|Start, as you always do, by squaring off the stretchers. Use a mallet to get them true and check all four corners.|
|Once I had the fabric true on the warp and weft, I carefully folded it in quarters and set it aside.|
|Lining up the creases with the marked midpoints of my stretchers assures me the canvas will be truly square.|
|The first staples should be hand-tight, no more.|
|And, yes, you will probably have to remove and replace staples to get the cross straight, but it's worth it.|
|Work around the canvas in a circle, adding a staple to each side until you reach the edges. The linen doesn't need to be drum-tight,.|
|Trim the edges when you finish. (If you want to make gallery-wrap canvases, I can't help you; I frame everything.)|
|Then check the square again when you're finished.|
|Finally, time to pour a little acrylic gesso on your loomstate linen. (If you want the disquisition about why I don't use PVA and oil-based gesso, just ask.)|
|Use your strigil to push the gesso into the grain. At this stage, less is more; it's easier to add more gesso than to remove a gloppy excess from a canvas.|
And do the edges and clean up any ridges with an old spalter brush and you're done. Go have a beer; you've earned it!
Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in Maine in 2014 or Rochester at any time. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops!