|Choosing the right canvas|
Are there different canvas stretchers to choose from?
A frame supports your canvas so that you can paint on it and then display it. There are a number of options and choosing the correct one will not only help you while painting but enhance your work when you're done. Selecting the right canvas is crucial in order to get the most out of your medium whether its oil, acrylic or wax encaustic.
Broadly speaking there are two options - cotton or linen. Cotton duck canvas is suitable for most kinds of painting and is moderately priced. It's main drawback is that it's hydroscopic, which means it absorbs moisture. This makes it stretch and shrink depending on humidity. Linen on the other hand is almost unaffected by changes in humidity and is also longer lasting than cotton. It unfortunately does cost a bit more.
The choice then needs to be narrowed down a bit. A rough canvas or linen would have more tooth and would take paint from the brush far better than a fine canvas. So your painting style is going to affect your choice here - if you're painting landscapes or more textured works then you'd probably prefer a coarser tooth, but for realistic wildlife paintings or portraits a finer tooth will allow you to get all the detail that you require.
Our standard stretchers have a 340g (12oz0 cotton duck canvas which has a medium to coarse tooth. The 240g (10oz) has a finer tooth, while the Dixon canvas is very fine. Our Belgian linens are availbe with fine and medium tooth. All are primed with Acryic which makes them suitable for painting in oils or acrylics.
As with the canvas there are several options in selecting your frames:
Stretchers - These are made with corners that slot into each other and by tapping wedges into the corners you are able to tighten or stretch your canvas. The stretcher is a good choice if you are planning to frame your work when complete as it's not too thick and if you are using cotton canvas you'll be able to tension the canvas if it has become slack while working on it.
Strainers - Strainers are also called box frames and have mitred corners which are fixed. This means you cannot re-tension your work aflter painting, but the sides are deeper. So strainers are used if you don't want to add a decorative frame. You have the option to paint round onto the sides or simply paint the sides a solid colour for a more modern effect. Truly Fantastic strainers are usually 50mm deep but you can also order 40, 70 or 100mm depth.
Combos - As the name inpies these are a combination of stretchers and strainers. In other words they are stretchers with deep sides. They are the ideal choice for larger canvses because they give greater streght and stability and have the advantage of allowing you to tension the canvas too.
Econo - These are light frames with fixed corners like the strainer but are not suitable for large paintings. They are recommended for beginners and students.