Monday, August 24, 2009

Painting Support

I love a very smooth surface when I paint because it allows me to make long, elegant marks and calligraphic details without the strokes breaking up on the canvas weave. I have no interest in the actual texture of a tree, it's the big picture stuff: the value, shape and placement of that tree that grabs me. If I use big brushes on a smooth support, I'm more likely to produce the big picture and avoid the tightness of strict representation.
My usual support is a canvas with 4 coats of gesso on it. If I've stretched the raw canvas myself, I put the first 2 layers on with a credit card (knew I'd need that Sears card for something) to ensure that there are no pinholes in the gesso which would allow the paint to rot the canvas over time. A credit card also makes the surface quite smooth but you have to watch out for the slight raised drag marks from the sides of the card. After the final coat, I lightly sand the surface and wipe off the gesso dust. The finish is luxuriously smooth and inviting.
After all that work though, it's really a drag if I blow the painting!

1 comment:

Erik said...

Interesting idea of the credit card, I'm going to try that. Also I've been painting on textured surfaces for a long time, going to give a smoother surface a try soon to see if I like it.