Senso Linen “canvas”

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:

sensoCanvasHere 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.

sensoCanvasWeaveHere’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.


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9 Responses to Senso Linen “canvas”

  1. Susanne says:

    Did you have any issues with vanishing ?


    • juneu says:

      A response to my blog entry on Senso , clear-primed canvas:

      Good heavens, Susanne, that was written in 2009 and I have no idea what happened to any of the acrylic painted canvases. The oil-over-acrylic (done at the Goldwell Open Air Museum residency) hung around the studio for years and are now in the process of being painted over. So I never varnished anything on the senso canvas. Sorry.

      June O. Underwood

      On Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 10:04 AM, southeast main wrote:



      • susanne says:

        Thank you for answering…just varnished a piece and it is looking awful…very spotty… like wet in spots….hoping it is just a matter of a very long drying time…


      • juneu says:

        Acrylic or oil? Did you apply it very thinly? I’m no expert on varnishing, but like you, I’d expect it to dry, sooner rather than later. Can’t think of what the problem would be, especially if the canvas had been pre-primed. Check Gamblin paint’s site on varnishing. Even if you aren’t using their primer, my memory is they had some good tips. And try googling “why won’t my varnish dry” or some such. This is a puzzle.

        June O. Underwood

        On Mon, Mar 7, 2016 at 11:12 AM, southeast main wrote:



      • susanne says:

        It is an oil…actually…three small oils…where the linen is not painted it has darkened in spots…holding my breath and hoping it is a matter of time…thank you for your suggestion.


  2. I am going to have to find a place to buy some of this beautiful Senso !


  3. Sheila says:

    Yes, I know…I’m hoping the idea in the recesses of my brain comes together as anticipated and fairly quickly, because my mind and time have been on the second Bishop’s Close and now some photo transfer experiments for a birthday block. Eek indeed! Then again, I seem to remember that was part of the point in challenge and its deadlines, that it would get us moving just when we’d be prone to rest on our laurels (or at least our backsides – lol).


  4. June says:

    What a great idea! I can also definitively say this is mixed media — I threw some of the oil on top some of the transference acylics, just to see what would happen (not much, actually, but it was fun to try).

    So you want this kind of thing to work on, eh???? Oh no, too easy. But I just realized it’s the 10th of September and I haven’t yet started to think about this month’s challenge. Eeeeeeeeek.


  5. Sheila says:

    “Sunset & Storms In The Snowy Wild West.” Sorry – it just came to me – a name for your sample piece! I can just see you sending it to me as our next challenge… VBG


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