To say that materials for artists are expensive is to say nothing. It is very important to find affordable, high-quality materials for the upcoming work and often it takes a huge amount of time and testing for suitability, time tests, etc.
In this article I want to talk about canvases for painting and tell you what I use.
Ready-made primed canvases for painting, which are sold as in a roll at a price of 670 – 800 UAH per meter, are certainly very practical, but financially costly, the option of buying a ready-made primed canvas on a stretcher is even more expensive: time +, money -.
Me myself, I have long ago chosen the most optimal and cheapest option, this is to adjust a canvas on a stretcher myself and to cover with primer it accordingly.
I use a two-thread canvas, if you follow the rules for preparing a canvas, then everything will come out efficiently and on a budget. I bought a whole roll of double-thread from a specialized warehouse for the wholesale of industrial fabrics, so this stock will last me for a long time and this is a big savings. As for stretchers, I also buy them in an art store-warehouse, if necessary, for future use get them in different sizes . And I buy the soil of local urban production, which is not inferior in quality to imported ones. Volume 1L, 500 ml or 250 ml for example.
Life hack 1: instead of buying sizing for the first stage, I use gelatin (which can also be purchased on the market by weight).
Life hack 2: to reduce the consumption of soil, I mix it with medium liquid gelatin to the consistency of “sour cream”.
So I am sharing my process of preparing a canvas for painting:
Step 1: I adjust the double-thread canvas onto the stretcher, making uniform tension on all sides and fixing it with a stapler from the back.
Life hack 3. To make the canvas look aesthetically pleasing and have no non-native edges, I fold the canvas at the same length and then fix it with a staple.
Life hack 4. To prevent the canvas from tearing under the bracket and the tension to be more reliable, we drive the bracket not horizontally on a stretcher, but at the same 45 degree angle.
Life hack 5. In order for the corners to come out neat, we turn them: large under small, in order to streamline the folds and make them as flat as possible.
Step 2. Glue the canvas with a 7% gelatin solution, it is dense gelatin that I recommend for the first layer! This will help to fill in all the holes in the canvas as much as possible and prevent the next layers from penetrating to the wrong side.
Life hack 6. Never rub gelatin with your hands, from the heat it will melt and seep to the other side, subsequently the paint will show through to the wrong side. Therefore, we rub in gelatin: with a metal spatula, a wide knife, a palette knife, a plastic card or a rubber spatula.
Let it dry horizontally on a flat surface, without temperature drops! Requires natural drying: no hair dryer, battery, or direct sunlight! Wait for complete drying, applying a second layer of gelatin, this time it is already possible to have a more liquid consistency and wait for drying. Apply the third layer and, after drying, sand the unevenness with fine sandpaper.
Life hack 7. To check how well the canvas is covered now, place it opposite the sun and look for gaps: you need to make sure that the surrounding landscape does not have clear outlines (you can compare it with a piece of canvas before gluing).
Life hack 8. After the canvas has dried after 3 layers of gelatinous sizing – check the tension of the canvas – it should sound like a drum!
Step 3. Primer! I prefer to apply the primer with a wide brush or flute, so I can control the amount of primer applied and distribute it on the surface of the canvas more conveniently than with a palette knife.
It is advisable not to apply more than 1-2 times on one place, there is a danger that when pressing on the canvas with a brush, the soil will show through from the other side.
I recommend applying at least 2 coats of primer + 1 color coat.
Lifehack 9. It in advisable to apply gelatin and primer on the sides of the stretcher as well, since then we will paint the ends to match the main color of the work – it looks more aesthetically pleasing.