How To Choose A Canvas

Classes are in full swing now; Wednesdays 9.30am – 12.30pm with Steve and Friday 9.30am – 12.30pm & Saturday 1 – 4pm with me.

Wow what a surprise everyone rocked up, as well as a few new faces. I kind of expected that you guys would be just a bit out of routine with Christmas and all the festive stuff, but no, looks like you couldn’t wait to start again.

I always like to start the year with something to refresh your memory, talk about the basics, so everyone starts the year with good habits.

And where else to start than with canvasses. As you know they come in different sizes and quality. Obviously the price has something to do with that. So aim as high as your budget will allow you. Better tools and materials will help you to produce better works.

When we talk about canvasses we actually talk about the fabric you paint on. The most common are cotton duck canvas (cheaper) and linen canvas (more expensive and superior quality). The denser the weave the better the canvas. They also come with smooth, medium and coarse surface. So there you go, something to think about before you actually buy: what surface is suitable for your technique and subject matter? If you are using a palette knife you would be better using strong, thick, medium or coarse canvas. For fine painting with a brush, in illusionistic style, you may like to use a dense weave, and smooth surface canvas.

Canvasses can be stretched over the wooden frame ‘stretcher’, or they can be glued over a support, such as acid free board or wooden panel. Again, think what is better for your kind of work. For example for mixed media or collage you may prefer rigid support.

Yesterday I drove around and visited most of the art suppliers in Perth and the best stocked shops for canvasses where:

  • Oxlades Art Supplies, 49 Guthrie St, Osborne Park 6017 

  • Jacksons Drawing Supplies, 21 Adelaide St, Fremantle 6160

  • Jacksons Drawing Supplies, 96 Beaufort St, Northbridge 6003

Oil on linen, medium coarse canvas on stretcher. 230 x120cm (sold)

More about canvasses, their preparation and other painting surfaces next time.

Jana Vodesil-Baruffi