Product Review on different Linens and Grounds

There are so many different types of linen and grounds that it can be very confusing.  We have put our experience to test with these different linens and grounds.   It’s important to understand that each person’s approach to painting is different and what might work for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another.  We hope that by watching this video and seeing our experience with each, you can judge for yourself which linen or ground will work for you.

Here are some companies that make oil primed linens that we recommend.  Please note that you can paint oils over an acrylic gesso ground but you can not paint acrylics over an oil ground

New Traditions Art Panels


RayMar Art

You can order a sample set of Raymar Panels by clicking here

Cotton and Linen are mounted to different surfaces.  Here are a few

We visited to bring you this information in helping you decide which linen is right for you.  There are different surfaces that the linen can be mounted to.  Both Shanna and Elizabeth paint on linen that has been mounted to Gatorfoam Panels.

Gatorfoam Panels

Gatorfoam panels are the perfect choice for an artist. They are a lightweight, manmade wood-polystyrene product that has an inert acidic content of 6.5~7.0 pH—inert meaning they will not become more acidic over time. They are less acidic than hardboard! The panels can handle all types of weather with ease. Whether you’re in rain, snow, or in the heat, the panels hold up quite well. The standard panel is 3/16” thick or a 1/2” panel is used for sizes 18”x24” and above. Raw unmounted Gatorfoam is also available in standard or custom sizes.

Baltic Birch – Premium Panels with Backside Triple-Coat Spar Varnish

We offer our linens mounted on 1/8” and 1/4” Baltic Birch. We seal the back of the panels with triple coat of Spar varnish. This seals the wood from moisture and minimizes warping (wood still has the tendency to warp). This also adds protection and quality for the archival concerns of your artwork. Thicker wood available on request.

Adhesive – BEVA is an acid free barrier

Our adhesive is BEVA. It is totally compatible with the size used on linens. It is designed specifically for art conservation. It is heat or solvent reversible. The linen will be preserved and if the support is damaged the linen can be removed and remounted to a new surface by a conservator. Reactivation with heat begins at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Care must be taken to avoid loosening the linen. It is advised not to leave panels in car windows or car trunks for extended periods of time

Linens and Cotton

The “L” before a number means that it is Lead Primed.  Many years ago Elizabeth painted on Lead primed linen and it was very slick to paint on.  Today New Traditions Art Panels now adds Calcite to the Lead priming which makes it more absorbent and not as slick.  It is easier to paint on that previously.  It is also important  to note that Lead Primed Linen can possibly flake off the linen over time so it’s not very archival.


Belgian sun bleached linen that is primed with Lead. It’s a smooth to medium weave…just slight bit of texture.


This is custom lead primed linen. It is smooth portrait grade linen with an irregular weave.


This is our own custom portrait linen with the Lead priming. It is Belgian linen with a weave that has a silky smooth finish. This is perfect for fine detail paintings.


This is our own custom portrait linen with Alkyd priming. It is Belgian linen with a weave that has a silky smooth finish. This is perfect for fine detail paintings.

Claessens Linens – All Claessens linens have titanium zinc oil priming.

  • C13 – Double primed portrait grade
  • C12 – Double primed slightly more texture than C13.   This is Elizabeth’s favorite Linen when another coat of Gamblin Ground has been added
  • C15 – Single primed medium tooth  This is Shanna’s favorite
  • C66 Single primed slightly more texture than C15


Alkyd primed medium coarse tooth. 350DP is the most textured linen we offer.  (This one was too rough for both Elizabeth and Shanna)


Alkyd primed fine to medium tooth.

Acrylic Primed Linen

These are our only linens that are compatible with acrylic gesso or acrylic paints.


This is a fine to medium tooth with an irregular weave.

RayMar L64C

Order through RayMar

Use coupon code INSPIREDBYRAYMAR when purchasing panels through their website and get a 15% discount

This is a really beautiful linen to paint on.  The leadlike linen grabs the paint a bit more so the paint doesn’t slide around too much.   Really nice linen for professional artists.

A quadruple ‘lead like’ oil primed Belgian linen with a luxurious, creamy surface.

L64C Artfix Belgian linen is a very fine, tight weave linen and a favorite of professional artists. The linen is beautifully hand primed with four coats of Artfix’s unique & proprietary ‘lead-like’ oil primer. The primer acts like lead primed linen, except without toxicity, and has a unique absorbency that allows paint to “bite” into the surface and create luminous undertones that glow from within.

FEATURES of Artfix L64C:

  • Sized twice with specially formulated sizing to completely seal the fabric
  • 4 coats of ‘lead-like’ oil primer for the qualities of lead with no toxicity
  • Unique absorbency paint can “bite” into surface for permanent adhesion
  • Extraordinary depth of color and luminous undertones
  • Fine, tight weave surface is versatile for both portraits and landscapes

Artfix Belgian linens are created for serious painters who insist on a superior surface and archival quality. For over 50 years, Artfix has been internationally recognized as the finest linen with a true conservator grade surface. All linens are meticulously hand primed in a small village in Provence, France by the Narozni family.

Centurian Linen Panels

Purchase through any art supply store.  Jerry’s Artarama 

Elizabeth uses this one quite a bit.  It’s great for studies as it’s very reasonably priced.  The only downfall is that it’s mounted to a MDF board which if gets wet can cause warping and damage the painting

  • This is an exclusive item specifically designed for oil painters. If you use any high quality oil color we urge you to use an oil primed surface like our canvas panels. Unlike universal ground, our oil priming chemically bonds with the paint and is non-absorbent allowing it to sit up on the surface with the correct refraction quality of the oil binder.
  • The superb receptive panel accepts even the thinnest oil color lay down without the paint breaking. It’s a permanent, primed surface as colors adhere better on it than any other universal primed canvas. It is acid free, archival, and perfect for artists of all skill levels.
  • Our Centurion canvas is used throughout the world by serious artists and ranges from dedicated students to the most world-famous artists. It is the teachers and famous artists that asked us to try to come up with an oil primed linen canvas that is affordable and we succeeded.
  •  11oz Oil Primed | 1/8″ Thick – Mounted on 3mm MDF Wood Board | Medium Weight and Texture