Can­vas stretch­ing and set­ting up

Howard Lyon con­tin­ues his five-part se­ries that will help you be­gin us­ing oil paint. In this in­stal­ment he fo­cuses on pre­par­ing the can­vas, and draw­ing for paint­ing

ImagineFX - - Traditional Artist -

Cot­ton can­vas, linen, wood pan­els, cop­per, pa­per, glass and stone are just some of the sur­faces I’ve seen oil paint­ings on. Cot­ton is a cheap al­ter­na­tive to linen, but is less durable and not as strong.

If you stretch your own can­vas then you can save a lot of money. Learn­ing to do so isn’t hard, but it takes a lit­tle prac­tise to do it con­sis­tently. I rec­om­mend in­vest­ing in a good pair of can­vas pli­ers and an elec­tric or pneu­matic sta­pler.

Can­vas, linen and pan­els are the most com­monly avail­able primed and un­primed sur­faces. Prim­ing your own can give you a lot of con­trol, is an­other chance to save money and you can cre­ate tex­tures that add to your paint­ing.

Un­less you’re paint­ing completely from imag­i­na­tion or from life, you’ll need to gather ref­er­ence. I’ll of­ten make lit­tle sculp­tures or wooden mod­els to pho­to­graph. Your ref­er­ence can never be too good, so go the ex­tra mile.

I use a grid to trans­fer my draw­ing to the can­vas or panel. Pro­jec­tors and car­bon pa­per are great tools, as long as they aren’t re­place­ments for time spent de­vel­op­ing your draw­ing skills.

Once your draw­ing is ac­cu­rate, ink or fix it, so that when you be­gin paint­ing you won’t scrub out all of the hard work you’ve done!

Howard has worked as an il­lus­tra­tor and art di­rec­tor as well as a fine artist for galleries and col­lec­tors. You can see his art at www.howard­

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