There are so many kinds of surfaces you can paint on; Hardboard, stretched canvas, canvas board and so on. I commonly use stretched canvas.
I lived in a place where none of these were readily available. The market in that village was literally only 200 meters long and forget about even buying paints. So I had to buy canvas when I was on holiday. One of the best things in the army is that you usually know someone who is in a place where he/she can buy canvas and there is usually someone passing by your town. So that’s how I managed to get my shipment. Of course now there is online shopping but you will be charged for shipping especially if you are ordering large size canvas.
As I was just a beginner I didn’t want to spend much on canvas. So I bought stretched canvas which was locally made by a store. They made their own frames in bulk and the canvas that came in bulk was hand stretched and nailed (not stapled) by some locally employed people who of course didn’t know much about how it was to be done.
I got these canvases very cheap and then after I removed them from the packaging one by one I noticed that these were flawed. The grain of the canvas was not parallel to the frame.
A canvas has grains like any cloth. This has to be parallel to the frame.
Instead I saw a few which were mounted diagonally.
It is unsightly and I don’t recommend painting on it
I also feel stapling is more effective than nailing a canvas to the frame to stretch it.
A canvas is primed with Gesso which was traditionally used to prepare or prime a surface so Oil paint would adhere to it. Gesso is the same as a primer. It is made from a combination of paint pigment, chalk and binder.
The priming done on these cheap canvas that I bought was very uneven and has air gaps which looked bad and eventually opened up. The corners were not neatly folded either.
So remember there are lot of things you need to check while buying canvas
You also get fine grain, medium grain and coarse grain canvas. Buy fine grain for realistic art or airbrushing especially if you’re planning on doing a lot of detailing.
Medium grain is versatile. I usually buy these so I don’t have to decide what to paint in advance
The coarse grain takes up lot of paint. It is great for heavy textured paintings and knife painting.
The stretcher bars on which the canvas is stretched also comes in different types. I buy the standard 1 inch thick ones. The thicker ones are better if you can afford it and great if you don’t plan on framing your painting
You also get side stapled and back stapled. There is a bit of a cost difference. I buy the back stapled because I prefer not framing my paintings.
Well well, that is definitely a lot of information on canvas. I bet there is a lot more but this is all that I’ve encountered so far. Happy shopping.
Watch out for some awesome art shopping options also including online art shopping destinations in the next blog post. Don’t forget to subscribe. you can find social media links below and also checkout my videos on YouTube.