When I painted my Dogs in Literature mini-series, I papered the board first with book pages then gessoed the papering with clear gesso ready to accept oil paint. I did not like the feel of the clear gesso at all. I think it would be fab for pastels because it created a sort of sandpapery feel but it was most unpleasant to paint on. So for this lovely boy, I experimented with a different approach.
I drew the dog on to layout paper, then traced the outline in reverse on the back of the wallpaper and then cut the head out. Then I flipped the wall paper over, with a dog-shaped hole in it - and "wall-papered" it on to a linen board. This then left me, of course, with a pristine linen surface for the actual painting.
I should say it took four attempts and two ruined boards. I can now offer the Karen Robinson Bespoke ©™methodology for avoiding air bubbles, ripples, ridges, unwanted rips and other wallpapery nuisances.
1. squirt the paper with water from a sprayer so it is nice and damp but not actually swimming. Or dissolving.
2. Wait 5 minutes
3. Smear Liquitex clear gesso all over the board where you want the wallpaper to go but NOT where the dog is to be painted otherwise this is all a bit of a waste of time
4. Take some of the gesso off, there is bound to be too much.
5. Wait 5 minutes.
6. with non-sticky hands - this is very important don't ask me how I know this - carefully lift the fragile paper up and fix it to the board from the centre outwards trying to keep it straight.
7. Put in a warm place to dry for 4 hours. I put mine in the airing cupboard on top of the dog towels.
8. Paint the dog.
If it goes wrong, begin again at Step 1.
I like this painting but I am not sure about the process. I think next time I will actually just paint the wallpaper.