Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

You can send an email to [email protected] if you have questions about how to use this forum.

a problem with a big canvas...

For my last painting, 'giant rhubarb', 28x39 inches, I decided to try a canvas instead of a mounted wooden board or aluminum (dibond). Leaving the boarders of the painting, the canvas started to bounce forth and back like a drum with the rhythm of my brush strokes... this was very uncomfortable and lead to a number of unwanted splashes. I did not change the stretching because I didn’t know in which direction and because I am always afraid to break it in the corners…
So I figured that I actually don't know how to stretch a big size canvas properly...

Or is the bouncing normal and 'part of the game'? Thanks a lot for your help on that...


  • dencaldencal -
    edited September 2015

    Easy enough to temporarily slip a few sheets of foamboard behind the crossbracing to dampen any drumskin effect.

    Alternately, applying some finger pressure to the front face with your free hand stops the trampolining.

  • @dencal Thank you Denis for the foamboard-tip. Unfortunately when I paint, my three hands are full of brushes, papertowl and more brushes ... therefore I don't have a finger left to put on the front face... :/

    But thank you for your (always) reliable and inventive help! Esther

    @martenvisser Thanks, I would be very interested in your arguments...
  • But man, when the painting gets big, canvas in the way to go. Everything else is just too expensive or too darn heavy. But...I haven't tried dibond yet (which can be costly). Small portraits, I use ampersand gessobord. With larger works, I'm currently using cotton canvas, but at times, I dislike the texture.

    When I switch back and forth between canvas and board, there's a small transition time. I change how much pressure I put on the canvas or board and angle the brushes differently.
  • Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
    edited September 2015
    I like my canvases real tight. It takes practice to learn how to stretch them tight.
  • @MeganS I like Dibond (or for smaller formats the thinner Dilite). Nearby is an aluminum factory. I buy very big 'sheets' of Dibond (120x80 inches precut in 3 pieces). At home I cut them with a saw to whatever size I need. Sand them and put gesso on it with a smooth or a rough surface... it gets cheaper than mounted canvas. They don't warp, they don't care about humidity and it is not easy to harm them in any way... the second best are mounted wooden boards like the following. I did almost all my paintings on them...

  • Tight surface works best for me.
  • I gave up canvases. It feels like a handicap in many ways.
  • In a fairly recent discussion about painting on Plexiglas® I mentioned a product called Sintra®. If you Google "Sintra" or "Sintra PVC", you can learn more about it or possibly where to buy it. PVC is polyviny is the same stuff that plastic plumbing pipe is made of. I haven't worked with Sintra yet, but it comes in panels like plywood and is used for signs and graphic work. I'm guessing here, but probably it is made with smooth outer surfaces and a core that is porous or foam-like to reduce cost and weight. Daniel Lechón is a Mexican artist who lived in Houston, maybe still does, and is the artist contracted to do murals for the Kenedy Ranch History Museum in south Texas. During an interview, Lechón said he stopped using canvas years ago after discovering Sintra. Might be worth trying out.
  • @CharleyBoy Thanks a lot for your tip. I didn't know about Sintra and I like to try out new stuff...
  • I recently tried a product called "SurePly ",and so far it's working out very well. Got it at HomeDepot.
    How thick is the Aluminum and how much does it cost?
  • @billj Thanks for the tip Bill. Unfortunately I don't know 'SurePly' and I couldn't find it over here... You can get 'dibond' in different thicknesses, depending on the size of the canvas. It is quite expensive compared with some other materials. Here in Switzerland it is about the same price as a mounted canvas (not a cheap one...)... but as I buy it in huge sheets it gets quite cheap...
  • This was all very interesting and I learned several things. Thanks for posting all the info.
  • EstherH;
    If you can make the wood panels yourself you would save a lot of money, 16 "x 20" less then $5
    rexart look like they do a good job. I'll bet they would cut you a deal on a large order. Thanks
  • I enjoy the slight give when working on canvas. It's kind of like the surface is alive.
  • On Aluminum, I was taken by the work I saw in a museum, sorry, can't remember the artist's name , but it was great work. Long story short, bought some alum. mounted it on wood. Painted on it, conclusion, no different than any other smooth surface. So unless you incorporate the shine of the metal into the composition, I can't see a reason to go that route.
Sign In or Register to comment.