failing those, is there a chemical or substance I could treat heavyweight hot pressed paper with to make it oils safe?*
*Things like clear acrylic gesso would not be suitable, as it would be forming a barrier on top of the paper, which would defeat the object of painting on paper. I’d be painting directly into the clear gesso instead.


First off—awesome work Tom,

It seems that most commercially prepared oil papers have some sort of canvas texture. The only one that I came across that described its surface as “subtle” was the Rembrandt Oil Paper Block.

We used to prep paper for oil studies when I was attending the Schuler School of Fine Arts. If memory serves we used a mixture of Liquitex Mat Medium, Mat Varnish and water. To get the ideal surface you may end up just prepping your own.

Liquitex does have info on their site for prepping different types of paper including hot press.

On this page they mention achieving a less absorbent surface with less tooth through diluting your Liquitex gesso with Liquitex Matte Medium.

Golden Artists’ top recommendation is for no oil penetration and minimal warping – Fluid Matte Medium and Acrylic Gesso on Oil Paper.

I’m curious if anyone else here can provide some better info on this. Let me know what you do or find out Tom.


Continuing the discussion from Oil paper recommendations, please?:

Thank you, Anthony. I’ll look in to this. I also emailed Arches paper co to see if they had any answers. I’ll keep you posted.


Can’t offer any help with this one, but those miniature paintings are stunning Tom! Just checked out your website as well. You’ve done some amazing paintings and drawings. Much respect

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Beautiful work, Tom; just gorgeous!!!

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Found this useful article on the W&N website on sizing watercolour paper for oil painting: http://www.winsornewton.com/row/discover/tips-and-techniques/other-tips-and-techniques/water-colour-paper-for-oil-painting

I’ll need to do some tests to see if it’s suitable for me. Ideally, I’d like to try with hot pressed watercolour paper. I already have some Fabriano hot pressed 100% cotton 300gsm to start with …stay tuned folks

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