Friday, 15 November 2013

Decisions, decisions...

I've been using ready stretched canvasses ever since I've started painting on canvas (because that's how my painting teacher did it), and I've never really thought about stretching my own canvasses. But recently, I've become a bit bored with the ready stretched things. There just doesn't seem to be that much variety, at least not in texture. So I've started thinking about doing my own stretching. I ordered two sample booklets from one of the big art shops here, and oh my, so many different textures and varieties!

But now there's the problem of deciding which one. Linen or cotton? (I'm not really considering the polyester options, that just sounds wrong somehow). Primed or unprimed? Well, I know which one I like most. Unfortunately, that also happens to be the most expensive. So the problem now is to find my favourite affordable fabric.

Umprimed fabrics are less expensive, so that might be an option. But I'm just a bit concerned about how the fabric will behave, if you first stretch, and then prime it. Will it warp? Would I have to gesso it first, and then stretch it? That might be a bit akward, though, especially with the larger sizes.

Well, before I make any definite decisions, and order a bit huge roll of fabric, I'll have to do some more investigating. I bought two more sample booklets from the other big art shop here. They have some great looking, and slightly less expensive, fabrics in their catalogue, and I'm looking forward to try them out. After all, it's quite a big investment, to get a big huge 2x10m roll (they don't seem to sell them by metre here), and I want to get the right one. Although it might probably take a while to find the perfect canvas. Not easy, but rather exciting.

Linking this up to the wonderful Paint Party Friday. I know, there ins't much of painting going on here, but I hope that some of you might have some tips or recommendations for me. 

What do you use/prefer? Ready stretched, or stretching your own? Have you changed from ready stretched to making your own? Or vice versa? I'd love to hear what you think and about your own experiences.


  1. Funny enough I always bought packs of per made canvasses, usually box as I like the depth for hanging wirhout having to frame. Then a while ago my husband actually came across a website that sold rolls of canvas and he said he'd get it and start making the frames to stretch them for me so I could have whatever size I wanted. Do you know I have no clue what kind of canvas it is. Ie was pettiness that I know but as for the variety you're investigating carefully before you buy-i just let him go ahead and order it-isn't that terrible of me! I Have painted on a couple of canvasses he made me from it and I thought of was fine. Mind you, I put on so many layers of paint and get a lot of texture with pointillism that I'm not sure it would matter what I was painting on! I Have a heap of blank ready made canvases to use up first but then I plan to get him to make me a really big one as I've been working in miniature for a while now. This probably hasn't helped you at all other than to confirm you put a lot more thought into this than I did!

  2. Le was pettiness- should be 'it was primed' autocorrect is crazy on my phone!

  3. Good luck with your quest, as you say its a huge investment. Happy PPF, Annette x

  4. I didn't realize there were so many different types of canvas. I would be interested in your findings. Good Luck :-)

  5. I have always used the per-stretched W&N canvases but lately the texture has been frustrating me. So, when I run out of the ones I have left, I am going to get some linen canvases because I believe they are smoother, which is best for detail. I suppose it just depends on the result you are after... I don't think I'd have the patience to stretch my own! :0)

  6. i have 'made' my own canvas. I like the variation in the fabric, but the 'time' consuming aspect of it is not appealing to me. When I go to the studio to paint, I want to paint - I don't want to do mechanical things or housekeeping. Good luck with your experiments and I hope you find the 'right' combination for you. :)

  7. There's a lot to choose from! :-) I like the idea of stretching the canvas yourself, but it is a lot of work, good if you have someone to do it for you, like Nic!
    And still a lot to learn for me, how to stretch and prime and stuff.
    Happy PPF

  8. I myself prefer already prepped canvas, and maybe even better canvas board.
    But according to a friend of mine, who paints in oils and makes her own, you buy whatever fabric you like, then mount it, then you prime. She made a reproduction commission from a very old painting and that was the onli time I saw she left areas unprimed, just because the original was like that, and it was raw canvas with a very rough texture. After you mount, you moisten it, dry it then gesso, so it gets very taut. She is in her 70s and has painted for tons of decades.
    Another painter I know, either that she makes or buys them made, she adds many layers of gesso to make them super smooth and hard. I know you want texture, but this just popped in to my mind haha Her paintings look like made on wood panel, i was surprised to see they were primed canvas.
    OI'd like to see what you like best!

  9. I wish you the best in finding a perfect fit for you -without going broke. Alas, I have no opinion to offer you as I am not familiar with all of this. I will say that for my meager attempts I prefer a prepped -and wrapped canvas to paint on. Happy PPF!

  10. I have no knowledge of canvases (or paints or gessoes), so I just say: very interesting! :)

  11. I love these photos of the different textures of Canvas!! Good luck on your investigating the different ones.. I know many artists stretch their own...I never have.

    Hugs Giggles

  12. Interesting.. although I haven't got a clue about this.. ;) I hope you'll get many tips from others..
    I love that blue color!
    Good luck with your decision and work! :)

  13. I use both. Meaning I stretch my own canvas for certain projects and use ready made for others. The choices are many. Good luck

  14. I have been painting on gessoed unstretched canvas. The advantage is that it is not bulky to store and you can paint any size you wish. The negatives are that the preprimed canvas that i've been using does not have a consistent surface so I may need to gesso a few coats again. Painting on a stretched canvas is not my favorite. I don't like the bounce I get as I do a lot of mixed media and apply paint pretty roughly. I like cradel boards and paper but then again I have the issue f expense in framing. I don't have a clear answer but the issue is a dilemma that I ponder.