Gallery Wrapped Stretched Canvas
Canvas – Duck canvas or linen, (unprimed)
Stretcher bars – Or 1” x 2” pine
Staples or tacks –To attach canvas to stretchers
Staple gun – Type found in hardware departments
Hammer – Helps to make precut stretchers square and to tap in any staples that need it.
Square – L shaped, metal preferred
Sewing Scissors – be sure they are sharp!
Gesso – As a sealer/primer to be used on the canvas surface
Miter saw – Necessary to cut stretchers at a 45 degree angle. Box is less expensive and will work, but if you can afford it an electric miter saw is a wonderful time and energy saver.
Nail Punch – Optional – used to help make staples flush to wood in corners
1- ½” Nails – Optional – used to make corners more secure
2” Paint Brush
Sources for Materials
Dick Blick – www.dickblick.com
Sax Arts and Crafts
Creating a Stretched Canvas
Choose size desired for a finished canvas. Keep in mind if you want to frame it with a standard size frame, you will want to go with sizes easily available. 5” x 7’, 8” x 10”, 11” x 14”, 12” x 16’, and 18” x 24”, anything larger would likely need to be specially made. You will find most commercial framers are willing to work with just about any size of canvas you wish to frame. But if in doubt, inquire with your framer.
If you are cutting your own 1”x 2”s, inspect them before purchase for bowing and/or excessive knotting. 1” x 2” usually comes in a length of ten feet. Most lumber yards will cut them down to a smaller size if it works better for you to handle. Some will go so far as to cut the 45 degree corners for you to length. But since this is ground for your art work, you will probably prefer to cut your own, to ensure a tight fit and correct size.
Once home simply cut the ends to meet in a 45 degree angle. Be sure to keep in mind the end measurement of your canvas will equal the longest edge of the corner when assembled.
How you actually attach your corners will depend if you purchased, or cut your own. ** See below if you have purchased your bars.
Lay the large metal square down on a flat surface. On the inside corner of the square lay down the stretcher bars against the edge. Lay down all four edges to be sure they are the right size, and double check for warping of wood and other imperfections. If they aren’t this is the time to make adjustments, not after they are attached to each other.
Before attaching to each other, BE SURE THEY ARE SQUARE! It works best to worry only about 2 pieces at a time, at this point. So remove two of the bars and concern yourself with just what is happening in the corner of the square
If you have cut your own, it works well to simple staple them together on both side. It is usually a good idea to put at least 2-3 lined up in a row.
Be sure that they are flush as possible with the surface of the wood. If not they will create a ‘bump’ on the canvas that is not a desirable end result. To do this tap with a hammer or use a nail punch. Be sure to recheck that things are still good and square. Turn over carefully and do the same process to the other side. Be careful when turning over that you do not cause the first staples to come out or twist. It is important to do both sides, so that there is adequate reinforcement.
When all four sides are connected, ensure they all are square with each other, an old carpenters trick is to simply measure from corner to corner crosswise, if they measure the same than they are still square.
**If you have purchased your stretcher bars they more than likely have tongue and groove ends. These ends will fit into each other and create 4-90 degree corners. Simply tap or push the ends into each other until tight and square. Your purchased bars also come with small pieces of wood called ‘keys’. These are pushed into the openings in the inside corners to help make it tighter and more stable. Some artist will also tap in a small nail, or staple the corners to ensure they do not move when stretching canvas on them.
Lay your canvas material onto a clean flat surface. Laying the stretcher bars on top, and measure around the stretcher bars about 3 inches of extra material on each side.
Starting on one edge fold the fabric up and over the edge of the stretcher bar, staple the canvas to the bar in the center.
Pull the canvas snug and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat on the remaining two sides. Be sure to pull canvas snug each time, before it is stapled.
Starting on the edge you began with. Place staples approximately 2” apart all the way around, except for the very corners. Then do this on all four sides.
There are several ways one can create a corner that will work for various needs. Our goal is to create one that will work for a professional looking corner, with or without a frame. If done correctly, you can paint around the sides of the canvas and hang it without a frame and it will appear professional, with very clean lines. No matter what style of painting you may have.
It may take some practice to get the hang of folding the corners and have a smooth edge. But take your time; it is well worth it in the end.
*Preparing to fold corner
*Folded corner from side
*Corner folded and snug, stapled down.
NOTE: If you use pre-primed canvas the following is not necessary.
Lay down your stretched canvas painting side up. Wipe away any stray threads or dust that may have attached them selves when stretching. If necessary use a damp cloth.
Going in one direction and using your 2” brush apply gesso to the surface. Be sure to paint the edges of the canvas also! Allow this first coat to dry thoroughly.
You can leave the canvas as it is for a slightly rough tooth surface, which works well for general use. Or if you want a rougher surface to paint you can add pumice, marble dust, sand, or about any other materials to the next coat to increase the surface tension. If you want a smooth surface, take fine sand paper and lightly sand the surface between coats of gesso. Allowing the gesso to dry well each time.
Tip: Apply 1-2 more coats depending upon surface desired. Be sure to go a different direct for each coat of gesso. This will help to build a stronger and longer lasting surface.
*TIP – If you used cotton duck canvas and find a ‘dent’ anywhere on your canvas wish you can fix this with a spray of water on the back side of your canvas. Allow the water to dry and the canvas will stretch back into its original shape. If you did not use Duck canvas and find yourself in a similar situation, there are more high tech materials on the market, than our use of a water bottle. How you handle the situation depends on the materials used. We suggest you check with your art material supplier for products available and their use.
Facial proportions can vary according to ethnic background and gender. Traditionally men have more angular faces and more pronounced brow just above the eyebrow line. Examine the images shown to see how the eyes fall in the middle of the entire skull, between the tip of the head and chin. In-between the eyes is a space equal to the width of one of the eyes. Halfway between the eyes and the tip of the chin is the line where the mouth opening will fall. Although the model on the left is a young adult female the proportions are the same as an adult. Her features are simply softer and less angular than what would be found in an older mature looking individual.
Remember these are merely guidelines and will need to be adjusted to fit the subject that you are depicting. Below is that of a middle aged male’s profile. When you are drawing a subject keep in mind where your light source is coming from. The same rules apply to drawing a human being as to drawing anything else. The trick is to be objective and to over romanticize, draw what you see and not what you‘think’ you are seeing. Look at the subject carefully and try to look at the person you are drawing more then the paper you are drawing on. Always work from life whenever possible, if you can not find a model or do not feel comfortable doing so as of yet, simply use a mirror and do a self portrait.
This week included a couple of head studies in oil, and an unexpected field trip.
I had a meeting to go to this week in Garnett, KS. You can imagine how pleased I was to see that their Public Library also included an impressive Walker Art Gallery.
I did not plan ahead and only had my cell phone to take pictures. And well my cell phone takes terrible pictures due to the lens being scratched up. The collection includes Manet, Chihuly, John Stuart Curry and Robert Henri. Pretty impressive for our little corner of Kansas!
Next week I will have the fourth installment of the “Painting in Oil Series” :0)
This week’s studio update is a bit different. I took a couple of days off to help move our oldest daughter and her family to Wichita. On the drive back I meandered and found a few interesting sites :0)
It does a spirit good to get out and explore a bit from time to time!
Yes Toto, we ARE in Kansas!
I also ventured past “Sculpture Hill” which features the art of Frank Jenson. Sadly, I did not get any pics due to my own poor planning and my selfish desire to not get ran over by a roaring semi. But you can see his work at the Sculpture Hill website. And of course you can see a couple of his sculptures in front of one my favorite places, the Chanute Depot. The depot houses both the Safari Museum and the Chanute Public Library.
Meanwhile, inside the studio there is a new item on the easel I will share next week.
Two commissions are being painted at the moment. The plan is to wrap them up by the end of the month.
In about six months time I think we need to look at increasing prices. So just a heads up!
I have an obsession with chandeliers and things sparkly. I took some time yesterday to take a few reference images for a future project at a local shop. The last one, the little black chandelier, I am thinking would look cute in my studio/office. 🙂
Mediums used with oils modify the character of the paint. I personally like to not have my paint dry too quickly, unless it is an underpainting, and with a medium I have more control over this factor. I prefer to work wet-in-wet whether I return to the canvas an hour later or twenty-four.
Linseed Oil – Made from the flax plant it is the binder used in most oil paints. There are a number of different types due to consistency, color and drying time.
- Refined – An all purpose medium.
- Cold Pressed – Dries a little faster than refined and is considered to be of better quality than Refined.
- Stand Oil – Thicker with a slower dry time, to touch in one week.
- Sun Thickened – Syrupy version thickened by leaving a slightly open container of Linseed Oil in the sun (Is actually a bit more complicated than that, but for our purposes here….)
Safflower Oil – Dries faster than Poppyseed Oil but similar characteristics.
Walnut Oil – A thin oil it makes the paint more fluid. Dries in 4-5 days. It also yellows less than Linseed Oil
Turpentine – Can be mixed 50/50 with Linseed Oil for a medium. Use an artist grade quality and not household. Can be purchased in low-odor varieties.
There are a number of other mediums for oil paint, enough for a book. It is all a matter of personal choice. The point is this is another area that an artist can gain control.
Ah, it is January 2013, time to start gathering all your tax information in preparation for filing. But, of course you were getting all this information together throughout the year so that you didn’t have to do it all at once, and to help ensure it is accurate! Cause artists are known for being super organized and harbor a deep love of doing all things paper-work related. (Cue sarcasm)
Below is a list of ten items that you should be aware of when going through those receipts in drawers and boxes you have stashed over the past year.
- Magazines – That’s right, any magazine that you purchase to read more about your chosen profession, or submit your art to is allowed.
- Entry Fees – Time to dig out the information you filed away back in March of 2012 to enter your work in that competition.
- Art Supplies – Must have to make art. Anything and everything required to make your chosen art is deductable.
- A portion of your rent/mortgage – You will find the necessary information on your Schedule C form, if you work out of your home and can take the Home Office Deduction.
- Internet – Percentage of cost you use for business. Related to the Home Office Deduction.
- Hardware – Computer Hardware that is. Did get a new Printer last year? A Camera?
- Maintenance – Upkeep of studio/office space, such as necessary floor covering, or wall paint.
- Office Supplies – Paper used in printer, ink, envelopes etc… that are a all part of business.
- Postage – Cost of postage for work sold, or for shipping to shows.
- Travel Cost – Did you need to make a run somewhere to participate in a business activity?
*Note- I am not a tax attorney, so be sure to contact a legal professional if necessary