There are toile pour peinture events more exciting for an artist than receiving a new set of paints and a fresh canvas. There are a lot of things to think about, however, when it comes to choosing the right surface for your painting; fabric, texture, weight and priming all have an effect on what kind of paintings that canvas is most suited to.
Traditionally, most canvases have been made from linen or cotton. Cotton is an inexpensive option that is easy to stretch and will hold up well to paint. Linen is more expensive, but is incredibly strong and durable. It is less prone to cracking than cotton and has greater longevity, so it is often the go-to choice for many professional artists.
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Once the artist has chosen a canvas, they will need to prepare it using gesso (usually a mix of plaster of Paris, glue, chalk or oil) or another primer. The primer will make the surface of the canvas either porous or non-porous. Painting on a non-porous surface will lead to a smoother finish that is easier for the paint to bond with.
While a canvas will provide the best surface for oil and acrylic painting, it is also possible to paint on other types of surfaces such as wood or metal. However, it is important to note that painting on these surfaces will have a different effect on the final result and may require more care in handling. For example, wood is not a great choice for large works as it will warp over time and the paint can crack on its surface.