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
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 www.newtraditionsartpanels.com 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 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.
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
Hi Shanna and Elizabeth! I am new to inspired to paint and so appreciate your offered content! I am loving your videos! So this video was so interesting because I did not know about all of the different linen and grounds! As an artist who is learning as I go but taking her art seriously, I was cringing realizing I have too many to count cheap cotton canvases not knowing there is an entire world out there. My question is- should I use these canvases just as studies/exercises? I heard Elizabeth say in the beginning she tells students to coat it several times with gesso. I have always done one coat. Does several coats make a big difference and are they then marketable? Thanks so much and I look forward to being a part of the team!
Hi Kimberly, First, thank you for joining our site and we are so happy you are enjoying the videos. One coat of gesso is still pretty absorbent. I don’t like it that absorbent so if i do add a couple more thin coats of gesso it helps with that issue. The better thing to do is to give it a coat of the Gamblin Ground. I LOVE THAT! the gamblin oil ground has just the right amount of grab but still lets you have transparent darks. Linen is the best. It’s more marketable and commands a higher price. Some knowledgeable collectors won’t buy anything unless it’s on linen. (which really is kind of dumb. If you love the painting, buy it). Hope this answers your questions.
It does help greatly! Thanks so much!
I had no idea there was a failure in adhesion for lead oil ground primed onto linen. Was this from personal experience? Have you consulted with a painting conservator to discuss this further?
Not sure what you are referring to. Lead oil ground can be applied to linen not straight to the linen because it will eat away the fibers. you need a layer between the linen and the oil ground like rabbit skin glue. Lead primed ground has been known to crack over time. Is that what you were referring to?
Of course! I forgot to mention the sizing! Thank you!
I’m trying to understand how the lead oil primed linen failed; how it came off the linen.
Btw did you or Shannon ever try laying down a couche before you begin painting on lead oil primed linen?
Did we say it came off the linen? I had paintings that the lead cracked.
I’m sorry! I misunderstood.
I have yet to paint on linen and was looking to order a few raymar c15sp panels to try out. Shanna, do you add another coat of ground to the c15sp panels or do you paint directly on the single primed surfaces? Also, Liz, what raymar panel would you recommend for your still lifes? Could I use the c15sp for still life’s and add a few coats of Gamblin Ground? Or would you recommend just starting with a different panel?
Kaitlyn, Shanna doesn’t add another coat of ground to the C15. In regards to the Raymar panels I have paintings on the L21 and the L64. I like them both. They are absorbent
You could of course use the C15 and paint still life on them. They are just a bit rougher than the C12. The only reason I add another coat is because of the tiny holes that the ground wasn’t adhering to. Look closely at the canvas. If you see tiny pin prick holes, add another coat of gamblin ground to it.
Thank you so much for your honest reviews of the upside and downsides of these products.
You are so welcome. We had fun doing it and learn something as well