Column: Artists can use a variety of painting surfaces

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This 24-by-30-inch framed painting, titled “Wine,” is painted on an 1860s Johnson’s map of France/Spain/Portugal and available at

Pre-historic rustic dudes did it on cave walls. Michelangelo, Giotto, Boticelli and their European hipster buddies did it fresco style on freshly laid lime plaster walls in the culturally rich 14th- to 17th-century Renaissance period.

Canvas is the surface/support of choice for most oil and acrylic artists of today. Watercolorist and pastel artists often use a form of specialized papers and panels. But there are certainly more edgy surfaces to consume our colorful inspirations.


“Rock star” Carmel artist Gavin Goode specializes in applying art to various surfaces, specifically oil enamel on stainless steel — hand painted, not air brushed. Note: few have that gift! Check out his stuff all across the U.S., from Bar Louie in Carmel to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Discover more at


That’s right! For a few years, I’ve been searching for archival-quality, vintage maps to use as a painting surface. After recently appreciating a Leroy Neiman-like sailing painting on a vintage nautical map in Maui, the curious pursuit intensified. We “stumbled” across a wonderful cache that will fuel my juices for a few years! After stabilizing and mounting on foam core or a flat panel, the maps and musical scores accept both acrylics and oils spectacularly. Candidly, the untouched originals look pretty cool and require discretion when painting.

Today, historic brick homes and commercial cinder-block buildings have replaced the cave walls of yesterday. Creatives are blatantly exposing their talents across the nation for all to see, introducing the masses to a new form of art. I dig that!