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Stretching Your Own Canvas

In a world of fast and convenient it's easy to discount options that take extra time to execute. For an artist, buying pre-stretched canvas is certainly a time saver compared to stretching your own, but are you missing opportunities to level-up your finished painting? I recently spoke with artist Laura Dunn who is a strong proponent of stretching her own canvas and loves to offer this extra level of craftsmanship in her work.

Laura's studio business Mac & Lucille is based in St. Simons Island, Georgia where she paints the bold, bright florals and botanicals she's known for. She first started stretching her own canvas in a college art class and fell in love with the process. She continued stretching them after college, but once her children came along, she switched to pre-stretched. With an average time of 30 - 45 minutes to stretch one, it was more important to "just keep going." Now that her kids are older, she has welcomed the process back into her studio practice.

One of the reasons she loves stretching her own is that she finds the canvas is much more absorbent with the paint. With store bought, she feels like the paint just sits on top. But, when she works on raw canvas that she gessos herself, she experiences a completely different feel and can see the fine layers of pigments.

What about cost? If you've bought a pre-stretched canvas, especially the larger ones, you know they don't come cheap. Laura took the steps to price out materials and yes, they are a little cheaper. However, time is money too so once you factor that in, the price difference is minimal. And those who are just learning to stretch canvas can expect to take a little longer until they get the process down.

During our conversation, Laura shared the tools she uses, tips on the stretching process, how to tackle the "bulky corner" and who may want to skip stretching all together. So, is stretching canvas the right move for you? Watch our full conversation and find out for yourself. And be sure to follow Laura on Instagram to keep up with her latest events and new releases.

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