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Do you prefer painting on stretched canvas or panels?


(Jean McLean) #21

I use a tonal under coat of Gamblin’s FastMatte. I usually have a number of these done up in advance of a painting session. When I go out to paint I pick the board I want based on the color of the undercoat. I have had no problems with the slick surface of Gessobord since I’ve been doing that.


(Vana Meyers) #23

Hi Shelley,
Thank you for the tip about the panelli panels. I use Ampersand Gessobord but would love to try these. They seem reasonably priced too.


(Shelley Breton) #24

You’re welcome! Let me know what you think. I love your “Ruffles and Seashells” piece! Children on the beach is my favorite theme. :blush:


(Marjie Laizure) #25

I prefer a hard surface, but I also want some grab. With the Ampersand boards, synthetic brushes seem best, but with a textured surface, I like bristle brushes. I’m currently going back and forth, and I should also add that I’m a little cheap. What I think I would like is gator board with linen laminated onto it, or hardboard with linen. I’m not sure how laborious it would be to DIY. Does anyone have experience with that?


(Gary Westlake) #26

I use boards but you do not necessarily have to commit to permanent mounting before painting. Here is a video by Richard Robinson showing how to temporarily stretch canvas to paint on it. This could also assist with shipping by allowing you to ship rolled in a tube.

I usually purchase small boards like gessobord adding a layer of gesso if they are too slick. For slightly larger boards I make my own with hardboard sealed both sides with GAC100 then layers of gesso. For even larger, I cradle the hardboard using 3/4 inch plywood cut into 5/8 inch strips turned on their end and mitred around the edge of the back of the board.


(Marjie Laizure) #27

Thanks for sharing that! I’m inspired to make a run to Home Depot and to order a roll of canvas :wink:


(Jacqueline Davis) #28

Thanks so much for attaching the video about stretching canvas Gary. Brilliant. I’ve been wondering about how to stretch canvas for shipping paintings in a tube. The only thing is, he doesn’t say how much space to allow along the edges if the painting will be mounted onto stretcher bars. But I guess that shouldn’t be too hard to work out.


(Gary Westlake) #29

It looks to me like he used about 1.25 inches all around a 16 x 16" canvas. I think this should probably be considered a minimum. If you planned to use thicker gallery wrap stretcher, you would probably need more. If you are unsure how much to allow, I would just get a cheap canvas from Michaels, take the canvas off and try it out first. You will need canvas stretcher pliers and a staple gun with rust resistant staples.

Here is info on stretching.

You can also glue your “keepers” onto a board.

The following involve heat-activated glues, which I assume would have to be used prior to painting. I cannot imagine ironing a painting.




(Jacqueline Davis) #30

Hi Gary thanks, yes I was thinking the same thing. The guy seemed to leave a bare minimum of extra canvas around the edges. I’d think you’d need at least a couple more inches than that, in which case you would need to have some fairly big boards to tape the canvas to (depending on the size of the painting). But I like that you can keep the canvas really flat throughout the process and not have to crease the edges by stretching over bars for painting.
I think this method would be most useful for mailing larger paintings, since mailing smaller paintings is straightforward enough.
It’s a useful process to keep in mind for large commissioned work that does need to be mailed. If I was selling locally though I’d stick to painting on boards or pre-stretched canvas.

Thanks for all the info.


(Rebecca Helton) #31

Another question - for those of you who make canvas/linen panels, what kind of board do you use, and do you seal it first? If so, what do you use to seal it? Thanks!


(Sunny Avocado) #32

I like having more time for painting, so I buy mine. They are pretty low cost.


(Charlotte Fitzgerald) #33

Rolling an acrylic painting for shipping should be fine, but with oil you risk having it crack.


(Joseph Mahon) #34

The type of boards used are hardboard, MDF, HDF, plywood, cardboard. Many artists seal the boards with 2 coats of Golden GAC 100 before the glue/acrylic gel and the canvas on top. Others use acrylic matte medium, then the glue/ gel and canvas. The glue is archival or the acrylic gloss gel medium from eg. Liquitex will do the job. The back and sides of the panel once covered with the canvas need to sealed as well. Matte medium, gesso can be used here. They videos posted by Gary above give most of the details and variations.


(Gary Westlake) #35

I have discovered the hard way (luckily with boards that were still with me) that if you do not seal the back of the board, it can warp at various times of year due to humidity. This is very noticable with larger boards. I personally think it looks better if the back is sealed with clear gesso or GAC100 rather than coloured gesso. I have used shellac to seal boards as well but I find GAC100 easier to use.

I am also curious how you would store while drying and before stretching a canvas that was painted while it was taped to a board. Would you have to leave it on the board for a few weeks or longer? BTW I saw a photo of Richard Schmid and it looked like he was paintting on a canvas taped to a board.

There is no issue for smaller paintings because it is easier to use boards, covered or not with linen or canvas and gesso. The reason, i am thinking about and researching this is that I would like to do more larger works but the ones I have already done cause a storrage problem in my small studio. Once you get to larger than 9 x 12 inches, the boards probably should be cradled and things start getting heavy and bulky.


(Joe Wojdakowski) #36

You can also save some money and just seal and prime the panel. If you like the texture of canvas or linen A really cool way to prepare the panel is use a brush for the first coat or 2 then use a roller for the rest. It gives sort of a orange peel texture that make the paint easier to work with and obtain softer edges if wanted. For some reason it seems to work better on hardboard then the birch panels. Maybe birch just need more coats.


(Anne Wood) #37

Thanks Joe. I may try this method.


(Devin Googe) #38

I may be wrong, but the majority of the canvas board that is available pre-made uses cardboard, or some other cheap material, so I would say stretched canvas is probably a bit higher in quality. I often read http://fixthephoto.com/ to be aware of such interesting things.


(Bobbie Cook) #39

I love this idea! I ended up with a tube of FastMatte last year and didn’t know what to do with it. This may eliminate some of the glare outside. I will be trying this, thank you for the idea.


(Fritz Jooste) #40

Hi Gary.
I know this is an old topic but for the benefit of others looking at this thread, I started using the method of painting on loose canvas taped to a board, as you suggest. For years I was frustrated about my paintings on stretched canvas or board standing around, getting dust and cobwebs on them etc. it was also somewhat depressing!

This method of work solved my problem. When I am done I leave the painting on the board for a few weeks to dry. I then remove it and store all my paintings flat, in boxes, as one would do with watercolors. They take up almost no space and the paintings can stay safe for years.

When something sells I mount it on board, varnish with Gamvar and send off. I use MDF (3mm for 8"x10" and 4.74 thick for 11"x14"; anything larger I ship as rolled canvas in tubes).

Mounting a finished painting is a bit nerve-wrecking but with practice it becomes easier. I use Acrylic Gell to adhere the canvas to the board and smooth it with a brayer. Be sure to keep the workplace clean etc. so nothing gets onto that (sold) painting! There are plenty of YouTube videos on this topic.

I hope that is helpful for someone out there!


(Tom Mather) #41

This is an old thread but still very helpful. I paint a lot on panels as well as canvases and like both surfaces.

I use panels mostly for smaller paintings, up to 8x10. They are great for plein air painting because it’s easy to carry a supply of them and transport afterwards. I use archival grade panels, RayMar or Pintura. RayMar also sells some great panel carriers that are inexpensive, durable and light weight. I personally don’t like painting on panels with smooth or slick surfaces, and prefer RayMar and Pintura because they’re covered with canvases. Smooth panels are OK if using soft brushes but most of mine are stiffer bristles that work better on canvas.

I use canvases mostly for paintings 8x10 and larger. Canvas has a different feel with more give, but it’s something you get used to. One huge advantage of canvases is that you don’t have to frame them, particularly if you use gallery wrap ones. That is all that I buy anymore because frames are expensive and potential buyers might not like your choice.

I display many of my completed panel paintings on small easels, but sometimes put them in frames.