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The New Geneva Foundation Canvas Stain

I recently bought a 100 ml tube of Mark's new foundation stain and it is an awesome product! I applied it with a brush on a new canvas as per Mark's instructional video. A little bit goes a long way and as you can see from the photo one coat did a very good job covering the blank canvas. I noticed that the brush tends to leave very light brush marks. I wanted to see if I could get a completely smooth surface finish by applying the foundation with a small roller.  

The roller is a great way to apply the foundation. It produces a smooth surface, free of brush marks, yet leaves some "tooth" on the surface. Here is a comparison; brush applied on the left, roller applied on the right.

Another advantage of applying the foundation with a roller is there is no clean up required. Just suspend your roller so its not toughing a surface and let it dry. Since the roller dries with a nappy surface you can reuse the roller multiple times without cleaning it. You have to clean the brush after each use or it will harden.

The 100 ml tube covers a LOT of canvas and can be used to reclaim previous projects by painting a new surface over existing paint. One good coat wipes out about 95% of the existing color. Just look how it completely covers over that Cad yellow (below). The second coat can be thinner and it will cover anything that the first coat did not completely obliterate. 

A 100 ml tube only cost $16 plus shipping. I reclaimed about $100 worth of used canvas. So I made about $80 by purchasing this new product.

But more importantly lets not forget the real reason to use this product; to prep your canvas like a professional. Up until this point I have been painting directly onto the canvas because they all say "Ready to Paint" on the label. Sorry, but after you have painted a few like that you realize painting onto an unprimed canvas just doesn't cut it, regardless of what the label says. 

So whats the bottom line?


It is a great product, sold at a very reasonable price, that will actually improve the quality of your finished painting. If you have a lot of old canvas laying around that you want to reclaim, buy 2 tubes! 

Merry Christmas and Happy Painting to All!  


  • Is this fast drying alkyd paint?
  • I am not sure what it is made of, but yes it dries 90% by next day.
  • SummerSummer -
    edited December 2017
    @Bob and @tgarney   Just looked it up.  Copied right from the description page at Geneva Fine Arts Supplies.  I would guess yes for it being made with fast drying alkyd.  When I make my own canvas stain, I use alkyds as well following the latest Mark Carder recipe.  I bought a few tubes of this but am waiting for next summer to use it.  Using it over a dried existing paintings - that are not white - as shown here is something I haven't tried yet.  I wonder if some of them were also varnished.  My homemade canvas stain is good over both white acrylic and oil primed canvasses and is as far as I ever got experimenting with the homemade recipe.  This is interesting.  Hope Mark's product works just as well over dried painted canvasses as it does on canvasses with just white primer.  Summer 

  • edited December 2017
    I applied gesso with a roller for two paintings and found the texture to be less than ideal to paint on. Way too much drag and it also soaked up the oil overnight and caused the paint to dry fast I think. Let us know what your experience is like.

    To avoid brushmarks you can use a soft synthetic or natural hair brush as opposed to a hog bristle brush or something like that.
  • I seem to remember that Mark makes his products for his type of painting which I understand to be very smooth substrates and paint on the thin side.  Other surfaces and types of paint will take some experimenting with most likely to get it to work if you prefer something different.  Hope you will post your experiences as you experiment with other than smooth and thin--as will I.
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