>in this life more beautiful than a well-stretched and primed canvas. The well-formed corners, the resonating “thummm” when you tap the center…it just strums the tuning fork in your loins, I tell ya. Shivers down your spine, even.
I have spent the last 2 days on this beast. Assembling the frame, gluing and nailing the corners, then stapling the canvas on two staples one side at a time, which means staple staple, stand up, go to opposite side, squat down, staple staple, stand up, go to the right, squat, staple staple, etc. whilst pulling the canvas as tight as possible over the frame for each staple, which leaves serious chafing and blisters when you are finished. Please keep in mind this canvas is approximately 3.5 X 4.5 feet dimensionally, and the staples are about 3/4″ apart. I will begin to accept your sympathies now.
Once that’s done, the canvas needs to be sprayed with water and allowed to dry two or three times to encourage the canvas to shrink in order to remove any wrinkles or creases that may have occurred. This particular canvas took several times in strategic areas with a water-filled Febreeze bottle and a space heater. I was getting pissed. Bryan knew I was fussing. As a joke, he comes down to my studio, my sacred haven, points and jokingly declares, “hey, ya got some wrinkles!”. I was not amused. I banned him from my studio. He is no longer welcome. But after a few more hours of process, complete and total tautness was achieved. I then told my husband to kiss my ass.
The priming is the last step, and the most time-consuming. The first coat of gesso (basically thin, white paint) goes on (but I use white latex wall paint as it’s more durable and cheaper). Once it dries, it has to be sanded sown with fine-grit sandpaper to remove the little fuzzballs that inevitably appear. Then you put another coat of primer on. Sand. Prime. Sand. Prime. By now the primer should be opaque and smooth enough to work on. If not, it is about this time that you lapse into a catatonic schizophrenia or set your studio on fire. Fortunately for me, neither was necessary this afternoon. But I still have one coat to go. I shall report back tomorrow.
People just don’t appreciate how much labor goes into building your own canvas.
I have found that building my own canvas creates a much stronger emotional attachment to my work. Which also increases my difficulty in parting with them. Which is something I need to work on.
My paintings, all 27 of them, have been occupying the walls of my apartment their entire lives. The only ones viewing them are me, my husband, and the rare guests we occasionally invite over.
For this I have been reprimanded by more than a few.
Apparently my paintings never leaving my home is an insurmountable waste.
So naturally the process of shooing them out the door requires incentive and motivation on my part. I need to have slides taken. I need to send these nonexistent slides out. I need to get my ass in gear. I need to get some freaking self-confidence about my work.