Friday, December 05, 2008

I've just ordered a good quantity of "acrylic canvas". I've not heard of any other painter that has tried this material (although painting on perspex, cast acrylic plastic, is more common). When 19th century painters chose linen they chose it because it was used for sails and was the toughest cloth around at the time. Now there are lots of tough materials used for sails, tarpaulins, tents, military armour and all sorts of things, and most of them are tougher than linen.

A good painting surface needs:

1. Physical toughness so that it won't rip or tear or shatter or turn to dust.
2. Resistance to moisture and sunlight and bacteria and insects!
3. A little bit of flexibility (for cloths) for stretching tightly.
4. Adhesion. Carbon Fibre or Kevlar are really tough but not stretchy and normally lacking adhesion, so your paint will fall off.
5. Stability. Something that won't change over time. Something that will remain elastic.

No material satifies all of the above but some are better than others.