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Preparing Your Canvas: Part 2, Acrylics

22 x 30 Acrylic on Raw Canvas. This painting is an example of the flexibility of acrylic paint on raw (unprimed)canvas. Even though the painting is old it is showing no signs of decay.

22 x 30 Acrylic on Raw Canvas. This painting is an example of the flexibility of acrylic paint on raw (unprimed)canvas. Even though the painting is old it is showing no signs of decay.

 

Acrylic paintings much less fragile than oil paintings. Acrylics are basically plastics, so using them on a canvas is like sealing that surface with plastic and can actually add to the longevity of the surface. For this reason it’s perfectly possible to use acrylics on raw canvas or other textiles without them negatively impacting the substrate. Gesso will still increase the life span of the painting but the acrylics will not eat away at the support like oils or solvents do. Additionally, many acrylics now come with a UV protective agent which helps to protect the painting from the harmful effects of the sun.

22 x 30 Acrylic and Gesso on Raw Canvas. In this example the background blues are painted on raw canvas, the black is a coloured gesso which gives an additional dimension to the painting.

22 x 30 Acrylic and Gesso on Raw Canvas. In this example the background blues are painted on raw canvas, the black is a coloured gesso which gives an additional dimension to the painting.

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Preparing Your Canvas: Part 1, Oils

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.

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

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.

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.

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New Website

As it stands the gallery in this website is much smaller than it could have been. I entrusted photographic copies of my work to an external hard drive which recently died leaving me with only very few photos of paintings which have sold. Had these works been included, the gallery section of this website would be at least double the size but as it is I have no way to get them back (so much for the archival quality of digital media). This inconvenient reality means that I actually have to pick up the brush and start painting again.

The work that you see in this website’s gallery has two sources, first is the work that I kept because it was significant to me in some way, second is work that simply hasn’t sold in art galleries (I think 5 of the paintings in the gallery are sold). In a way it’s fortunate, it has severed me from my artistic past and fixed me firmly upon the future. All my past work is consumed in digital fire and a new body of work, built on the old foundation has now become possible. Misfortune is a golden opportunity.

11 x 14 Acrylic on Raw Canvas

“Pins and Needles” 11 x 14 Acrylic on Raw Canvas