07 August 2013

Cut Costs by Painting on Unstretched Canvas

As I said last post, I'm painting from life as often as I can.  Since I'm mostly figurative, that means painting people.  My daughter Amanda models for me, and I also go to weekly open studios. To reduce costs, I started painting on unstretched canvas.  It's about 1/3 the price of same-size commercial linen board. The panel for Amanda (below) cost $2.50.  Tape it to a board, paint on it...once it's dry, stack it with the others.  If I want to keep a painting around, I can always mount it to a board.

Of course, buying your canvas in bulk is key.   Amanda (below) was painted on Claessen's 15DP linen, which is actually one of the less expensive of the quality linens.  If you're in the States, Utrecht seems to have some of the best sale prices.   And if you aren't sure which support type you want, order the linen swatchbook from Blick and try painting on the samples.

Aesthetic note:  15DP is rougher than portrait linen, like Claessen's 13, which is what Ginger (at bottom) was painted on.  Note the textural differences between the 2 sketches.  The 15DP adds character to the brush strokes, as you can see from the close-up, but you can still pull a clean hard edge, if you wish.

Amanda, 11x14" oil on Claessens 15DP linen

Amanda (detail), 3x4"...pebbly surface; notice the red hair strokes.

Ginger 8x10", oil on Claessen's 13 linen


  1. thanks for the tips. Beautiful portraits...love them both. :)

    1. Thanks, as always for your support, Celeste.