Sunday, November 29, 2009


Priming today. My last canvas failed, so I needed to prepare a new one. This is always tricky. I use acrylic canvas from a company called Point North. It's very tough stuff, water resistant and very lightfast, cheaper than linen and better in every way. They make a good acrylic coated polyester I aim to try too.

I've stretched and prepared four or five large ones so far, and my "procedure list" is evolving. The surface is slightly "furry" like felt and takes acrlyic very well, making a soft looking downy texture that is a dream to paint on, but it can be difficult getting it flat and it does use a lot of primer.

First I stretch. My friend Sue did the stapling today, and two people are better than one. Then a layer of Golden GAC400 applied with a spreader. This is a fabric stiffener, but it doensn't stiffen that much really. Being an acrlyic canvas I could paint straight on if needed but it's whiteness is not totally white and it's furry absorbancy will probably be at odds with the way I paint. One reason for the GAC is that it's very liquid, and dries slowly. Those things make it easy to pour on lots and even it out, filling in the gaps on the weave and creating a smoother surface.

Up until now I've dried with a hairdryer then primed but this time I'll wait 24 hours. Last time I applied a second coat of GAC400 but that canvas was blotchy, and I suspect it was due to water spray and inadequate drying time between layers. The first square one, over a week ago, went from GAC400 to three coats of Winsor and Newton Acrlyic Gesso Primer. That one was excellent, but did use lots of "gesso".

I'm undecided about the next stage. Generally speaking I like to try something that I haven't tried before, even if what I've done before seems to work adequately.

What I'll do with my 82x82 square "reject" canvas is another problem!


Kathy said...

Mark, Thanks for describing your process. Although I stretched and primed my own canvases in college and afterward for a period, I've become lazier and tend to buy prepared canvases. That's really lazy! The Golden product you're using interests me, so I'll have to get off my duff and stretch a canvas to try it. It looks like you construct the canvas dimensions before the painting composition - an interesting and challenging approach. Can't wait to see what you create :)

Mark Sheeky said...

No I plan and draw out everything before I stretch the canvas. Stretching and priming is a chore but it's a lot cheaper to do it yourself for big canvases. My only option here would be mail order where I can't see what I'm buying, but that aside I think it's good to learn the skills that go with painting. I think I'll draw the line at grinding paints though..! For now :)

Kathy said...

Thanks for the clarification, Mark. I must have misread your blog. I agree with you, its' best to learn all the skills that go with painting. We were taught everything, but not grinding paints! That, and also tricky business (toxicity).