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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Pva on raw unprimed linen problemApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2017-11-25 11:39:09 ... Most recent comment 2017-11-26 11:31:44
    Sizes and Adhesives

    ​Hi! Im an art student at the National academy of fine art Oslo, Norway.   

    I'm interested in using raw linen canvas in my painting, I've previously bought white  grounded linen and stretchid it the unprimed back as the front. Recently, I received unprimed linen from artist store.

    I have experience with rabbit skin glue but since i want to use oilpaint directly on the "size" this is not on option?. I started using artist grade PVA, and a professor tought me how to dilute it with water, ca 1/5 pva to water. it worked well with two coats on cotton but when i started priming the linen the result was really horrible.

    i stretched the raw canvas nicely and tight on a stretcherframe and started brushing on pva/water.  while wet the linen got really firm and tight but after drying overnight the canvas was completely slacking.  after yet another coat the canvas was tight (wet) and later turned slacking but hard as the pva dried.  i made tests where i put on the pva undiluted and the result was good but the pva layer dried almost instant, it was uneven and slighly milky plastic looking.  

    I also started pva priming the canvas unstretched and later had to really struggle to force the canvas to get tight on the frame with canvas pliers, as it did not get really stretched i made the huge mistake to brush some water on the canvas, it get really bad after drying, untight and full of ripples. i have made alot of searching for answers, my proffessors just told me that the key is to dilute with water, and restretch the canvas and give it more glue coats. wich i did, and every time the same thing, tight when wet and loose dry.     

    after i while i found this article,  its the same problem i encountered with pictures  

    i read that professional canvas maker like cleassens of belgium use acrylic glue to their canvases and coating both sides, is this a better option?   can you dilute pva with something other than water?

    I know about the Golden products but now i ended up with having alot of PVA and trying to make it work.     



Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    For problems with ripples and loss of tension while sizing, I recommend looking at the stretching technique first. If the fabric is losing as much tension as the images in your linked blog post, in my opinion, the canvas may not have been stretched properly.

    Pulling directly across the stretcher frame (the method most artists are taught) can result in uneven tension from spot to spot. It can be challenging to pull with the same amount of force at the corners as in the middle of the bars, even with canvas pliers. An alternate method- stretching diagonally on the bias- evenly distributes tension by displacing the entire network of warp and weft, avoiding tight spots along the span of each stretcher. Also, tacking on the sides of the stretcher rather than the back yields better results.

    I would abandon any further attempt to size canvas off the stretchers, as loose fabric. There's no way to maintain a flat plane or consistent weave pattern this way.

    Matthew Kinsey, Utrecht Art Supplies
    2017-11-26 11:31:44

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