the linen prep - part 3

We have been fortunate to move to a lovely little country town in the Kaipara called Maungaturoto and I have been blessed with a whole room to myself, that I can call my studio. Can you imagine? After living on a boat for 3 years, with art-making (on a real scale) near impossible, this is like putting my head into a tumble drier with all the ideas and fluff going around in circles. Where to start??

First, we're enjoying the beautiful view from our back porch. Next, I thought I'd work on the linen canvas to see if I can make something of it. So on went some acrylic paint in a wild flurry, with me dancing around it and revelling the space... The plan is to take it off these stretchers, find smaller stretcher bars which might fit better, then stretch the linen for the final time, ready to start a painting - I can already see things in those colours, can you?

the linen prep... part 2

So after drying on the line I stretched it again on the temporary stretchers. Temporary as they actually are just a tiny bit short on one edge, so that I can maximise the area prepped for later stretching onto slightly smaller bars..

I found the stretching pretty difficult as the fabric seem to be stiff and ungiving, even brittle as a result of the previous layers of size still present.

It turned out better than before, but still not the flat, taught surface I'm after. So I decided to gesso the thing as suggested by Paul Hutchinson - a master of all things art. 
This is what the first layer of gesso looks like now - and the outcome seems a lot more positive than the previous try, but it's early days still. I do seem to notice the linen actually drying tighter - and not relaxing as before when drying. So holding thumbs here.

It's surely taking a LOT longer to do than I anticipated and it's not the end yet.. will I do it again? Too early to say ;-)

the linen prep..

Interesting what we sometimes get ourselves into. Crazy even. I have always loved using oils on linen - the texture, the give, the quality of the canvas.. In the past I've bought loose pre-primed linen and stretched it by hand, the result being much the same as those pricey canvases available in the art shops.

Then I had a niggle. What if.. (darn those unexpected what ifs..) I bought raw linen, sized it myself, gessoed it myself, stretched it myself, I could then even say I made this work from the very stretchers up!

So this is what actually happened..

1. Bought linen - very excited!
2. Finger stretched it ever so gently, with enough play so that the sizing will not tear it when it dries
3. Applied first coat of size (I used watered down PVA, of the acid free and pH neutral type in 70/30 to water ratio - didn't have the patience or quipment to do the rabbit skin stuff, too lazy to bother!!
4. and this is where things started to go wrong... instead of shrinking and becomming t…