Preparing Canvases

The purpose of this post is to aquaint you with my working process

I build my own canvases, put 2-3 coats of acrylic primer, then an undercoat of turpsy red ( eg. burnt siena). Then I start the painting, laying out something of the scene I have in mind. I use a brush, then a palette knife, adding solvent or oil as required. Generally a painting grows as I work on it, my mind bringing in the colours, shapes and palette knife impressions.

I prepare my own canvases; the top left picture shows the stretcher bars and my first four assembled. I cut my 12oz cotton duck to size with a good fold over on each size, then I start with a staple in the mid bar on one side. I turn the whole through 180 deg. stretch the canvas and then staple in the middle of the opposite side, I then turn through 90 deg, stretch and staple the middle. Turn 180 deg. and staple the middle.  Next stretching as I go I staple along the sides leaving the corners free. I cut across the corners an inch out, fold one side in and then fold the other side of the corners see bottom left.. Next I put hte canvas flat down and paint acrylic / gesso on the back and sides. Turn it over using a cork cut into 4 to balance the underside and paint the flat side. This will take up to 12 hours to dry. I then pint the whole again.  2 coats are generally sufficient but you can use 3. Lastly I rub a base colour on the canvas – I like burnt sienna or brown madder plus white spirit (odourless).