Edge of a Prairie, 2012
acrylic on board, 5"x7"
Artists use a variety of supports for their paintings. I most often use stretched canvas for medium to large paintings. I order it already stretched. It comes medium weave canvas, tightly stretched, is most often double or tripled primed. When an order comes I open it, prime again if necessary, and tone all the canvases. I almost always have have a nice supply of sizes ready to paint.
Canvas or linen on board is the choice for my smaller, daily paintings. Since my favorite supplier is no longer making the panels I prefer, I'm trying out a variety of others, and finding surfaces that work for me.
For my recent Snowmen project I used gesso board. It's much smoother than a canvas, but I enjoyed how it grabbed the paint and gave me a nice resistance with dry brush. I'll try a few larger paintings on it, too.
Linen is a wonderful fiber, but I've found that the stretched linen sags too much for my vigorous painting methods. Recently I've tried linen on board, and loved it, and will use it more in the future.
I've also been trying a variety of hard boards. Someone recently questioned me about what board means, and about its quality. I want to make it clear that when I say "board" I paint on quality material of archival quality. It's definitely NOT the cardboard panels often used for student work!
Archival quality board is often an actual board, like birch, but more often is a composite of wood, which won't warp easily. Archival means that nothing in the making of the board will leach into or onto the surface or back of my painting. It's protected and will withstand the test of time.
Lovely hardboards, linen boards, and gessoboards can easily be purchased at any online artist supply store. Try something new and let me know your favorites!