Bare Naked Canvas

     I recently got a couple of comments on my post “The Camera Eagle Has Landed” that I would like to discuss here. The first was from Frank who admitted that my new camera was indeed better, but suggested (as a direct result of the improved-clarity-that-came-back-to-bite-me-in-the-ass) that I had not covered every fiber of the bare canvas and that perhaps I should if I ever expect to sell a painting to him (he who is on the top of my note-to-self of people not to sell to).

       My first response was to be defensive (yes, I can be defensive) and say that the painting was so bloody small (it is a tiny little miniature) that he really needed to cut me some slack. That was when Janet (who I like much better) wrote in and made a comment that it is sometimes a sign of a watercolorist since they often do not cover every bit of canvas and that she does not mind that. This got me thinking.

       I went back and started looking at a lot of my paintings. I always start portraits and still lifes with a toned canvas. It is usually a middle value and a neutral color. I rarely ever cover every micrometer of the canvas with  paint once I commence to actually paint. Below is a close up example of a pot I painted in which you can see the bare, albeit brownish, tone of the canvas at the bottom of the pot.









       In fact good ol’ Hermanz van Rijn didn’t cover every minuscule piece of canvas either FRANK. Here is a close up of his eyes from one of his self portraits where you can see the bare canvas, DUDE.







 (You’re damn right I deliberately put my work next to his. This is my blog and I’ll be arrogant if I want to.)

       Alright, maybe it’s true that I should have had a darker tone on that miniature tiny little bitty painting so that Frank couldn’t accuse me of not using enough paint. Then maybe Frank wouldn’t be so critical and he might have purchased the little guy. I wonder if he’d turn down a painting by my boy van Rijn too.

This entry was posted in Painting. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Bare Naked Canvas

  1. Debra says:

    I think Frank needs to get a life. The purpose of blogging is to communicate on a large scale with people of like interest. To help each other out, to encourage, to constructively criticize. Not to just hack at each other because you don’t like what you see or hear. If you don’t like it, go some where else. As artist we can choose to cover as much of the canvas as we want. Whatever it takes to get the mood or message across of what we are trying to paint.

  2. lbtowers says:

    Now now. We consider ourselves an equal opportunity blog here.

    But I love you Debra.

  3. I almost thought that maybe it was me who had made that comment, but I see it is another Frank. Whew!
    I am fond of leaving blank canvas showing through myself. Sometimes a toned canvas but sometimes just white. It looks fine to me and I don’t think it has an unfinished look at all.
    I say let it show.

  4. wrjones says:

    No, Frank – the saying is let it SNOW. As in Christmas is nearly here – and I wouldn’t mind waking up to find one of your paintings under my tree. Remember it is better to give …

  5. Hey…. I thought showing a little leg… er canvas… was kind of sexy,… not a bad thing at all…. But I guess it DOES depend on the painting and the tone of the canvas whether it enhances or detracts.
    I enjoy what what you paint, so let it shine on through if that’s what you wanted to do.

  6. Nava says:

    If I may speaketh in this non-watercolor forum… Uhm… my name is Nava and I am a watercolorist. As one of that masochistic tribe, I am not quite familiar with Da Rules when it comes to oils and acrylics. But I do know that one of the most fun and creative things in art is breaking the rules.

    So I actually don’t always save the precious white of the paper (the shock!) and I sometimes even (brace yourselves!) use black (the horror!) – can’t leaving some of the canvas bare be considered as a style, a signature of the artist?

    Just sayin’…

    Oh, and of what you showed us of this painting, I love the color combination.

  7. Chris Page says:


  8. Laughed my ass off ;)
    Can I say that?

  9. grfxho says:

    I like the bit of nudity, Lisa.

    (doing my part to help your blog stats!)

    I’m talking about bits of nude canvas, of course.

  10. Bill,

    Three cheers for bare canvas! I’m so glad you’re breaking the rules. (Why ARE there so many rules that we artists are supposed to follow???) I really like the contrast you get with lots of paint contrasting with the bare canvas.


  11. lbtowers says:

    Bless you Holly.


  12. Your right, where you leave something open, like the blank canvas (or toned actually) it creates real excitement, especially in the shadows, if you can have the restraint not to go into it too much.
    Love the blue and orange detail, could be a Fantin La Tour, keep it up.

  13. lbtowers says:

    Speaking of shadows, it is really beginning to look like Frank is hiding in some here. As the original instigator of this issue, I see he is not weighing in in the comment section for fear of getting virtual tomatoes thrown at him. Ah come on Frank.

  14. Jala Pfaff says:

    I think leaving some parts unpainted or very lightly painted adds to the effect.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s