Guides to Fine Arts Like Painting, Designing, Architecture, Sculpture, Photography and More

By Al Case

The best material for Pet Paintings is oil, and the material best suited for oil is and always has been canvas. Canvas 'drinks' the paint so the brush strokes are accurate and never shimmy. Furthermore, oil retains full luster.

It is interesting to note that canvas wasn't always the choice of professional painters. Before 1400 the most popular material of the portrait artist, and other artists, was wood. Wood was fibrous, it 'drank' the paint, but it was expensive to make and prepare.

Along came the renaissance, the world opened up, and new technologies were found around the earth. One particular technology had to do with the propulsion of sailing boats, and this was to prove a boon to all painters, and to this very day. That's right, that stiff canvas used to catch the wind and push wooden ships and iron men across the seven seas turned out to be the perfect replacement for wood.

Canvas was originally woven from hemp. Hemp is another word for cannabis. The material was originally made by weaving the cannabis plant fiber in a tight pattern.

Canvas was probably first stretched over basic wooden planks; it took a while for wooden frames to catch on. This was probably around the fifteenth century, and the practice exploded in popularity. Every artist who was any good, and a few who weren't, were ecstatic over the new material.

As has been indicated, canvas 'drinks' oil, but that was only the beginning of the benefits. Canvas was also light, easy to transport, and much cheaper. Interestingly, because canvas is so easy to use it became possible to paint larger works, and the size of portraits literally exploded.

The next big happening, in the development of this painter's medium, was in the type of material used to make the canvas. During the industrial revolution American Cotton was less expensive, and therefore became more popular. The top tier of portraitists, the more famous artists, still preferred hemp, for it lasted longer, was stronger, and, here's something to think about, was less prone to the effects of mildew.

Today's canvas, used by the portrait artists everywhere, is usually made of cotton duck, this because of the large popularity (and decreased expense) of acrylics. More accomplished artists, which would be to say those fellows and gals who actually make a serious living with their brushes, choose linen, and this is because the top notch painters work with oils. Whatever the medium used, however, the true test is in the skill of the person doing the painting, and this especially holds true for the art of pet paintings.

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