(Oh and by the way, I posted a new ukulele song on Youtube, if you like that sort of thing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7__uHXcVk8)
In general, there's an apparent perception of value with "oil on linen" paintings. I'm not entirely sure that's a great thing. But bowing to pressure, I started to try them about two years ago. I was concerned with linen's reputation for sagging or tearing, but after taking Jeremy Lipking's workshop and seeing that he was using linen mounted on gatorboard, decided to give it a go. The boards are lightweight, easy to stack and transport, will not sag or need restretching, and can be cut with a utility knife into new sizes.
Here are some random observations (again, love to hear your input on this as well):
- After some mucking about with different brands, I now only use the Claessens double lead-primed, portrait smooth panels. The lead surface tis very silky and non-absorbant and I generally prefer as smooth a surface as possible. Other priming and texture weights are available.
- One time a client was upset that the back of the panel had been scratched or something. He wanted to know why I would use a material like that, until it was pointed out that had the gatorboard not been present, there would have been a hole in the actual painting.
- Fredrix makes a linen panel which is a terrible, terrible, horrible thing. I have some left which need to be repurposed as drink coasters or something. The surface is very uneven. The quality looks like that of a regular canvas panel (cheap.) The priming is hard as a rock.
- My experiences with New Traditions and Signature Canvas have been equally good as far as both product and customer service are concerned. Signature does offer the 1/2" gatorboard for larger sized panels.
- When you have a stack of unframed canvases, positioning them so they don't divot is tricky. It's really simple with these.
- You can fit up to 3 of these bad boys on the canvas carrier part of a half box easel. Sweet.
- It's not the sort of thing you get in a craft store.
- For the most part, I paint a thinned burnt sienna-ultramarine blue wash on these as soon as I get them, and use them eventually.
- They fit great in those snazzy plein aire frames.
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