I haven’t made a painting in 15-20 years, so maybe I’m due. This time I have a camera in my pocket, so I started to document the process.
I had been thinking about doing one for a long time, and I wanted to try to make my own stretchers out of 1x2s and quarter-round. But whenever I went to one of the big-box stores I could never find enough 1×2 that wasn’t badly warped. So I ordered some stretcher bars online. Putting them together is always a challenge, because the best I can get is 3 out of 4 corners at right angles. In theory, geometry says that’s not possible. In practice, it’s another story. But this is close enough.
I neglected to photograph the stapling process. You start with one staple in the back at the middle on one side, then go to the middle of the opposite side, pull the canvas taut and add a second staple. Repeat the process on the adjacent sides. Then staple from a middle towards a corner, pulling taut as you go. Go to an adjacent side and repeat. Do that until the sides are stapled all the way. When you flip it over like below, there may be some ripples in the canvas. Pull tight and add staples to get rid of them.
Now it’s ready for priming. Did I mention how long it’s been since I did this? Somehow my gesso and medium remained liquid.
My 4 inch brush hasn’t held up as well. It fell apart before I was halfway done. I stuck the bristles back in and continued though.
Doing this without my glasses means I don’t have to see any minor problems. Hopefully that stray bristle in the corner got brushed away. I prime the edges as well.
That’s it for the first coat. There may be some small lumps in the gesso, like the one near the bottom edge, so I may sand it a little before the next coat.
It hasn’t been a total mess so far, which is promising. This is tedious work, but it’s important to get it right so we don’t have intractable problems down the road. Bob Ross always had this done off camera, so you’d only see the joy of painting. The biggest problem so far is that the canvas is 32×48, and the table I’m using is only 32 inches wide. It will be problem if my paints have solidified. Maybe I should have checked first? On the plus side, I found my antique pencil sharpener in one of the art supply boxes.