Art Materials Australia (AMA) Stretched Linen
Linen has been the preferred painting surface by the Great Masters throughout time, and to date, many professional artists prefer it over cotton. It is a high-end, high-brow painting surface. It has a status quo about it. If you are serious about your artwork, use linen, galleries love it as it portrays professionalism and quality.
Linen, whether pre-stretched or not, is the fabric of choice for many professional artists not just for its quality. Aesthetically, if the linen surface is primed with a transparent primer, its neutral base is very pleasing to the eye. Many contemporary artists paint on transparent primed linen surfaces and leave part of the linen showing through pops of colour.
Stretched linen is also available primed with a titanium white acrylic gesso; This too is a popular painting surface as it is exceptionally durable.
In the millennium, linen is woven from unique flax that makes the fabric smooth and free of bumps when compared to its rival cotton duck. A linen surface is smooth and allows for seamless application of both acrylic and oil paint. Layer upon layer can be blended and worked with ease.
As no two artists are alike, some like to glide the paint onto their linen surface while others prefer a heavy hand. Linen fabric is very durable when stretched. It will withstand significant pressure when applying paint when compared to cotton canvas; This is one of the advantages that makes linen the ideal choice for artists with heavy hands and bold brushstrokes. It is a very versatile fabric that is both delicate and strong at the same time.
What's more, high-quality linen will make paintings survive the test of time by reducing the chances of fading. They are also less likely to absorb moisture, causing them to contract and expand and are the best painting surface choice for those who consider themselves a professional artist. Linen has a finesse and quality about it that adds value to your work. It’s the designer label of canvases!
Linen fabric is also capable of retaining its natural oils despite the many different stretched sizes in which it is available; Linen can last for generations and maintain a natural, high-quality texture even years after use. If you can't find a canvas size that suits you, linen is also available in customized roll lengths.
The History of Linen Canvas in Art
Linen became popular to paint on in the 16th century. Italian painters loved linen because most of them lived in Venice where the water made wood panels and frescos warp or flake. There was an ample supply of linen in Venice because these materials were also used to make sails, and at that point in history, Venice was the shipping capital of the world.
One of the most critical advantages of linen was that it allowed huge format paintings to be transported with ease. Doors and windows were small in those days to keep the indoors warm in winter. The Venetians didn't let this cramp their interior decorating styles; They rolled large linen pieces up and brought them into their houses that way. Even when rolled up, an oil painting on linen is less likely to warp and crack compared to other fabrics.
The use of linen for oil painting moved from Italy to Spain. You can see the famous Spanish artist Veláquez's painting on a massive linen piece in his best-known work, Las Meninas.
The use of linen then swept over Europe and the North as it supplanted wooden panels as the dominant support for portraits, still lifes, and landscapes.
Linen Canvas Today
Linen is favoured by Australian artists Nicole Baker and Jessica Skye Baker. With their large gestural, painterly abstract style you can see both acrylic, oil and spray paint worked in layers on the Art Materials Australia rolled and stretched linen.