I’m loving my new Senso canvas. Senso is the brand name of a clear-primed, 14 oz, medium weave cloth. It hasn’t been bleached, whitened, or covered with white primer and so it has a lovely earth color:
Here it is, lying on a commercially primed white canvas (which is laid on the gray floor). The pinkish color is a reflection off the pinkish wall color — painters take note that light picks up all kinds of colors and puts them in your photos. The stretcher bars used to stretch the Senso (which I bought on a roll) are ones I happened to have hanging around; I stretched a number of these so I could try out various paints and paintings.
Here’s the weave of the canvas as it appears before any paint has been applied. It has been commercially gessoed. Again, the change in color is due to uneven lighting in the studio. I also bumped up the contrast a bit to ensure that a web version would actually show the weave.
I spent studio time trying out all the kinds of paint and colors (including transparents) that I had in my studio. Well, I didn’t try out all of them, but I did try one sample of each, including textile paints (setacolor and liquitex, pearlized and regular), acylics (Golden and Basic student colors as well as Golden fluid acrylics and liquitex pure pigment), and, of course, oils.
Here’s what the hodge-podge looks like:
The top part of the canvas was painted mostly in acrylics, including textile paints. Down at the white stripe, I switched to oils. While it isn’t apparent in the photo, the textile paints, as one would expect, did least well on the primed canvas. Textile paints are meant to sink into the fabric, and primed canvas is meant to keep the paint, relatively speaking, on the surface. The acrylics, I thought, were most fun to apply to this textured primed surface. The oils did just fine, pretty much as one would expect. I has a moment of thinking I might switch to acrylics for the Senso canvases, but then I played with the layers and realized that with acrylics one loses, almost immediately, the blending quality of oils; acrylics dry too rapidly.
In addition, my stash has a better range of oils than acrylics. My acrylics are a pathetic mixture of good, bad, and just plain awful. I use them to add color to white gesso when I want a background that isn’t dead white. I sometimes throw them on textiles when I need some kind of surface design. And once in a while, I actually use the textile paints (which are acrylic based) to paint a textile piece. But I don’t think I want to make an investment in artist-quality acrylics to paint in the desert. It’s a bit dry there, and even with a retarder (which slows drying time) it would be like buying a new pair of shoes to wear in the marathon. Best not change media until after the November painting extravaganza.