The method of preparing canvas for painting varies from one artist to another. This is because there is a wide variety of options when preparing one. Here’s a handy guide on how you can start to create your canvas so you express the virtuoso in you and confidently start painting.For artists, it is extremely important to choose the correct size and crop of your canvas. Many artists today choose to make their own canvas because your work is not only showcased on the canvas itself, but the panel is also a product of your creative mind.
Canvas can be made from many kinds of cloths and fabrics. It’s the most common type of support that painters use. Among the different fabrics available in the market today, cotton and linen are the ones widely used as canvas to support oil painting. These two fabrics are easily identifiable when unprimed. A unprimed canvas means that coating material is applied to the fabric to ensure the paint will not soak on the other side of the canvas.Some artists prefer primed cavass because there is no need for sizing, grounding and mixing. This means the artist can concentrate more on his painting. Unprimed canvas on the other hand more cost-effective, and can be beneficial for painters so they can learn how to properly do the process of priming.
Canvas should be stretched before applying primer. Don’t stretch the canvas after the application of the primer because it will only result to flaking and cracking making the surface rough for your painting. Primer will also make the canvas stiff and no matter how you pull it, it will not stretch the proper way. Stretching can be difficult at first but it is less expensive compared to pre-stretched canvases. This is a big deciding factor for beginners.
Once you canvas is attached to the frame, the next step is the sizing and grounding. Sizing is used as a sealant and protection for your canvas. The canvas is applied with the sizing first. Grounding on the other hand is applied on top of the sizing making your canvas uniform in color and texture. It also acts as an additional layer of protection for the canvas. For oil painting, gesso is the most commonly used ground for the canvas. It is made up of chalk, whiting, casein or animal glue. To have a smooth canvas, the gesso should be applied in thin coats.If the painter wishes to have a smooth canvas, the gesso is applied three thin coats. For a rough texture, gesso is applied only once. Gesso dries up quickly, that’s why it needs to applied in smooth and even strokes. After applying the first coat, allow the gesso to dry up and use a fine sandpaper to smoothen the surface. Remove dust and residue by wiping the canvas.