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MITRA Forum Question Details

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    Question asked 2017-04-09 18:53:54 ... Most recent comment 2017-04-09 19:36:00
    Flexible Supports Acrylic

    ​In the summer of 2016, I painted a 9-inch by 12-inch painting on 7/8-inch-deep Masterpiece "Vincent Sausalito" all-cotton stretched canvas. I added two coats of Golden acrylic gesso on top of the manufacturer's gesso, and then the painting was done in Golden acrylics. I framed it with a Nielsen aluminum canvas-depth sectional frame. It hung through the fall and winter in a winterized cottage in  northern Michigan, with the central heating system turned off.

    In early April of 2017 I found the painting in below freezing temps, in order to retrieve and varnish it. It apparently had undergone "planar" warping of the canvas surface, to use a term I've picked up on this forum. Over the course of a couple weeks in a separate year-round heated home, the warping has disappeared and the painting now looks fine. Ideally, I wanted to leave the painting year-round at the cottage, and am wondering if I should cut the painted canvas from the stretcher bars and glue it to 1/8-inch-thick Ampersand Hardbord with acrylic medium? First sizing the board on both faces and all four edges with acrylic medium. Was this sagging likely caused by the temperature change? Thanks for any insights and/or suggestions.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer


    I was born in Michigan and remained there until college so I am well aware of the crazy weather including temp and humidity fluctuations that the state endures. I mention this because this is clearly what caused the relatively temporary planar distortion you observed in your canvas. The most likely culprit here is the huge variation in relative humidity that the canvas experiences. First, is the painting on an exterior facing wall? If so move it to an interior wall. You would be surprised how much of a difference this can make, even in a weatherized house. Moisture will still transfer through the wall and, consequently, the painting. No matter what, installing a backing board on the painting to help mitigate the effects of the transference of moisture through the walls. Please visit our document entitle “Storage, Exhibition, and Handling Tips” in our RESOURCES section.


    As this is an acrylic dispersion painting, which are generally quite flexible, I would not personally put your work through such a drastic procedure as you suggest. I would probably try what I indicated and see if it reacts differently next year. If the same thing occurs or you really just want to “nip this in the bud” we do have instructions on how to marouflage, the term for what you suggest, in the RESOURCES section under “Rigid Supports”.

    Brian Baade
    2017-04-09 19:36:47

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