Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Canvas Size

Once I’ve defined a concept sketch (previous post), the next phase is to decide what surface that I should paint on. For me, I’ve tried paper, illustration board, etc and have decided that I prefer the standard stretched canvas. I like the feel of the canvas beneath my brush and I like the light weight. However, the biggest benefit, for me, of a stretched canvas, is that I can paint really large or small and do not have to worry about framing.

Since I do craft shows, I’m constantly transporting the paintings in my car. Over the years, I’ve had the typical issues of having the frame be dinged or damaged. If you are looking at costs, a well-primed canvas can be purchased/stretched for less than $20 (depending on the size). If you frame it, that would add another $50 - $100 for framing. Therefore, you have to sell the painting for a bare minimum of $100 just to break even. This doesn’t include the fact that the frame can be damaged, the cost of transport (more costs due to the weight of the frame), the cost of a show, etc.

Therefore, I work on canvases that are stapled on the back and I continue the painting on the side of the canvas. This way, the painting looks nice from any angle and, if there is some damage to the canvas, I can easily repair it by painting over the damaged part.

So, what sizes do I work on? This depends on the topic and how much of an impact I want to make. I typically work on 4 different sizes: 22 x 28, 16 x 22, 14 x 18, and 12 x 16. This allows me to have a variety of price ranges at a show. When doing craft shows, it is important to have some pricier items/larger paintings and a LOT of smaller/more affordable paintings. You want the larger paintings to bring people to your booth, but, most likely, people will walk away with the lesser expensive paintings.

So, for this painting, I’ve chosen the 16 x 22 canvas size.

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