Stretched Canvas and wooden stretch wedges?

M

Melbee

Guest
Hi Folks,
I'm airbrushing onto pre-gessoed 30 x 40cm Stretched Canvas for the first time and I was wondering;

Is it rule of thumb to use the little wooden stretch wedges that come with every canvas?

I read CanvasAirbrushing's "Canvas Prep" thread and he used the stretch wedges and glues them every time.

I have painted (hairy brush) onto small canvas's (18 x 24cm) before but didn't use the stretch wedges unless I thought the canvas needed stretching further. This is the first time I've painted onto a bigger canvas and I'd like to paint onto 40 x 50cm in the future too so, would I be better to stretch the canvas's every time with the wooden stretch wedges or only if I think the canvas needs it?

Will not stretching with the wooden wedges cause sagging problems over time?

Thanks for any insight.
Cheers Mel
 
I've only ever used the stretchers on one canvas. I only use it when necessary. If you like the surface as tight as a drum then go ahead and use them.
 
Hey mel! :)

Ya if you don’t stretch the canvas it may or may not sag over time depending on the paints used. This applies more the clear/top coats though as airbrush painting is generally thin .. personally I don’t want to risk it so I stretch it.

If you’re going to stretch the canvas after you’ve painted on it there may be complications. Such as cracking of the paint or clear, creasing of the paint or clean and flaking of the paint or clear.

I know for traditional “paint brushed” paintings on canvas it is recommended that a canvas should be stretched within Approx. 2 weeks. They say this because the paint hasn’t totally dried yet so there is still some flex. However as airbrushing paint and curing times are different I’d say, at a guess, that 2 weeks is unrealistic.

Even if I intend on removing the canvas from the frame for shipping overseas I still stretch the frame (without glue so I can reuse it). Then I let it dry for a few weeks or as necessary before removing it from the frame and sending it off
 
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I've only ever used the stretchers on one canvas. I only use it when necessary. If you like the surface as tight as a drum then go ahead and use them.

Hi AndreZA, yes I'd only stretched the canvas further if I thought I need it which was only once or twice but then I was only using small canvas's. I guess it is a necessity and/or preference decision.

Hey mel! :)

Ya if you don’t stretch the canvas it may or may not sag over time depending on the paints used. This applies more the clear/top coats though as airbrush painting is generally thin .. personally I don’t want to risk it so I stretch it.

If you’re going to stretch the canvas after you’ve painted on it there may be complications. Such as cracking of the paint or clear, creasing of the paint or clean and flaking of the paint or clear.

I know for traditional “paint brushed” paintings on canvas it is recommended that a canvas should be stretched within Approx. 2 weeks. They say this because the paint hasn’t totally dried yet so there is still some flex. However as airbrushing paint and curing times are different I’d say, at a guess, that 2 weeks is unrealistic.

Even if I intend on removing the canvas from the frame for shipping overseas I still stretch the frame (without glue so I can reuse it). Then I let it dry for a few weeks or as necessary before removing it from the frame and sending it off

Hi CanvasAirbrushing, thanks for your "Canvas Prep" thread by the way.

Yes, I was thinking I would need to stretch the canvas further BEFORE I started painting so as not to do any damage. I have started to paint already so I won't use the wooden wedges on this canvas and I had already decided it didn't need stretching further.

Personally I would prefer NOT to stretch the canvas further unless it was necessary, mainly because it's less work and it keeps the back clear of obstacles. I want to put something inside the back of the frame against the back of the canvas to give the surface more support if I erase or scratch, the wooden wedges would get in the way of this but I could find a work around if I needed to.

However if it is considered good practise in the art world to further stretch any canvas before painting and it will improve the future condition of the canvas and painting, then I would do it.

If it's considered a matter of choice, so only if necessary and does not make much difference to the future condition of the canvas and painting, then I will continue as I am.

The main reasons I'm wanting to paint onto canvas is because it's easy to hang the finished work without the extra costs of framing or building a cradle or attaching some kind of picture hanging device. Also as you said C.A. people like the look of paintings on canvas, including myself :)

I can buy a student level pre-gessoed stretched canvas 30x40cm for around €4's and a 40x50cm for about €5. I don't have to worry about archival faming material or worry that the painting will degrade or get damaged from bad framing materials or techniques (by me). If I use a good UV protecting Polymer varnish like Golden I can paint it, varnish it and hang it - Done!

If I used say Canson Illustration Board 40x50 it costs €2.20 or Schoellershammer 4G 36x51cm €5 for the board, about €6 for a very cheap plastic frame and say about €2 for acid free matting which is about €10 to €13 total. So it's more work and costs double or more for a very cheap frame job.

So these are the reasons why I would like to paint onto stretched canvas and why I'd like to know what is best practise for using the wooden stretch wedges.
cheers Mel
 
Ya I understand your reasons for not wanting to use the wedges. (now I’m hungry for potato wedges lol)

If you find (over time) that it works fine without wedges then don’t use them. :)

Every now and then I get a canvas that seems good with it’s tension to begin with, too.

Here where I live in Australia the weather can significantly change temp and humidity, as such I find if I don’t use the wedges what may seem like a tight canvas one day is loose again the next. Or what is tight one day, once wedges are added, is even tighter the next and the frame warps lol.

But ya, try a few, observe how they react. This may require observation over a year so you can see how it reacts to different seasons etc. lol (but who can wait that long!!)
 
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Ya I understand your reasons for not wanting to use the wedges. (now I’m hungry for potato wedges lol)

If you find (over time) that it works fine without wedges then don’t use them. :)

Every now and then I get a canvas that seems good with it’s tension to begin with, too.

Here where I live in Australia the weather can significantly change temp and humidity, as such I find if I don’t use the wedges what may seem like a tight canvas one day is loose again the next. Or what is tight one day, once wedges are added, is even tighter the next and the frame warps lol.

But ya, try a few, observe how they react. This may require observation over a year so you can see how it reacts to different seasons etc. lol (but who can wait that long!!)

Aaaah! I can see that changing climates would effect the canvas's. As I live in Holland I don't notice such large changes, having said that I haven't really looked at the few canvas's I have and they are small 18x24cm. I don't think I can wait that long to find out either :)

I did some research on the web and most people seemed to use the Canvas Keys or Wedges (just learnt what they are called ha ha ha) only when needed, so I will continue as I have been doing.

Someone also suggested lightly spraying the back of the canvas with water and drying it with a hairdryer as a method to stretch it back.

So for me the mystery of the little wooden canvas wedges has been solved, thanks for your help guy's.
Cheers Mel
 
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