I’ve been working steady on my paintings and I haven’t finished any of the big projects I’ve been working on but I decided to post some of the smaller things that have been going through my head. The painting titled “Cathedral” was started in 2012 and then left to collect dust since then. As it was painted on raw canvas I was worried about its stability over time so one of the reasons I went back into it was to try to improve its longevity. When painting on raw canvas there are several issues that can become apparent over time, if the fabric isn’t washed before being painted on it will discolour over time due to chemicals in the fabric. And, if you use anything but distilled water on the canvas that can also cause issues with stability over time. The single biggest problem with raw canvas is that it’s very hard to clean and accumulates dust over time. So, in addition to reworking the painting I made an effort to improve its durability. I’ve been moving away from raw canvas lately but continue to use it in certain circumstances.
24 x 36 Acrylic on Raw Canvas
Detail of Cathedral Painting
The other painting in this post (the 18 x 24 untitled) is as durable as paintings can be. Stretched on washed and gessoed canvas, protected for support induced discolouration (SID) and then coated with two layers of a GAC-500 isolation medium and finally varnished with a UV resistant, removable polymer. Paintings done like this one are easy to clean and can last a very long time without changing at all.
18 x 24 Acrylic on Canvas
And here are a few others I’ve been working on lately, they’re not really related to the others. One is acrylic on paper, just a sketch. The others are on rigid supports because of the heavy impasto techniques used, they’re an experiment in “mixed media.”
16 x 20 Mixed media on hardboard
8 x 8 Mixed Media on Panel
Acrylic on Watercolour Paper
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.