Choosing a canvas for painting is a very pleasant experience. Now on sale there is everything that only the soul wishes. You can choose not only canvas of any size and grain (coarse-grained, medium, smooth), composition (flax, cotton, mixed linen, synthetics) and even configurations (rectangular standard, panoramic,
square, round, triangular). You can buy separately a subframe (ready-made or in the form of strips, which are assembled, as a designer, in the desired position) and already prepared (glued and primed) cloth with square footage. Even the color of the canvas can be chosen: from numerous shades of white (cold white, ivory, milky, gray of all tones) to black. All for the convenience of the artist.
Only now, with all this diversity, sometimes respect and delicate, careful attitude to the material itself is lost: what we wanted right away didn’t matter - we’ll throw away the canvas and take a new one. Why follow the sequence of applying layers of paint, there is a lot of paint, you can immediately write with a palette knife, and remove unnecessary things - into the urn. It doesn't matter if the canvas was scratched or it is too thin for such a paint layer (no one took care of studying the technology, did not know how to paint with oil on the canvas): let's start anew on the new one. Sagged canvas - in the urn; skips paint in several places - there too; struck upon impact - all the more.
Is there any chance, in that case, to paint with colors, really, something touching, new, interesting, does the artist's soul live in such works?
Not without reason, the artists of the old formation still prepare their own canvases for themselves, collect the frame and keep the secrets of making sizing and primer of exactly the quality to which they are accustomed. The picture after all begins with this. And they will never trade individual stretched, primed, glued canvas to any other, even of the highest quality, store, because such masters are only sure that they themselves have done, they are laying their emotional energy, the idea of a future picture, into the canvas. Checking with the fingers the elasticity of the canvas, looking at the light - if there are any small holes - the artist begins his conversation with the material from which the miracle should be born. And this is an incomparable pleasure.
I studied painting in times of scarcity. In the late nineties and the beginning of the two thousandth, it was difficult to find not something that would be a ready-made canvas for painting, but even a separate canvas canvas, slats with or without a groove. Ready soil for us, the students, seemed to be something fabulously mythical, because no one saw it personally and did not hold it in their hands. They collected canvases for study from whoever they would find: they bought a two-thread at the fabric store, a diagonal of a severe or mattress tick (this is at best!), but often they turned out to be impregnated, making the paint from such canvases laid with a liquid layer (glaze) , went outside and left monstrous black spots on the back of the future picture. In addition, these fabrics are quite thin, not durable and low-grain. Not all fit such thickness and texture.
Some pulled from the pantry pantries and cellars canvas potato sacks. Glue (in our case - gelatin) on them, of course, took a lot, but the texture for still lifes and landscapes was pleasant, pimply. Particularly gifted students and artists realized start a search in the then “second-hand” stores that were gaining popularity. There, the linen sheets, pillowcases, tablecloths, dresses and skirts of large sizes were carefully searched out, stretched and neatly torn off. Get out, in general, who could. One girl somehow even brought to the lesson of painting a denim ass stretched on a stretcher, right with pockets.
And how many laths were broken, chipped, how many corners were filled with crooked, oblique, how many fingers were beaten off with a hammer in an attempt to hammer in nails when the canvas was tightened with gentle female hands! By the way, a furniture stapler then simply did not exist, as well as tweezers (just want to repeat right after the hero Yevstigneyev from the movie “Welcome or no admission is forbidden”: “And now, look, what a beauty!”) - they really made life easier to artists. Then it was still necessary to dilute the gelatin correctly and gently, evenly rub it into the upper part of the canvas so that it does not leak out. And there were still experiments with carpentry and casein glue (stinky inexpressibly). This was followed by polishing a particularly hairy surface (of the same bag for potatoes, for example) with sandpaper or pumice stone (I still have a bag in the pantry) and the primer is covered with water-based emulsion or gouache with glue; orthodox lovers of the old school), and then fixing all this with a thin layer of glue, for example, PVA.
Any mistake was unacceptable. Wave-like drying of the surface and leakage of paint to the outside are still flowers in comparison with the chips of the soil together with the paint layer. And sometimes, during the resounding blow of the drying work that had fallen off the wall, it was necessary not only to hear from fellow students and colleagues enthusiastic: “Buy it!” (There is such a sign from artists that the painting that fell will definitely sell). Sometimes, along with this, it was necessary to collect pieces of flying off from the floor, because almost half of the paintings fell off.
Particularly prominent personalities, in order not to bother, just washed off the old, unsuccessful training pictures under a stream of hot water - they steamed the water-emulsion primer and glue, and then scraped the image with a palette knife. Sometimes it was not completely washed out, and the new production was written on a very peculiar textured surface.
In short, the fun and practical benefits were many: who in the army were not... - then you know. So, I strongly advise all novice artists not only to study the technology of making the canvas, but also to try to go all this way on their own. Believe me, the feeling of the process of painting will change to the root. Do not forget that the artist - it is also a profession and if you really call yourself this big word, it is necessary to understand in addition to the “living room” also with the “kitchen”. In General, for airborne! That is, for self-made canvases and technology of pictorial materials!
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