Thursday, April 10, 2008

Painting on Raw Canvas

This is something I did on a whim a little while back. I had actually forgotten about it until my daughter asked if she might have it for her little cottage at school. I used acrylics to paint on raw, unstretched cotton canvas. The photo below shows it tacked to the wall of her cottage.

I did not even have a photograph of this piece, so she sent this to me. I can't remember the size of the canvas, but my memory is something like 36" x 72".

I rolled out this raw canvas onto the grass one summer day, then pulled out the acrylics and watered them down...some a bit like watercolors, some with little blobs of paint floating in watery paint and some a bit thicker than watercolors. I also pulled out a spray bottle and began to splash, spray, throw and sometimes brush paint on this raw canvas. The fibers took up the watery paint very much like watercolor paper. By using acrylics, I (supposedly) didn't have to worry about future damage to the canvas fibers as I would have if using oils. And of course, it dried quickly. I did this on a sunny day and just let it lay in the grass until it was totally dry. Then I rolled it up and forgot it until Elizabeth asked if she might have it.
This is a little closer detail shot of the canvas. At first Elizabeth thought it would make a good room divider (she lives in one room), but once she unrolled it in her space, she found it looked best just pinned to the wall.

Have you ever painted on raw canvas? Did you like the outcome? Would you like to give it a try, if you have not done it before? What surfaces do you like to paint upon?

Tomorrow, I have a lovely surprise to share.

17 comments:

WILSONART said...

Hi Kim,,,
This is very interesting work. Soft,,,,with lots of movement.
I have painted on raw canvas,,,,and like the effects a lot. I was so surprised the first time,,,,I'd not yet worked with watercolors,,,,so I loved how the canvas blurred and softened all the edges.
Sometimes, I've turned over a stretched canvas, (one that wasn't working, after a lot of paint build up),,,,cut it from the stretchers,,,,,and painted on the raw back side of the canvas, to add to a collaged work. I am such a 'saver',,,I rarely throw away anything,,,and often I've been glad.( I know you can relate to that, lol)

Kim said...

Hi Babs!

Why did I know you would have done this? LOL I like this look, too, and it has reminded me how I need to do a bit more exploration with this.

What a great idea to cut the canvas away from the stretchers and use the back side!

What? Babs? You don't toss out much? Why! I am shocked! LOL :)

You have my number, too! I don't toss out much, either!

Thanks, my friend!

CHEWY said...

In college for my thesis project all my paintings were on raw canvas. from 30 x 30 inches to 5 x 6 feet in size. I bought lumber and made my own frames, stretched the canvas and painted using plastic jars of watered down Utrech Acrylics. 1980 2
and 1980 1
also used hard edge and some glued on raw strips.

Kim said...

Hi Chewy! This is great! These paintings are really quite wonderful. So you stretched the canvas, then painted?

These paintings are really fantastic! I love everything about them, but the composition is the most striking to me. I Love Them!

Do you still use Utrech Acrylics? I like their products and use some of them myself from time to time.

Thanks Chewy!

WILSONART said...

Chewy I loved those when I first saw them, and still do today! You are very talented,,,,many faceted.
(I do hope I spelled that right)

Kim said...

I love it when conversations like this happen here.

Keep talking....

Cestandrea said...

looks great Kim, and so much like Summer!
Love the technique, wavey and marbling, it makes you want to swim in it:)
Andrea

Kim said...

Thank you so much, Andrea!

Like Summer! Maybe that is why Elizabeth likes it so much since she is in Southern California and less than a mile off of the beach! Normally, this isn't like her, but being able to make it a grounding to where she is right now makes tons of sense.

So let's take a swim...it is feeling very spring like here today! :)

CHEWY said...

Kim,
I don't use the Utrech Acrylics anymore because I've been painting mostly with watercolor. I don't paint as large because I don't have the space. I laid the stretched canvas on the floor of an old barn on campus and made quite a mess.

Kim said...

Hi Chewy!

Utrech also makes watercolors...do you use them or another brand?

Okay, so you still painted with the canvases on the floor. You answered my next question! Cool! Painting that size is really appealing to me, but of course one has to have a place to work on them!

Thanks Chewy!

fiona long said...

This story reminds me of when I left a load of rectangulat stains on my parent's lawn! They were amazing times and amazing effects! What a lovely, active painting! Who could fail to see the joy you had in painting it?

Kim said...

Hi Fiona, I can imagine they were amazing times! LOL But I am wondering if you captured those amazing effects with your camera?

You are right there was a great deal of joy in this painting...by-the-way, it was painted in the back garden to our cottage in Sway! :) I thought you would like to know that?

And it reminds me to tell Andrea we were also living so close to the coast when I painted it! :)

All of this is interesting to consider...at least interesting to me.

fiona long said...

We may have been doing those paintings at around the same time in around the same place then! Maybe we were tapping into something? I don't know if I can do links here but an example of what I was doing is here: http://fionalongart.co.uk/art/album/paintings-animals/page/1/photo/elemental
It's hard to capture alot of it on camera though.

Kim said...

Fiona! It is a very good chance we were doing these paintings at the same time near the same place! I have gone to see the one you spoke about and now am really intrigued to compare the work we were both doing about the same time!

The painting you shared here is absolutely gorgeous...look at the colors...so vibrant and very very watery, too. My brain is really going to town here! I see a post forming... :)

Thanks Again, Fiona!

Lynette said...

Oooh Kim, what gorgeous depth, colors and textures and I don't blame your daughter for loving this painting, I would too!! I've never painted on raw canvas but would love to give it a try. I found like working on smooth surfaces like watercolor paper but I like the way a stretched canvas looks when it's finished...also like the fact that you don't have to frame them.

Kim said...

Lynette! Give painting on raw canvas a try! I think you will like it as it behaves a great deal like very thick watercolor paper. If you use acrylics, then it is very stable...of course oils would eventually eat through the fibers.

I have never stretched my own canvas...Chewy has, though even made her own stretchers! ARGH!. I am not sure I would be good with that. But I have also heard you could glue it directly to board. The other thing I thought you could so with this is stitch the edges down, then use it on a track for window treatments...you know one of those which hang from the ceiling? This would make the paintings look like panels.

Oh gee....I am really going off here today! Sometimes you can get me going on things and I will just not shut up (well, if I am interested in the subject).

Thanks again Lynette for your kindness.

shane said...

Guess you people are talking about the painting canvas and I additionally want to know the ways with the help of which I can get some idea of the Photos on canvas. The idea was loved by me when I saw it for the first time and this is what I want to do for myself. Hope I can take the aid of paintings too to make some good creations.