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Fine Linen Fabrics for your art supports
"Through history French painters had traditionally painted on strong and durable fabrics—hemp and linen, and the transition from hemp to linen painting canvases had occurred smoothly; and artists were aware that cotton fabrics were not as well adapted as hemp and linen ones to use as supports for paintings. Cotton is weaker than the two other fibers and much weaker when wet; it will also not resist bacterial growth as well. Only in the late 1800s did painters begin to paint on cotton canvases, because linen fabrics had by then become much more expensive. Even today, artists who are concerned with the durability of their works still favor linen over cotton when it is available and affordable." - A Study of French Painting Canvases by K. V. Carbonnel.
Beware of big, heavy linen fabrics that look impressive and feel substantial. Just like the finest bedsheets, you want more threads per inch, so you need linen made from threads that are consistently thin. Some manufacturers sell oil primed linen where the gauge of the thread is thinner in one direction than the other - that means that the only way you can prevent ripple in the fabric is to stretch tighter in one direction than the other - and that's very difficult to do! That's why we avoid offering such products.
Here at John Annesley Company we carry a wide range of linens. From unprimed linens, or our L60 linen that has only a rabbit skin glue coating, to the L64C linen with four coats of oil ground on a very delicate but durable linen. It has the luscious feel of calf-skin glove leather.
Or you can purchase whatever fabric you need - by the piece, by the yard or by the roll. Then you can use our canvas pliers and stretch it yourself.
Oil Ground or Acrylic Gesso Ground?
If you're trying to decide between an acrylic ground or an oil ground, you should take into consideration whether you're using oil paints or not. We encourage our customers to create paintings in a "compatibly organic" environment. Flax is used to make linen. Flax seed is used to make linseed oil, linseed oil is used in making oil paints. An oil painter should be starting with linen, using a rabbit skin glue sealer, using an oil ground, and then using oil paints. This creates a compatibly organic environment for your oil painting. Acids from the color pigments are much less likely to damage the art support.
Using an oil ground on linen means that you'll have better paint adhesion, the first layers of paint are absorbed into the ground. The use of glazes means the underpainting will glow from the inside out. Thicker applications of paint on an oil ground underpainting means you can scrape back to the stained ground color.
You can paint oil on an acrylic ground, but the paint will just sit on the surface, not bond with the ground. An acrylic ground is best for acrylic paints, it creates a chemically compatible bond. You cannot use acrylic paints with an oil ground ever. It won't adhere.
The universal ground offered on many of our linens and on both polyester fabrics is a compromise. It has two coats of sizing glue that protects the fabric, then is coated with acrylic gesso. However, unlike "glossy" acrylic primers, its surface is more matte and a bit more asorbent. It is excellent for oil paints, acrylic paint, egg tempera, casein, and even drawing media..and excellent general purpose surface coating. Both acrylic and oil painters are choosing to use fabrics with universal primer.
Artfix Belgian All-Purpose Linen
L21C and L22U have a strong and tight weave that is virtually adaptable to any style of painting. The texture of these art fabrics is similar to commercial-grade cotton canvases.Click on image to ZOOM.
Artfix Belgian Fine Portrait Linen
L64C and L64U are fine Belgian portrait linens with a very tight weave and very fine, even grain. Four layers of primer are hand applied and sanded, care that can prevent peeling, flaking or crackingif applied using professionally accepted standards.
Three Unprimed Linen Fabrics
|Unprimed Irish Linen - L3151
tight weave, soft hand
88" wide - 316 gm/m
|Unprimed Linen - L99120
traditional, a little toothy
120" wide - 305 gm/m2
|Unprimed Linen - L5888
88" wide - 205 gm/m2
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PO Box 181
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