Types of Canvas for Painting - An Artists Guide

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There are many different types of canvas for painting. Canvas material is usually either made of cotton or linen; both varieties have different characteristics which will be explored in this article. Additionally, canvas supports come ready for painting in various types including stretched canvas, canvas rolls and canvas boards - which are also known as panels.

The Difference between Cotton and Linen Canvas for Art
When choosing between cotton and linen canvas for art, the needs of the artist should be the primary criterion. Though cotton canvas is the product that comes to mind when you think of art canvas, if strength and reliability are what you desire, then linen canvas would be the right option.

Distinct Features of Cotton and Linen Canvases
Artists canvas made from Cotton features weak and short fibers that aren't quite as strong as linen when woven into thread and then into canvas. Linen's stronger and longer fibers hold together well when woven, making it more long lasting than cotton canvas. The texture and durability that linen provides is what make professional artists seek this. Some believe a well-made cotton canvas would last for a similar period of time as a linen canvas. Linen though, is still better for heavy impasto. Medium or heavy linen should be the right choice.

The Affordability Factor
Linen canvas for art is more costly than cotton canvas, mainly because it is made of more expensive material, and is more durable. Belgian linen is the most popular for artists among the different verities of linen canvases. Cotton canvas for art is easier to use and comes in either a smooth or a more distinct texture. Depending on the type of painting you want to create, you can select different textures of art canvas. The very cheapest canvases are sometimes made with blended materials that contain cotton plus a synthetic fiber.

Once you have decided on the correct material there are three main types of blank canvas to choose from; stretched canvas, canvas boards and canvas rolls; their advantages and disadvantages are explained below.

Stretched Canvas
Stretched canvas is the professional and high-end version of artists canvas and is the most expensive and convenient of the three options. Stretched canvases are mounted on stretcher bars which typically provide a 19mm or 38mm canvas covered edge which can be painted, this is beneficial as a painting on a stretched canvas can displayed on a wall with or without being framed. Stretched canvas varieties are available in many shapes and sizes depending on the kind of painting you wish to create. Some of the popular kinds include the cotton canvas varieties of the traditional profile and the deep profile, and the decorative and miniature canvas. Polyflax and primed linen are some of the other materials used in stretched canvas. It's important to note that colors have different effects on different textures.

Canvas Boards
Canvas boards or panels are cheap versions of the stretched type of artist's canvas. They are generally made of heavy duty card panels to which the canvas surface is glued. The pulp board is a still cheaper alternative, featuring either a gesso textured surface or an embossed pattern. You can paint with oil as well as acrylic paints on these canvas boards. Pre-stretched canvas panels are usually covered in a cotton duck canvas surface. Due to canvas boards being only a few millimeters thick, all paintings painted on canvas boards require being framed - adding an extra cost - if they are going to be displayed on a wall.

Canvas Rolls
Canvas generally comes in rolls of 5 & 10m in length and 1 to 1.6m wide. Such canvas can be comprised of primed or un-primed cotton, Polyflax or linen. A sheet of canvas can be cut to size from the roll and once the painting is finished it can be mounted on stretcher bars. This can often work out to be the cheapest option; however, it is often considered to be less convenient, more time-consuming and requiring the relevant skills and tools are necessary to construct the final product.

The author of this article is an artist who commonly paints on canvas with acrylic and oil paints. If you are considering buying any type of canvas to create your art on then follow this link to buy Blank Canvas at great prices.

 

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