Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tips to picking out your canvas

What width do I purchase the rolled canvas, and from where do I purchase the canvas? Questions that are going through your head, I bet. It can be confusing and overwhelming if you don't know where to begin. Step three in the canvas stretching process is your canvas choice.

As far as the choice of canvas goes, you have either primed or unprimed, as well as, cotton or linen. Primed means that gesso has already been applied. Unprimed means raw canvas with nothing on it. Depending on your project, you’ll need to determine what works best for you. I know of artists that never prime their canvas, however; they rarely use paint. Paint is liquid and will bleed through that is why it needs to be primed prior. I recommend buying a small piece of both primed and unprimed canvas and stretching both and see what you like best. Remember though, that the unprimed will need to be gessoed prior to the actual painting. That is an added step and cost. Once you have chosen which style you prefer then decide whether you like cotton or linen best. I find that cotton works best for me and is always reasonably priced.

Canvas comes in many widths from approximately 52 inches to 144 inches wide and in lengths from 6 yards to 100 yards. The width usually depends on the size of the piece you are going to paint. The bigger you go, the wider it needs to be. I suggest not going too big on your first few till you get the hang of the process. I would recommend going a little smaller in length till you decide what you like work with the best. You don’t want to be stuck with 50 yards on canvas that is hard to stretch.

Now that you have decided on the canvas selection, it is best to buy it in bulk. It is less costly and you will have more freedom. Research your local art shops as they frequently have sales and that is a great opportunity to stock up. I usually purchase it online and have it shipped. For me, it is the most cost effective with the choice and width I prefer. I purchase from Blick Art Materials for all my canvas needs. Dick Blick frequently has sales and a great selection of canvas both primed and unprimed cotton and linen in various widths. It may take time, but you will find what works best for you. Enjoy the process!

Fantastic! Now that you have made all your choices, you are ready to begin the next phase in this process.

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If you just came to this blog, you might like to read other posts in the series.

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