Canvas has been used as the foundation of paintings for more than 500 years. As it is simply a piece of cloth with wooden ends, it has all the characteristics that a cloth would have. It would not be as stiff as wood or other materials, it would sag from the centre and therefore there would be distortions in the painting. Even painting on a sagging canvas would be very difficult. That is why a technique called canvas stretching is used. With the help of this technique, the canvas is attached to the wooden boundaries in such a way, that it has uniform tension all along the surface. This creates a firm foundation for the painting. As with all the other things, the foundation has a lot of importance. Only with firm foundation, will the painting be long lasting. Here we are going to discuss some dos and don’ts for canvas stretching.
What not to do while canvas stretching?
The canvas pulling is a very important task as all the effort that is going to be done will be based upon this one thing. Therefore, it should never be taken lightly. There are several techniques that people use and some of them have been called traditional as well, but after some time, the sags and stretched lines on corners of the paintings become visible due to the material of the paints used and with additional varnish on them. The first one among those techniques is starting from the centre and then stretching outward. This technique is widely used but is actually not very fruitful. If you draw parallel lines on the canvas and then apply this technique, you would see a clear distortion in the lines. This tells that this stretching technique does not give the desired results as expected.
Proper canvas stretching:
As explained earlier, the stretching is the most important part of painting. Therefore, a well-lit and manoeuvrable workspace should be selected. If you are doing to carry out the process on floor, a large piece of polythene should be used so that the dust particles do not get attached to the canvas. Apart from that, the environment in the studio should also be controlled. The first thing that you need to do is to have full understanding about the material of the canvas. The weave of the canvas should be carefully studies as this should be the orientation of painting as well. Now the proper technique for canvas stretching is starting from the corners and then inwards. A lot of people would think that this might leave a sag in the centre or a big piece of cloth on some corner. But just try it once and you will find out this will never happen with this technique.