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with regards to using a canvas with a medium textured weave (or any but the finest weave for that matter) I have recently read that it is best to even out the surface with extra acrylic gesso so that the "ground equalizes the surface of the support." .........."this would involve losing the grain or texture of the canvas, so that oil paint layers applied over the painting ground like down flat and evenly." (P295 Pip Seymour, The Artist's Handbook, 2003.) I have often wondered about that, but this is the first time I have seen it in print from a seemingly reputable source.
I would prefer to skip this extra gessoing if possible, but is it best practice to follow Seymour's advice? It does seem technically logical what he says.
Appreciate your expert input,
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There should not be visible holes in the weave, but the texture of canvas can be an important visual element. A picture viewed from short distance, like a small portrait, can benefit from a subtle weave or smooth priming. On the other hand, a large figurative work or landscape, especially installed in a large architectural space, often needs a more aggressive canvas texture to enliven brush strokes and "break up" paint coverage to allow color mixing in the viewer's eye. This is critical for the impressionist or pointillist approach. Also, the additional surface area provided by canvas texture can help paint adhesion where impasto is present.
Mathew, never thought about using the weave of the canvas to enhance a landscape painting. Good point. Just visited local state art gallery again and in virtually all of the portraits little, or no, canvas weave was visible, reinforcing what you said. Many thanks your input again.