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From Texture to Type What to Think About When Buying Canvas Panels
Canvas panels are made of either cotton or linen. Canvas’ lightness makes it a preferable painting surface to the wood. Another thing to recommend canvas is its durability. The oldest canvas painting in London’s National Gallery dates to 1310. When choosing a surface for your next creation, there are a few things to be considered.
Cotton or Linen
Linen canvas is twice as durable as cotton canvas. Canvas panels made from linen offer greater longevity than their cotton counterparts. Linen is less susceptible to damage, including fire damage. Cotton provides a fine painting surface, and being cheaper than linen is the best option for artists on a budget.Read More
Painting canvas comes in six different textures ranging from grainless to medium grain to extra rough. Choose the feel of your canvas based on your personal preference and the effect you wish to create. For example, because of its smoothness, the grainless is preferred for portraiture. Use a courser weave for large paintings and broad brush strokes.
Will The Painting Be Framed
The right frame compliments a painting and helps to keep the viewer concentrated on the work. Still, some artists prefer to display their pieces unframed. A wooden sub-structure helps stretched canvas panels to retain their shape. Deep/thick and traditional/thin define the width of a canvas’ support frame. Use a broader subframe to hang a painting unframed. Think thin for a framed piece,
Is Primed or Unprimed Canvas Best
Priming minimizes the absorption of color by the canvas and helps the paint to adhere better. Primer also serves as a sealant for the canvas’ sub-frame. Canvas can be purchase primed or unprimed. Oil paints will break canvas down, so priming is a must when working with oils. Acrylics do not require a primed surface.
Some artists find the beige coloring of an unprimed canvas enhances the final image, sometimes opting to leave part of the painting surface exposed. Without priming, the cloth will absorb some of the color from acrylic paint, creating a more subdued image.
Priming a Canvas
To prime the painting surface yourself, you apply 1-3 coats of Gesso (pronunciation Jesso). Gesso is available at art supply and craft stores and must be allowed to dry between coats.
Are You A Beginner or Accomplished Artist
Mounted on stiff cardboard, the lower price and portability of pre-primed canvas panels make them ideal for beginning and novice artists. Spiral-bound canvas pads also provide an inexpensive surface for aspiring artists to hone their skills on. Sold by the yard only more accomplished artists should use rolled canvas because of the cost, and the artist’s need to do their stretching.
Linen canvas is more rugged and expensive than cotton canvas. The texture of cloth can create a particular effect. Always use a primed canvas when working with oils. Oil paints break canvas down. Choose the type of canvas you use, rolled etc. based on your skill level.