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skylinepdx
11-16-2005, 06:20 PM
I have searched this forum and others for information on applying canvas or linen to panels. I am especially interested in applying natural linen, and priming it with something transparent, so that the tone and texture of the linen can become the ground for the painting. Any ideas or suggestions for resources.
Many thanks
Catherine

Marc Hanson
11-16-2005, 08:30 PM
There are some threads on this topic, but I will give you a couple of ways to do this. There are a number of methods one can use.

1-Rabbit skin glue flakes or granules soaked and then dissolved in a warm water double boiler (comes with directions) can be used to adhere the canvas to the board. When it's dry apply more to 'size' the canvas.

2-The same process can be done with PVA size, a synthetic replacement for Rabbit skin glue. This comes in a liquid state, no need for the double boiler.

3-Some people use Acrylic medium to do the same thing.

Any archival grade glue will work to glue it down. Then to prepare the surface for painting on I like a product made by Liquitex. It's called 'Clear Gesso'. It's not 'gesso', it's a clear acrylic medium with some grit, pumice I believe, in it for tooth. It's very clear and would provide an extra tooth. Otherwise one of the other methods will do the trick.

All of these products can be found in a good art supply store or a well stocked catalog source.

JanB
11-16-2005, 09:44 PM
Thanks for asking that question Catherine. I've been thinking the same thing about using the linen's color to show through a bit here and there. And thank you Marc for that informative answer. I have panels, a bucket of sizing, and acrylic medium, however the "clear gesso" sounds interesting. Now if I could just afford a roll of linen :rolleyes:

skylinepdx
11-16-2005, 09:56 PM
Thanks, Marc, for just the information I was seeking. I had seen a reference to "clear gesso' but appreciate the brand name and information. Sounds like an interesting product - transparent but not slick.
I've enjoyed seeing your paintings of SE Minnesota. I grew up there, and my great-great grandfather claimed to have introduced the cultivation of flax to the area - hence some of my interest in linen.
Thanks again,
Catherine

Marc Hanson
11-16-2005, 10:13 PM
Where in SEMN did you grow up Catherine?
You have Daniel Smith out there. They carry all the products I mentioned and probably would be a good resource for information too.

vhere
11-17-2005, 01:07 PM
I use matte acrylic varnish to seal it - I use it with stretchers but the principle is the same.

I staple the canvas/linen on the back on the (rare) occasions I've stretched it over boards

D J Lanzendorfer
12-27-2005, 11:18 PM
I do it quite often so I will add my 2 cents worth. I use double tempered Masonite cut to size. I cut the canvas or linen oversized by about and inch. I paint archival glue on the Masonite, rather thickish, I lay the canvas down and roll it with a pastry roller starting at the center and working out. When it drys, I trim the edges and apply three coats of gesso. I have done a lot of them this way, it is easy.

Happy Painting, DJ Lanzendorfer

midcoast
12-29-2005, 11:15 AM
Marc (or anyone else who knows)...

1) is it Ok archivally to paint directly on top of linen sized with 2-3 coats of rabbitskin glue (leaving out the priming step)? I was pondering this last week as I have some leftover RSG from framing.

2) Is it OK to stretch linen, apply rabbitskin glue, then "prime" with a couple of coats of Acrylic "gesso"?? Do the RSG acrylic gesso work OK together?? I don't like any of the oil primers out there - I don't like the way they "feel" when I paint, but I like painting on acrylic gesso. (I ws thinking of using RSG to make the linen or canvas super-taut).


Nancy

Marc Hanson
12-29-2005, 11:55 AM
Marc (or anyone else who knows)...

1) is it Ok archivally to paint directly on top of linen sized with 2-3 coats of rabbitskin glue (leaving out the priming step)? I was pondering this last week as I have some leftover RSG from framing.

2) Is it OK to stretch linen, apply rabbitskin glue, then "prime" with a couple of coats of Acrylic "gesso"?? Do the RSG acrylic gesso work OK together?? I don't like any of the oil primers out there - I don't like the way they "feel" when I paint, but I like painting on acrylic gesso. (I ws thinking of using RSG to make the linen or canvas super-taut).


Nancy
Lot's of painters paint on the linen with just the sizing. As far as I've heard it's OK, but over time the paint will loose some brilliance as it becomes more transparent. The white primer is partly what adds brilliance through the paint by reflectance. That's probably not before you've been re-incarnated a few times, but just wanted to let you know!:D

I don't think that Acrylic Primer on RSG is normal, but I've never heard of anyone wanting to do it. The RSG is only there to isolate the oils from the oil primer, and to tighten the canvas. I'd use acrylic PVA size (thinned white glue), or just apply the primer straight on the raw canvas.

Here's the trouble with doing this. As soon as the water based primer hits the RSG it's going to re-wet and expand. Your tightening will quickly go limp and I imagine it would be hard to even get the acrylic primer to take with out mixing into the glue.

This is why a RSG sized canvas goes limp when taken outside in humid conditions. RSG is 'hygroscopic' absorbing any atmospheric moisture.

midcoast
12-29-2005, 12:13 PM
Thanks Marc - you're a FONT of information :)

Nancy

D J Lanzendorfer
12-29-2005, 12:25 PM
All the canvas I buy is pre primed but if you want to prime raw linen, there are lots better products than rabbit skin glue. I would suggest going to Robert Gamblin's site for answers to priming questions and most anything we run into as artists. Gamblin is a genius when it comes to paints and aplications and is forthcoming about it on his site, you can clear up all kinds of questions there. I was having serious problems with final finish, he got me on track very nicely. Personally, I do not like to paint on rsg. Thus the pre primed or Gamblin has a primer. I use Utrect's professional grade of acrylic gesso on pre-primed canvas or linen. I buy pre-stretched linen because there is no way that I know of to get quality linen at an afordable price. The discount catalogs have primed Centurian LX linen at great prices. As far as texture or tooth or any pattern I want to paint on, I can get that with layers of gesso even extra smooth for portraits.
As for taunt, I always have to stretch them a little before framing unless they are real small paintings.

Happy Painting, DJ

D J Lanzendorfer
12-29-2005, 12:33 PM
My site is www.djlanzendorfer.com if you care to view my work

Marc Hanson
12-29-2005, 12:43 PM
All the canvas I buy is pre primed but if you want to prime raw linen, there are lots better products than rabbit skin glue.

Personally, I do not like to paint on rsg. Thus the pre primed or Gamblin has a primer. I use Utrect's professional grade of acrylic gesso on pre-primed canvas or linen. I buy pre-stretched linen because there is no way that I know of to get quality linen at an afordable price.

As for taunt, I always have to stretch them a little before framing unless they are real small paintings.

Happy Painting, DJ
If you're buying acrylic primed canvas then it's most likely not 'sized' with RSG, that's reserved for oil primers.

Now days many manufacturers are using PVA size (the same thing Gamblin sells for sizing, not hygroscopic and doesn't become brittle with time).

I garuantee that you're paying more for pre-stretched canvases than if you bought linen or canvas by the roll and strecthed them yourself. Some people just don't want to mess with that job, but it's not because they're saving money. They have to charge for the materials and labor in those products and that's reflected in higher cost.

For Linen at a good cost there are any number of stores, catalogs and online sources. Utrecht carries some very high quality linens for a good price, as does D. Smith, Windriver Arts, New Traditions, Jerry's, ASW, and many others.

It's not a good idea to use keys in stretcher strips. That's why I like to stretch my own. I can get it as tight as is reasonable Before painting on it. Once it's painted on, and the paint's dry you put undo tension on the paint film by 'keying' the corners too much. If the stretcher bars are properly braced, and you apply a good taught stretch initially, there is no reason for the canvas to loosen up unless RSG is the size. When it absorbs the atmospheric moisture it will loosen. BUT, when conditions are drier it will tightne back up. So if you re-tighten it by keying, when it gets back into those drier humid conditions you run the risk of either warping the stretchers, splitting or tearing the canvas, or even delaminating the primer.

D J Lanzendorfer
12-30-2005, 10:56 AM
Marc,

I am just sharing what works for me....maybe you missed the sale. I would much rather paint than stretch canvas.

Happy Painting, DJ

Marc Hanson
12-30-2005, 11:34 AM
Marc,

I am just sharing what works for me....maybe you missed the sale. I would much rather paint than stretch canvas.

Happy Painting, DJ
DJ, I apologize. I should have pointed out that I was just quoting your post to take the discussion further for those who are confused by all of this and looking for more info. You're absolutely correct, there are many options for whatever level we want to get into concerning materials.

The whole RSG/primer/stretched/not stretched topic is confusing for those who haven't been painting for as long as someone like you or me. So I just wanted to enlarge the information file for them.

I completely agree with you about RSG. And like you some people are just not going to want to go through the process of stretching their own canvas and should look for 'sales' to get the good prices.

But if someone does want to stretch their own, it really will save money and allow more choice in type and primer options than the available pre-stretched canvas on the market.

I'll tell you flat out that for me, and this is just my personal quirck, painting on an acrylic primed pre-stretched canvas is like finger nails on a black board. I'd rather paint on the best surface 'for me' than on something that I'm fighting all the way through the painting. To each his.her own.:)

By the way, I love Grass Valley!!! Lucky you to live there. I came from the Auburn/Penryn/Loomis area...somewhere inbetween in the sticks.

tk04
12-31-2005, 09:34 AM
Nancy, as for mixing sizing made by yourself, and store bought primers, I believe you should be a little careful with that - or at least you should know the risk, if you want to experiment.

When preparing canvas from raw fabric - it's a very important rule that lower layers must NOT contain more glue than layers over. In worse case, you will cause tension in the whole surface by braking this rule - or at least, it's not sound practise.

I don't know much about store bought primers, but if you don't know the amount of glue in the primer, or whatever it contains otherwise, it's difficult to adjust the sizing. It might not be that big a risk, but I wouldn't do it if the stability of the surface matters. Rather follow the recipes from the producers if you use store-bought primers.

I wouldn't mix RSG and PVA-based primers either if stability matters, but I can't give any substantiated reasons for it - just that RSG and PVA might have some different strength when drying.

Happy new year everybody.

D J Lanzendorfer
12-31-2005, 07:31 PM
Marc,
We all end up with what works for us and our individual style which develops right along with material preferences. I certainly hope those starting out will benefit from all this.
Personally, I love the pre primed gallery wrapped linen, I will never go the raw fabric route again. When I buy linen, I usually get at least 30 sometimes more if the sale is a good one, for me it is one less thing to think about for awhile. I get my paint the same way.

Happy Painting! DJ Lanzendorfer

Happy Painting, DJ

art4med
01-19-2006, 03:43 AM
RSG is indeed hydroscopic..... though I DO love the surface.

I just used some of the grit-embued "clear" gesso (finetooth) and it would serve to isolate the oils from the linen just fine. Applying RSG under it would make it easier to reline, but that is rare indeed!! No need IMHO.
As long as the fibers are isolated+ sealed, nothing else is req'd, this could be used to glue the linen as well in one step.

colinpage
01-19-2006, 12:15 PM
Hi everyone,

Does anyone know what the best material would be for a panel to stretch canvas over? When I was in college we used some kind of masonite, but I doubt it was archival (not that it mattered then, but it does matter to me now). And does anyone know of a panel material that might be lighter than masonite? One of the things I remember is how heavy those panels got once there was a pile of them. Oh, and one last thing, do any of you just gesso/prime the panel without stretching anything over it? Thanks for any help.

Colin