STUDIO: Creating a Canvas

studio1

A new world, waiting to be discovered

I received a Bachelor of Fine Art in in Painting and Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University. Even while I was going through the program, I often stated I was educating myself, in opposition to the ideas many of the instructors presented.

These days Academia is not so much about education as it is about indoctrination, the training of young minds to embrace the warped perspectives, distracting self-regard, and paralytic sophistry of the elitist class. It’s doubtful whether there is any true value left in most higher education under the precepts of today’s politically correct university model, especially in the arts. However, I was able to take a few tangible lessons away from my college years which have continued to serve me well. One of the most important things I learned as a painter was how to build my own canvases.

It’s an elaborate process, involving lumber and quarter round, wood joiners and brad nails, a miter saw and a staple gun, gesso and sandpaper. It’s a big savings over buying prepared canvases, but that’s just one facet of it. There is a sense of thoroughness and craft I get from working on a support I built myself. I will use store bought canvases as well, but my most significant pieces were done on stretchers I’ve constructed myself.

I’ve just completed a new one, a three foot by three foot square. Over the coming weeks I will post periodic pictures of the work in progress. Since I paint based on visions that are revealed to me, I know the image I intend for this canvas. However, as an intuitive painter, exactly how that image will get created will be a journey full of surprises, missteps, corrections and sudden inspirations.

Artist Maurice Denis is famous for stating painting “…is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.” This simplistic and materialistic view, while technically correct, manages to miss the point and power of painting. A real painting creates a whole new world to explore.

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “STUDIO: Creating a Canvas

  1. I was encouraged to stretch canvas for fellow art students as an ancillary money-maker in school. So I did. But I also noticed the subtle nod/wink of the teacher, and so knew it was as much for me as it was for the clients. 😉

  2. I totally agree on both points.

    I think in large part, academia suffers from Ivory Tower syndrome – being disconnected from real world concerns doesn’t mesh well with acting as a position of authority in such a dynamic field as art. I’m not even going to touch on commercial art, which only a few select schools appear to teach well.

    I think a lot of commercially prepared canvas is pretty cheaply made, to be honest. I don’t paint a lot of oils/acrylics at the moment, but gessoing the thing has this kind of “wax on/wax off” zen to it and being able to customize the texture of the surface to your liking is awesome!

  3. “Artist Maurice Denis is famous for stating painting “…is essentially a flat surface covered with colors assembled in a certain order.” This simplistic and materialistic view, while technically correct, manages to miss the point and power of painting.”

    And that’s the mystery that makes painting, or any quality art, so intriguing — many simple elements come together to form something bewildering and inviting. It’s a joy to view, and a greater joy to create.

  4. I’m very interested to learn how to stretch a canvas. Look forward to your post..is there a particular type of canvas you like to purchase, and where do you buy it/can you buy in bulk?

  5. Art supply stores offer rolls of canvas prepackaged, and some can even cut pieces to size. There are various grades, what I’ve found the heavier and the denser the weave it is, the better. I go with cotton, there is also much more expensive linen which I’ve not used. I’ll have to do a future post where I have the step by step process documented.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s