Belgian Linen Canvas, grown from the flax produced in Belgium and the Netherlands, is still considered to be the superior choice for Artists who want to work on a specific textured cloth.
Machine coated a number of times with either oil or universal primer, or glue sizing, very specific methodologies are employed to obtain a uniform surface. For an oil canvas, zinc white bound with linseed oil is used as the primer. A coat of titanium white is applied after drying. With acrylic or universal linen, two coats of titanium white are applied with an acrylic binder.
All varieties of Belgian linen canvas, varying in weave texture, priming type and cloth weight, are imported by Winsen’s Canvases as pre-primed, 2.1 meter wide rolls. The cloth is also available unprimed or, what is becoming increasingly popular, clear glue sized, allowing the unique canvas colour to come through the artwork. Although not an exact science, heavier graded linens are seen as more suitable for larger panels, while a lighter grade is sufficient for smaller paintings.
As with Cotton Duck, the natural linen fibres can respond to changes in humidity, swelling in humid weather and shrinking in dry weather. The stretcher frame therefore needs be keyed with suitable wedges in the expansion corners and cross-bar struts. That been said, the warp and weft threads are equal in weight and strength, making it less susceptible to expansion and contraction. Linens do retain their natural oils, and this helps preserve fabric flexibility over time.
Given their reputation and popularity among Artists, Belgian Linens are highly-valued. Working with Linen brings the pleasure of painting on a cloth that can be specifically suited to the artist’s style and preference and carries the nostalgia of using a material trusted by the Old Masters.
Belgian Linens include:
- nr.12 – oil primed. Fine to medium weave.
- nr.166 – universal primed. Medium weave.
- nr.13DP – oil primed. Very fine weave.
- nr.168 – universal primed. Medium to course weave.
- nr. H4 – oil primed jute (not a linen). Very course weave.
- nr. 1H4 – universal primed jute (not a linen). Very course weave.
- nr. 013 – un-primed linen. Very fine weave.
- nr. 013GL – clear glue primed. Fine weave.
- nr.113 – universal primed. Very fine weave.
- nr. 029GL – clear glue primed. Course weave
- The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques. Fifth edition. Ralph Meyer
- The Artist’s Pocket Guidebook. Jim Cobb and Kirk Miller
- The Painters Handbook. Mark David Gottsegen.
- The Materials of the Artist and their use in Painting. Max Doern