More About Artists Canvas - A Final WordTuesday, August 17, 2010
|Photo courtesy of patrizia_ferri|
Using canvas keys to take the sag out of a painting risks damaging the painting. It is possible to accidentally hammer the back of the painting if the keys are missed, breaking the paint. Using keys puts a great deal of stress on the corners of a painting which can eventually tear the canvas. The keys will invariably change the shape of the stretcher and it will no longer be square and the painting may no longer fit into it's frame, if it had one.
Skip the dodgy canvas keys. Traditional, but not very smart. Take the canvas off the stretcher altogether and re-stretch it!
This video explains the same information in visual form:
Bracing a Stretched Canvas
Traditional Stretched Canvas
Gallery Wrapped Canvas
Artists love gallery wrapped canvas as their artworks are ready to hang as soon as the varnish is dry. Many art collectors prefer it too as it allows them to skip the often substantial costs of framing. Anecdotally, gallery wrapped canvasses nearly put many framers out of business when it first came out as so many people suddenly didn't require their services. Though if you prefer your art in a frame, as some do, gallery wrapped canvas can be framed if you want.
Depending on your point of view, unstretched canvas is either fabulous or awful to paint on. It has a very different working feel to the drum-like bounce of a stretched canvas. To me it's wonderful and predictable. The give in the surface of a stretched canvas is something I find disconcerting. Different artists, different preferences. I guess it's like working on fabric textured board or paper.
For the artist there are some significant advantages to working on canvas unstretched. There are time savings as no pre-stretching is required. There are financial savings as no stretchers need to be bought. There are space savings as unused canvas can be stored rolled and once painted, can be stacked flat. Believe me, plain canvas takes up a LOT less room than a stack of stretched canvasses. And lastly, unstretched canvas is cheaper to post for a buyer as it weighs less.
For the art collector, unstretched canvas can be presented in a number of already familiar ways. It can be lightly stretched onto stretchers/strainers and ends up looking just like regular stretched canvas. Or it can be framed just like any paper artwork. For extra rigidity, it can be mounted (glued) to board before framing. All very normal procedures for your framer.
The only downside to unstretched canvas that I can see is that someone needs to frame it.