Warning: This week, I’m going to nerd-tastically gab at you about my absolute favorite canvases, and some of the qualities I look for when I’m out in the world hunting these majestic beasts. In next week’s post, we’ll talk a little about the other formats I use, and why I might choose to deviate from my favored products.
Canvases are the backbone of my paintings. On a bad day, a painting can warp, paint doesn’t go on smoothly, and the artist feels glum while working.A good canvas is vital for the longevity of the artwork.
I believe we’re all familiar with the stretched canvas: a heavy cloth pulled taught across a wooden frame (made of stretcher bars). They’re accessible, and easy to hang (but more on that later).
I have to say, I have been called a snob. No matter what format I’m using, there are a few things that I absolutely insist on, because I want to make sure that my art is going to last, and look good once it’s hung up.
Square Corners: Every corner must measure 90*
Well stretched: I want to hear drumming while I’m painting! Loose canvas can be harder to work on, and cause problems when you bump into the support frame underneath.
Hidden bevels: nobody will ever see these, but it’s so important! There’s a bevel on the inside edge of the canvas that keeps you from bumping into it while you’re working. You get the stability of the wide bars without messing up your painting.
Gallery Wrap- the canvas material wraps around the edges and is stapled/adhered to the back. This is mostly for appearance, but makes a world of difference with unframed paintings.
acid Free- Over time, products that aren’t made to be acid free/ph balanced break down much faster than their archival counterparts. Yellowing and fading can be avoided!
The Good Stuff: Deep Profile Canvas
With deep profile canvases, the stretcher bars, or support frame, is deeper. They stand out from the wall about 1.5”.
The extra support means that the painting is much less likely to warp. While I’m less likely to throw a painting in the shower or hit it with a squirt gun than I was five years ago, it’s still nice to have that added security.
This is my “ready to hang” option, which doesn’t need to be framed to look pulled together. There’s something substantial about these canvases, and I feel like they hold their own without needing a frame. I always paint the edges to make sure things look clean and pulled together, and use a wire hanger (on medium and large paintings) across the back.
know some people do like to frame paintings. The deep edges make that a little harder to do with something store-bought, but they do however, fit nicely into shadow boxes. As long as there is some room between the painting and the glass, or the glass is removed, these can work out quite nicely.
Next week, we’ll talk about standard canvases, canvas boards, and wood panels. Lovely and riveting stuff, let me assure you!
Artful wishes. Stay curious, friends!
-- Aisling M.