Sunday, March 31, 2013

Putting Canvas on Board

Just a week left before our journey to Algonquin for early spring painting.  I enjoy taking boards and canvas on board on these ventures.  They are light, compact, and sturdy.  I make my own.  This trip will see 6x8, 8x10, 11x14, 12x16, and 16x20 along with a few stretched canvases in 12x20 etc.  I expect to work most on 12x16 and 16x20 with a few 8x10s in honour of Tom Thomson.  We will be along the Oxtongue River where he painted Northern River (sketch for).

Here is what I do to make my boards.  First, I cut hardboard or Baltic Birch to the sizes I wish.  Next, I cut canvas (primed from a roll)  or linen to the same sizes but about one half inch oversize on both dimensions.  Then I apply zero ph glue to the board.

Board, Glue, Roller, Plastic Trowel In Water

After you do some of these you figure out how much glue to use.  With the hardboard this application worked with the trowel.

Glue Spread Out

Canvas Rolled On

It is important to roll the canvas to eliminate air bubbles.  Primed side up.  This particular canvas is cotton from the local art source.  I prefer oil primed linen and use it on the larger boards.

Weighted Boards

I flip the boards canvas side down and then apply a heavy weight to keep them flat.  Here I used granite.

Trim Operation

Next day after a walk but before I squeeze out I trim the canvas to size.  If there happens to be an unglued corner etc. I apply some glue and put a clothes peg on the repair.  To this stage the cost of a 12x16 canvas on board is about $0.75 whereas linen would be more than double or triple that.

After this I apply an oil ground to my preferred smoothness.  I have tried quite a number of oil grounds.  My favourite is lead white but I also enjoy, Gamblin Oil ground and flake white replacement.  For me this final stage is quite messy so I go at these in batches.  Then I wait before going out to paint.  At least a week.  More is better.

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