Jocelyn Audette

Painting Surfaces

 

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<Return to Oil Paintings>

People have often asked me the difference between painting on linen, cotton canvas, and board which are the surfaces that I usually choose between. 

Linen

Many of my paintings are on linen which I've always loved for its color and interesting texture.  Linen has been used for more than 10,000 years for everything from wrapping mummies to writing papers to currency.  In the 15th century, artists discovered that linen made an excellent painting support due to its many wonderful qualities:

  •   Linen is extremely durable, particularly when wet, and has the best longevity of all painting surfaces.
  •   The linen fiber has a hollow core which wicks moisture away and inhibits the growth of mold.

  •   Linen is not only the oldest known fiber, it is the strongest natural fiber in the world.

  •   Because linen contains natural oils, it retains flexibility as it ages.

  •   Linen has an irregular texture which I prefer to the more uniform texture of cotton.

  •   Linen is the most expensive painting support, but because of its longevity, it gives added value to the finished painting.

Cotton Canvas

Cotton is produced from the seed hair of the cotton plant.  The flowers from which these seeds are obtained vary in color and texture which provides each type of cotton with different characteristics and grades.

  •   Cotton has a more uniform texture than linen.
  •   Cotton is less expensive than linen.

Wood Panel

I sometimes paint on wood panels which are made of thin plywood mounted on a sturdy frame.  These have some advantages:

  •   I like the firm surface, particularly for palette knife paintings and scratching back into the paint.
  •   The wooden frame gives the painting a 3-dimensional quality which I like.

  •   Wood supports are usually the cheapest painting support.

 

 

 

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