Commercial canvas

I spend a lot of time preparing canvases–stretching, priming, and grounding. The process works well for me but it’s time-consuming. I would gladly buy commercially-prepared canvas but my experience with it has been bad. In the past, I’ve paid premium prices for inferior products. The art supply market is filled with hucksters and amateurs.

Knowing that I will have to do additional work, I decided to try some commercial canvas made with a linen-cotton blend. Good, raw linen is expensive and the cheaper grades are best avoided. Cotton is still reasonably priced but the texture isn’t as tight as linen.

I bought a 5-yard roll from Richeson. The canvas weave and texture are OK. It’s lighter than I like but the weave is tighter than normal cotton canvas. The canvas has an acrylic primer.

The roll is 83″ inches so the 5-yard roll will make 4 canvases in my standard 40″ x 54″ size, and 6 smaller 20″ x 24″ canvases. 10 canvases for a reasonable price.

On the left in this photo is the first canvas I prepared with the roll. I lightly sanded the 40″ x 54″ canvas and added a lead-oil ground over the acrylic primer. I used a scraper to apply the ground so the surface is already smooth. When the lead ground dries, I’ll sand it and then put another oil ground with a neutral gray tone over it.

It’s still a lot of work to prepare the 10 canvases this way but the acrylic primer saves me some steps. Of course, the ultimate value depends on the final surface quality.

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