20 x 16
I got another shipment of linen this week: this time I went for the #13 double primed Claessens. It's lovely and smooth and takes the paint in a totally different way than gesso. But, still, there are a few tiny pinholes of light when I hold it up to the light. Fewer and much smaller than the single primed linen, but still there.
This time, I emailed Claessens about it. While one faulty batch seemed reasonable, I doubted that such a reputable company would have lots of them out there.
I got this encouraging reply from the company:
"Pinholes are a common "problem", it all depends on some technical elements. We are aware that this does not look nice. You will probably have seen on our site that all of our canvases are glued before the coatings are applied. This glue is applied for some reasons, one is to protect the linen fabric from the paint used; both our coatings and your paints. The pinholes are just in the coatings not in the glue. If the glue is not well applied it would show on the back and paint would pass through. I suppose this is not the case.
The pinholes will not influence the fact the painting is archival or not. From our experience paint has not a large influence on the canvas in the long run, the biggest treads are the fact paintings are kept in bad conditions: humidity, dust and so on. If a painting is kept in good conditions then we do not expect problems in the future. Can I refer in this context to the efforts museums and galleries do to keep humidity and airflow controlled.
If you are also looking to have an as smooth surface as possible you can eventually decide to add an additional layer, this will brightened at the same time the canvas and cover the remaining pinholes."
I quickly ran out to the studio to examine the back of a painting - no paint had come through! All is well and I can now use my linen in peace. I'm a worrier about the archival potential of my work and so this sort of issue can, literally, keep me up at night.
In light of this information, I've removed the earlier blog about the linen pinhole problems.