Preparing Your Canvas: Part 1, Oils
Mine Fire (2005) Unstretched. Oil on Raw Canvas. This was an experiment I did years ago to test the effect of oils on raw canvas. After eight years the paint has faded considerably and the canvas itself is badly deteriorated. The paint I used was linseed oil based.
Some years ago there was an art gallery in Vernon B.C. called the “Fugitive Art Gallery.” The gallery hosted mainly artists who were not overly concerned with the permanency of their art, this made it a very interesting art gallery. The paintings would crack, colours would fade and the canvases would rot over time. True to it’s name, the Fugitive gallery itself did not last – as interesting as it was.
When deliberate, non-permanency can be an interesting subject – everything changes and fades over time, nothing is really permanent but the art should at least outlive the artist. A large part of this is selecting the appropriate surface and correctly preparing it. For example, oil paintings require a durable surface protected from the damaging contents of oils and solvents. Canvas is fine but it must be protected by a ground of some type (usually gesso), I find that the primed canvases available in most art stores are not sufficiently protected to seal the canvas from the oil over the long term, this is especially true when the paint has been heavily diluted with additional oils. If insufficiently protected the canvas will eventually rot so I recommend at least one or two additional coats of gesso to protect the canvases you buy in art stores.
26 x 32 Oil on Primed Canvas
Back of “Mine Fire,” painted in 2005. This was an experiment I did years ago to test the effect of oils on raw (unprimed) canvas over time. Eight years later the result is deterioration of the canvas, this will eventually cause the destruction of the painting.