Thursday, March 12, 2009

. . . waited until daylight

to take this picture today. I thought I could just turn off the overhead lights in the family room and end up with no glare. Wrong. I ended up with a really dark picture that couldn't be fixed by editing. Then I taped the painting up in the dining room, with the dark brown walls. But the sun was shining in from the east, glaring onto the painting. So I ended up laying it on the floor by the front door. As long as the painting is small enough to fit in the frame while I'm standing over it, I think I have found the right place. Bigger paintings will just have to wait until it's nice enough to go outside and take pictures.

I spent my art time yesterday trying to repair cracks in a painting. I suspect that the cracks resulted when I used cheap, nonartist-grade materials as the texture base (i.e., spackling compound, anything from the hardware store.) Now I use Liquitex Extra Heavy Gesso for the texture base. Much better.

The other issue I'm having is that the framers are telling me that when they try to stretch some of the canvases I have painted, the paintings appear to be askew on the canvas and they end up with bits of unpainted canvas on some edges. This is disheartening to me, because I am soooo very careful to cut the canvas straight off the roll. I use a big metal yardstick that has a 90 degree angle on it, and I start with the selvedge edge of the canvas, which should be straight, right? My first thought was that the canvas was woven at a slant (which I used to encounter frequently when I sewed, especially on cheaper fabric.) It used to be you could tear a piece of fabric and make it square up. I haven't been able to do that with any canvas for a while. But I consulted with my friend at the art supply store and he told me it had more to do with the canvas stretching one way and not the other and also with using premade stretcher bars as opposed to making them from scratch. He told me the canvas I was using was fine. The solution is just to overpaint my canvases. So suppose I quit using painters tape for making a nice clean margin around my paintings, and just paint clear to the edge of the canvas? Would that work?

These problems make me realize how little I know about the nuts and bolts of painting. I suppose it's all part of my education, right? One learns by doing, and screwing up. Some experiments just won't work.


Elis Cooke said...

Hi Mary
I haven't had much luck with working on canvas off the stretchers... stretching it straight is definitely a challenge and I have found that when I paint to the edges, then stretch it will sometimes crack the paint at the edges... I suspect it could be even worse with alot of texture materials-- especially those from the hardware store meant for hard walls not flexible canvas lol! I too, would really like to know how those who are painting unstretched, then stretching are pulling it off-- maybe alot of medium on the sides so they soften and become flexible?? I have started just stretching the canvas myself before painting or working on hardboard which can handle alot more abuse and texture. Not sure if any of my ramblings are helpful... just a few observations. namaste Elis.

Mary Buek said...

Elis: I'm lazy and don't want to be bothered with stretching my canvases. Also the art guy that sells my paintings doesn't want them stretched, which is lucky for me. The art supply store as a framing department, and when I did have my painted canvases stretched there, they never ever had a problem doing it. Also, an art restorer told me something that worked: if you heat an iron to a very low setting, wet the back of the canvas slightly, and use a pressing cloth, you can fuse the acrylic paint that has cracked back together. I was a bit nervous to try it, but had nothing to lose, and, as I said, it really worked. Lots I need to learn still.

Susan said...


You are so coooooooool!!!