Staining a canvas help.

I need help choosing the correct stain for this situation. Would the freezing temperature outside (19°F) effect the Ganeva Foundation layer because it requires ventilation which means I'll be putting it somewhere in the garage. Or should I use acrylic paints diluted with water? Do you guys stain your canvases? If so how?


  • I can't help you with this.   But, I imagine @dencal will be able to and probably a few others.
  • dencaldencal -
    edited November 2019

    Freezing temperatures can do permanent damage to the emulsion in paint, causing the paint to become a strange consistency. Paint that has frozen and thawed may become ropey, stringy or clumpy.

    Freezing temperatures will shrink and crack finished paintings.

    Eventually you will need an adequate ventilation system in the studio. Important for your health.

    Either method for applying tone to the canvas will work fine. I prefer acrylic.


  • Thanks, Denis. If the acrylic stain is diluted with water like almost a watercolor consistency... Will that effect the oil painting?

  • misael71

    Once the water evaporates the pigment is encased in a plastic coating of hardened acrylic polymer emulsion. Oil paint will be quite compatible and happily reside on this surface for many years.

  • I have used the Geneva Foundation and am pretty sure painting in the garage is necessary for ventilation and safety. I have used the foundation in my studio with a window open and my vent fan running when it was too cold to paint in the garage. Seemed to work OK, and no fumes while drying.

    I paint in oils and I have been studying how to properly prepare the canvas for the longest life. (not that my paintings are worthy of archival preservation) It seems that when painting in oil the best preparation to prevent oil paint from deteriorating the canvas underneath is to prime the canvas with oil. (I believe the Geneva Foundation is oil based).

    Recently I prepped several canvases with Gamblin Oil Ground. First time I ever did this, but the results were an amazingly smooth surface. I haven't used any of these canvases yet, but I think they are going to be very nice to paint on. Jerrys sells oil primed linen canvases and I am going to switch to them after I have used up my current stock. 
  • Thanks, I'll check out Gamblin oil ground.
  • CJDCJD -
    edited November 2019
    @misael71 I've been learning about oil grounds and it seems like they're the way to go. Gamblin oil ground or others that are lead based are good. Non absorbant so the paint/oil wont sink in, better adhesion than acrylics and stronger. Avoid any oil primed that has zinc tho bc it causes cracking and delamination ( the ones mark uses have zinc in them.. You have to be careful if you buy pre primed). Seems like most pre oil primed have zinc

    Join the traditional oil painting fb group and read the FAQ sheets on grounds for more good info!
  • Wow Thanks CJD. Looks like the pre primed canvas may still be problematic. ( I will check out the FB group.
  • You will not require a lot of water, which will in the extreme affect your acrylic paint, if you simply use thinned acrylic.  There are lots of options.  I use the  big tubes of Liquitex Basics.  They seem thinned enough to apply without further modification, but if you wanted to thin them, you could do so without over-thinning them as the amount of water would be minimal.

    You could also (maybe?) use something like Artist Loft oils.  They claim to be solely linseed oil and pigment.  They are cheap, and slow drying.  The main downside is that they do not have any expensive colours.  But for this job the ti white and burnt umber, are cheap, and the tubes say they use the same pigments everyone else does.  They are non-toxic, but there is an odor.  Who knows what is in acrylic, but whatever it is does not take long to dry or air out.

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