Notebook, 1993-

MATERIALS & METHODS - Painting - Oil Painting - Supports and Grounds

Characteristics - Painting Methods - Materials and Equipment - Manufacture - Protection of the Picture

Flexible Supports - Commercial

Canvas Boards
Canvas boards are usually made of the cheapest cotton canvas mounted on cheap cardboard. The weave is mechanical in appearance and vastly inferior to that of a good grade of prepared artist's canvas. Such boards have not even economy to recommend them, since artists can make better quality canvas at similar cost by preparing the material themselves. Of course, these remarks do not apply to expensive custom-made panels of good linen mounted on permanent supports, such as rag cardboard or Masonite. [p. 112]

Primed Canvas
Commercially primed canvas, prepared with an oil ground, may be bought by the yard in various widths, single primed (with one layer of ground) or double primed (with two layers of ground). The worth (and generally the price) of these products depends, naturally, on the quality of their ingredients and workmanship. The back of the canvas should be examined to see that the textile is tightly and strongly woven with no runs or bad irregularities. The quality of the ground may be checked by bending or flexing a corner of the canvas. The ground should not crumble easily, nor should it be limp and overpliable, but rather it should be somewhat springy and tough. Slight yellowing does not by itself indicate an inferior ground, since white lead would yellow if the canvas were rolled for any length of time. Such yellowing, due to white lead content, may be easily remedied b exposing the canvas to light for a few days, during which time the yellowing should disappear. However, some manufacturers fear that the yellowed white lead ground will be less salable, and so they use nonyellowing grounds made of titanium or zinc pigment. As a rule these are not so tough and elastic as white lead grounds. Some commercial canvases are tinted a light cool gray to mask the yellowing of the ground. To insure the condition of commercial canvas which must be stored in rolls, softeners or plasticizers, such as glycerine, may sometimes be added, with dubious effects on the durability of the canvas. Canvas is now sold prepared with acrylic resin priming of the type described in the previous section on synthetic resin grounds. [p. 112]

Primed Paper
For sketching purposes, inexpensive papers coated with a ground are sold usually in tablets. These should not be considered for permanent painting because they become brittle very soon. [p. 113]

Raw Linen
Fabrics used as supports for pictures should be manufactured to meet artists' requirements. Frequently linens woven for table cloths or other uses have cotton admixtures or are not as densely woven or strong as artist's linen should be. Unsized fabrics should be priced according to the weight per square yard and the number of threads per square inch. When one compares the prices of canvas, it is important to bear in mind not only the cost per running yard but also the widths of the fabrics being compared. One yard of 60-inch wide canvas at $3.24 is not cheaper than one yard of 72-inch wide canvas at $3.38. [1983] [p. 113]

[Kay, Reed. The Painter's Guide to Studio Methods and Materials. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1983.]



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