Tuesday, January 31, 2017

310: How to Scrape a Canvas

–ONE obstacle to painting thickly is the limit of one alla prima painting session. Once the highly textured paint has dried, it is no longer as easy to add more paint. The solution is to scrape off the texture. This isn’t as damaging to the overall look as you might imagine–the illusion of texture often persists as do most of the scintillating shards of random color mixed into the strokes. I have salvaged many paintings that otherwise would have ended up in the reject pile. It doesn’t always work, but often much of the composition, values, and hues only need minor adjustments to arrive at a masterful painting. Because of this ability to fine tune, it’s a technique well worth exploring. At the very least you will be able to explore why the painting failed and how to correct it next time. Many of these experiments become roughs for future paintings.

Below I list the tools I use in the accompanying video. In addition to using the 3M wet-and-dry sanding blocks as sharpening tools, I also use them to sand the final surface of my scraped canvas (just be sure that any exposed paint is completely dry). I always have a set of these blocks in the studio.

3M Sanding blocks: extra-finefine, medium, course, for sharpening tools and sanding canvas.
Hole Cutters: for scraping off paint from tools and plucking off knobs of dried paint.
Ceramic loop tools: when sharpened the large loop tool is my main scraping tool.
Stropping compound: for getting a fine edge on the knives and ceramic tools.
Canvas knives: for general, all-purpose scraping. Knife shaped and lozenge shaped.

I hope this technique works well for you. Let me know if you have found other tools that work well.

Brad Teare –January 2017

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