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View Full Version : pre-setreched vs. raw/roll canvas.....quality?


-paul-
03-07-2001, 04:25 PM
ok, so i am a beginner oil painter, and hence don't want to fork out loads of cash on stuff...i already have paints 'n' brushes 'n' stuff, but regarding painting surfaces........

i have bought twice now a "value pack" of two stretched and primed canvases, 16x20,
and they seemed to me to be the same as the more expensive ready-to-go ones....which seemed to have the same density of threads or whatever.......

ANYHOW......why not just keep buying the cheaper ones.....or should i not, because they are cheap for a reason.....i don't know......the price of a roll of canvas scared me off, but maybe it's worth it?

please give me a cheap opinion...no, an opinion on cheap painting grounds....(i prefer canvas)

thanks........


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Everybody is an artist;
now, whether one choses to be referred to as one or not is another story...

colinbarclay
03-07-2001, 11:38 PM
Hi Paul,
Why dont you stretch your own raw canvas and prime it ? Its easy, way cheap, and you get to make the surface exactly the way you prefer it .
Colin

paintfool
03-08-2001, 02:14 AM
I'm going to be purchasing the materials to stretch my own canvases soon. I haven't done it before so i'm sure i have a few things to learn. One question comes to mind at this time though. I have many many old canvases. Can i rip the canvas off and use the stretcher bars? I can't think of any reason why i shouldn't be able to but thought i'd ask.
Thanks
Cheryl

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paintfool

-paul-
03-08-2001, 02:29 AM
ok, so maybe i should just say now....
why do you think that a no-name "value pack" of two pre-stretched canvases are cheaper than two seperate ones of a brand name (can't think of the name) ? i forget the price difference, but it was more than a few cents!.... what makes one worth more....remember, both the same size,density or whatever, and primed.......
are there bad pre-stretched canvases?
thanks.

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Everybody is an artist;
now, whether one choses to be referred to as one or not is another story...

lori
03-08-2001, 02:48 AM
here's my guess...not having the products in front of me.

firstly, canvas (cotton) comes in different grades of thickness. the knap of the material makes a difference to the quality. so i would assume they are using cheaper canvas...i.e. thinner. just a note here, when i was a student and didn't have money i would stretch old white sheets and use house paint as gesso! so yes, you can use anything to paint on. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

secondly, the gesso quality. assuming it is acrylic gesso. these canvases are usually just gessoed and thats it. meaning that through time with oil paint, the archival quality might not be up to snuff. the paint will bleed through the back and over time eat away at the canvas. etc.

while holding the two products in your hand at once you might not be able to "see" the difference, but over time...they will change in how they age.

also, usually pre-stretched canvases aren't sized and primed. they only have one process. namely acrylic gesso.

now you can paint on these...paint your heart out...its not a big deal. especially since these are your first works.

but if you obssess about archival quality paintings, than these canvases probably aren't what you are looking for. but i doubt that you're worried aobut that now.

however...i say all of this without seeing what you are working on.


cheryl...yes, you can use the old stretcher bars. i do it all the time! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif

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dum vivimus vivamus...

-paul-
03-08-2001, 03:52 AM
"""......usually pre-stretched canvases aren't sized and primed. they only have one process. namely acrylic gesso...........
...............
but if you obssess about archival quality paintings, than these canvases probably aren't what you are looking for. but i doubt that you're worried aobut that now."""

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well, i am kind of, ok, REALLY sentimental, and i want my first paintings to live a good life.....now, i thought that acrylic gesso is ok, and sizing and priming is just another option?.....i put another layer of my own acrylic gesso on after i bought them....how long would it live? i don't know, maybe i should buy other stuff to learn...is "sizing" with that rabbit glue or whatever? man oh man, ((OR women oh women..., or maybe person oh person, or maybe two legged upright walking 5-sensed being oh two legged upright walking 5-sensed being....i must be p.c. i suppose...sorry)) .....with every question and answer pours out more....apologies....and many appreciated thanks........



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Everybody is an artist;
now, whether one choses to be referred to as one or not is another story...

Lizelle
03-08-2001, 04:44 AM
I have also only recently started to paint in oils (used to do only watercolours and charcoal), and our teacher insists on painting on hardboard, cut to appropriate sizes, and primed with two layers of universal uncoat. It's cheap, so you dont feel to bad if something is so messy that the bin is the only place for it, and tough enough that you can frame your first attempts if you so wish!!! (BTW you can prime either the smooth or the edged side)

ldallen
03-08-2001, 07:42 AM
Paul, why don't you try Masonite? You can get it at any local hardware store, it's inexpensive, can be primed easily and, according to my old paintings and those of others who have talked about it in previous forums on this subject, lasts indefinitely. It's also easy to work on. Research past forums and you'll get many opinions about it. The masters often painted on wood and you would get the same "feel" from the masonite. Just pay attention to the masonite that is recommended. Personally, when I run out of canvas that's exactly what I intend to do.

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Les

"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

Leopoldo1
03-08-2001, 10:08 AM
I don't think it makes any difference. Heck you could paint on a bedsheet if it was protected adequately. Your linen, cotton, sheets, etc. and to a lesser extent synthetics, need to be protected from the acids in the oils from the pigments! There are acids in the oils and if they come in contact with the material, will, over time cause deteoration of your support, rot! Once your support is protected sufficently you are going to have your archival dreams realized! Acrylic grounds are fine if you like to paint on that surface and alot easier to achieve and cheaper on your pocket book. My abstractionist wife uses them and that surface is adequate for her work. I find acrylic grounds limiting for what I like, plus they are hard on your brushes. I prefer a lead ground which takes considerable more work to prepare. Lead grounds allow alot more flexibilty for what I want to achieve. For me a good analogy is watercolors. The quality of the ground, like the quality of paper in a watercolor, is crucial in the way I like to work. It is just a preference. Paint and have fun! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

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"Each artist must take inventory periodically and give himself an honest evaluation so that he can make the proper changes, rather than remain stagnant" NICOLAIS FECHIN

-paul-
03-08-2001, 06:56 PM
ok, just one more reply here for me on this one....i think.......
so, one person says that just acrylic gessoing will have archival qualities that aren't up to snuff, and another says it's all good.....((i'm not holding words against anyone here though ! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif ! ))

i also just read on another site,

""Cotton duck, while less expensive, is more absorbent and less receptive to size such as gesso....""
......so, does that mean that for cotton duck, acrylic gesso won't let it last, so rabbitskin glue sizing and oil prime should be used, and acrylic gesso would be ok for linen?? i guess that would even out the costs between the two, because to get cheaper canvas, you only need more supplies.....right? wrong? i don't know.....i'm just looking at all the options here and trying to learn the safest, AND cheapest way.......aieyaieyaiey......
and if cheap prestetched and acrylic gessoed canvas is coated with another layer of gesso, will that make it better? i have "golden" acrylic gesso right now...
appreciated thanks as always.....




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Everybody is an artist;
now, whether one choses to be referred to as one or not is another story...

Leopoldo1
03-08-2001, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by -paul-:

ok, just one more reply here for me on this one....i think.......
so, one person says that just acrylic gessoing will have archival qualities that aren't up to snuff, and another says it's all good.....((i'm not holding words against anyone here though ! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif ! ))

Listen Paul keep it simple! Whether you go with lead or acrylic grounds it is going to outlast you and your grandchildren anyway, so who do you want to leave to? You said you want to go cheap in your orginal post, use acrylic on cotton, simple! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL



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"Each artist must take inventory periodically and give himself an honest evaluation so that he can make the proper changes, rather than remain stagnant" NICOLAIS FECHIN

-paul-
03-08-2001, 08:26 PM
You said you want to go cheap in your orginal post, use acrylic on cotton, simple! L


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OK, THAT'S MORE LIKE IT....AN ORDER.....THANK-YOU (really).
-paul-


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Everybody is an artist;
now, whether one choses to be referred to as one or not is another story...

tammy
03-09-2001, 10:44 PM
Paul,
It sounds like you use the same stuff I do.
A value pack about $7.00 eh??? I heard that they went out of business. I guess I bought up all their canvas! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif Teehee.
I've read that in the beginning the kind of cloth/canvas will have an impact of how long stuff last on it no matter what you prime it with.
I'm not afraid to use the value pack myself. I'd say that it would be excellent for Acrylic, but I also use them for Oil.
I've read also that you should hold the canvas up to light and if you see pinholes of light coming through just put on an extra
coat of gesso and it should be fine.
As far as my value pack went, I was just a little concerned with the stretcher bars themselves. Even then, I only noticed that they just didn't look as polished as the more expensive canvas'.
On an aside, I've heard a few folks not holding much stock on the value of more expensive archival based brands either. So, to each his/her own.


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Don't worry, its gonna be all right....
Tammy's Home for Artists (http://tammy.artistnation.com)

-paul-
03-10-2001, 04:28 AM
it's interesting that no matter what you prime something with, it will still be bad if it isn't quality canvas or whatever....you would think the priming is like a wall....

ya, i put the canvas up to the light to see if light got through.....i put a layer of gesso on regardless......but now after painting on it, i lift it up and see lots of "pinholes" with light.......i don't know if this is just because of the paint having not filled in weaves here and there though or what ? http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/wink.gif?

anyhow, i'll keep using cheaper stuff until i get more income, or AN income, so that i can afford more quality materials......

tammy, did they really go out of business? i get my two-packer "value pack" at "Michaels", a store up here in Canada...i don't know if it's in the States though.

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Everybody is an artist;
now, whether one choses to be referred to as one or not is another story...

timelady
03-10-2001, 06:56 AM
Michaels is in the states, too. And they have weekly COUPONS!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Just to add to suggestions... I used hardboard/masonite/mdf/plywood for a couple years. I sanded and gessoed myself and loved them because 1) I prefer a very solid surface and 2) I could buy offcuts at my local diy store for about 20pence each! And they would cut them down too. So I could find a 50pence huge piece and have it cut for free into 4 smaller "canvases". Fantastic.

Now I use canvas because as I'm starting to sell I'm realising how difficult and expensive it is to send the boards. I've been using Fredrix Canvas Pads since I discovered them in Chicago and they started importing them here. So any more opinions on them would be welcome. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif I like them because I can still staplegun or tape them to a solid surface to work. For larger paintings (over 18"x24") I will still buy a stretched canvas or canvas board, mainly because it's more difficult to frame a flat canvas sheet that large. I also like painting on paper - primed with gesso again.

The ONLY surface I've had problems with is the pads of oil painting paper - I think they're Daler Rowney and have a sort of fake canvas texture. Several paintings that were in storage, that were painted 1-2 years ago, were peeling from that surface.

As for priming - I sand the surface, apply a coat of gesso one direction, let dry, light sand surface of gesso, apply 2nd cost of gesso other direction, let dry, lightly sand gesso surface again. Sometimes a 3rd coat depending on how the first 2 look. With paper, I gesso both sides to prevent seeping and buckling.

Hope that's some more useful info! Any comments on my methods very welcome... I'm still learning too. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif
Tina.


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http://www.tina-m.com

Michael2
03-11-2001, 04:00 PM
on the topic of cheap versus expensive pre-stretched canvases:

There is a noticeable quality difference between the real cheap ones versus Fredrix. The cheap ones have uneven surfaces and cheaper strethcher bars. They seem just a little crooked. You can still paint on the crooked ones.

I recommend Utrecht if there is one near you. They sell their own brand of pre-stretehed canvases that seem to be just as good as Fredrix.

I don't see myself stretching my own. Seems like a waste of time when I can buy ready made ones. There's little enough time as is.

kayemme
03-11-2001, 07:30 PM
for value's sake, i suggest just making your own.

get some 1x3s... some sort of material (get funky, use anything) cover it with a gesso (i always do 3 layers minimum.. sometimes more.. gesso > dry > sand > gesso > dry > sand > gesso > dry > sand > paint)

for now anyway, with the gesso backing your work will last at least through the lifetime of your grandkids..

don't worry so much about it. in time you'll find what you like. but you should stretch your own - it's cheaper and better. (don't you just hate side staples?)

k

kayemme
03-11-2001, 07:32 PM
michael,

i really enjoy stretching canvas. it's a big part of the total whole.

for me, it's a very meditative process. it makes me feel connected with the work on a deeper level. when it is complete, i know that its very existence is nothing short of my craftsmanship. it is above standard.

k

Michael2
03-12-2001, 12:49 AM
The making of canvases still seems to me to be best left to factories with low paid workers doing the boring work. My time is better spent learning how to paint better.

colinbarclay
03-12-2001, 03:57 AM
Hmmm .. The crappiest prestretched canvas is like 50 bucks fer a 36x48 isnt it ?
An 80" yard of same kind of cotton is like 10 bucks, same stretchers is another 5 bucks, prime is negligeable and time is say 2 hours on the way outside .
You could do 3 canvases for the same price assuming yer time is worth say 10 bucks an hour .

Michael2
03-12-2001, 11:23 AM
Originally posted by colinbarclay:
You could do 3 canvases for the same price assuming yer time is worth say 10 bucks an hour .

Actually, my time is worth considerably more than $10 an hour.

kayemme
03-13-2001, 02:48 AM
well, i hope you at least buy the expensive canvases that don't have the stupid staples on the side.

nothing is more tacky and unprofessional...

another reason why i like to stretch my own is because i like to stretch them over heavier bars (2x2 minimum) so the project from the wall a bit more.

it doesn't take me that long to do it, and since i enjoy it and it makes me look more professional in the long run, it's worth it to me.

professionalism is never a waste of time.

k

timelady
03-13-2001, 08:18 AM
Originally posted by Michael:

There is a noticeable quality difference between the real cheap ones versus Fredrix. The cheap ones have uneven surfaces and cheaper strethcher bars. They seem just a little crooked. You can still paint on the crooked ones.

I recommend Utrecht if there is one near you. They sell their own brand of pre-stretehed canvases that seem to be just as good as Fredrix.


Just in case you're replying to me - I don't use stretched Fredrix on wooden stretchers. I use the pads - these are pre-primed pads of canvas (not paper) each about 10-12 sheets. In sizes from really wee to 18"x24" (there's a bigger pad thatn that but can't remember the actual size) I hate hate hate stretched canvas and need a solid board backing, so I find these sheets the best solution. (I actually put a palette knife through a stretched canvas once trying to scrape back to the gesso, heehee)

I also don't want to stretch my own (when I do stretch them or buy them that way). I don't have the time - between painting, printmaking, accounting, marketing, shipping & packing... and a real life stuck somewhere in between... nope. Don't have a spare 2 hours around. And my time is also worth more than $10 an hour! (I hope)

Some people like it, others don't. Paul, you need to test a few different options and see which you enjoy the most. Like others have said, some painters find stretching canvas to be very much a part of the enjoyment! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/smile.gif

Tina.


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http://www.tina-m.com

paintfool
03-13-2001, 09:35 AM
Originally posted by kayemme:
(don't you just hate side staples?)k
Yeah, i really do! Some of my paintings look pretty good unframed, providing that i've painted the sides. Naturaly i would prefer the staples to be on the back. This is another reason why i'm going to start stretching my own.
Cheryl



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paintfool

Dobie
01-11-2004, 11:26 AM
I too bought the 16x20 two pack ($5.00 i think). I did not think there could be that much diiference between the more expensive canvas until I was half way through a painting. I was using a mahl stick and at one point it slipped off the wood frame and onto the canvas and it tore right through the canvas. A good 3" rip. I wasn't even using thet much pressure. I now buy a roll and 1x2's and make my own. PS an electric stapler is much easier on the hands.

I have a question for others though...i noticed that linen is VERY expensive. why is that?

artbabe21
01-11-2004, 01:16 PM
Cheryl...stretching your own canvases is quite easy with a proper pliers for this...and yep, it sure helps to be able to reuse those old stretcher bars!! :)

My concern with those value packs has been the wood, that in some cheaper brands they use inferior wood & I've seen lots of twisted wood stretchers.

I use canvas adhered to wood panels & it IS so inexpensive & I now prefer a harder surface! :D

Good luck Paul! Just do it!

Eisenhower
01-11-2004, 02:03 PM
[QUOTE=Leopoldo]I don't think it makes any difference. Heck you could paint on a bedsheet if it was protected adequately.

Leo,

I was wondering if I could purchase canvas and linen at the local fabric supply so I guess your statement answers my question. Why do they sell such exspensive canvas and linen on rolls though-over $600 bucks! What do they do to it to justify a cost like that?

Also, when it comes to stretcher bars do I 'have to' go with the premade bars or can I just get 4 peices of wood and nail and glue? Do I have to have those special edges? DId they have special edges in Monet's days? Just curious...

Thanks
Kelly from The Leopoldo Fan Club :cool:

stagfoot
01-11-2004, 07:29 PM
I'm going to be purchasing the materials to stretch my own canvases soon. I haven't done it before so i'm sure i have a few things to learn. One question comes to mind at this time though. I have many many old canvases. Can i rip the canvas off and use the stretcher bars? I can't think of any reason why i shouldn't be able to but thought i'd ask.
Thanks
Cheryl

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paintfool

There's nothing wrong with doing this, I do it all the time.