Building a Work of Art from the Foundation Up
Updated: Aug 6
It's important to have a strong foundation in a painting the same as it is for anything well constructed. It starts with a high quality canvas, paints and any other materials that will go on said canvas. I have, through trial and error, found the materials that I prefer and work best for me. However, what works for me might not work for someone else and what they swear by, I might just end up swearing at.
I prefer a medium textured canvas on a minimum of 1.5" stretcher bars for paintings and have discovered I LOVE gessoed cradle board for mixed media work. If I'm pressing on the substrate to attach a paper I don't want the give and bounce of a canvas, plus the surface is ultra smooth which I prefer so that I add any textures to the work rather than the canvas contributing its texture.
My favorite paints are Golden brand acrylics, in all forms; high flow (which is similar to an ink consistency) fluid, heavy body...they are expensive, but with superior pigment load and incredible versatility I'm willing to pay a bit more. I've also discovered Nova Color acrylics, which are also American made and are soft in body (not too thick, not too thin...just right) for under-painting. Big plus...they are extremely reasonable, the colors are amazing with impressive pigment load and because of their affordability I am more likely to experiment and play which is a really important part of my process. Why don't I make the transition to Nova Color for the entire process? It's the soft body and dried finish, which is a bit more matte than I prefer. The soft body is thinner than heavy body and doesn't retain brush strokes as much, which I really like.
Ultimately, I make sure the materials I use will stand the test of time. Everything is archival and I varnish each of my pieces when fully dry to seal and protect the art. High quality materials are just the beginning...the foundation, and just like the foundation of a home, where the finished product is achieved as a result of caring, skilled architects, builders and inspectors, so too is a successful work of art.