Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Building a Canvas Part II

The frame complete, I stretched my canvas. It is important to not stretch it very tightly, like one would normally do when working with pre-primed material. This is because the glue size, when applied, will take up the slack and tighten the canvas significantly.

I used copper tacks on this frame, nailed into the backside.

Next I heated up some rabbit-skin glue I had prepared in advance. Instead of using a hot pot, this time I tried heating up the glue by soaking the jar in a sink full of hot water. Someone recommended trying this method as the gentlest way to prepare size. Heat gradually weakens the strength of rabbit-skin glue over time, and overheating it can destroy it altogether. So this should provide a stronger glue and reduce the chance of accidentally weakening it. I didn't know going in how well this would work, but after about ten minutes in the sink, the glue turned liquid like it was supposed to.

I applied two coats of size. I made sure that the coats were complete and deeply penetrated the weave of the canvas. The next day, I could start the oil priming.

For this project I'm trying out the lead oil ground from Williamsburg Artist Materials. It comes premixed, so it just needs to be thinned before it can be applied. Its better to apply a few very light coats rather than one large one. The proper consistency is like a light cream.

I applied two coats in all. Then I looked over the whole canvas for missed areas, and reapplied more primer until I was satisfied I had good coverage.

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