I stretched my first canvases in months today. I like the prep work. Stretching my own canvases makes me feel that there is more of "me" in the final work. I also get a feeling of accomplishment every time I finish one. The flip side is that stretching canvases can be a huge pain, especially larger ones. I'm constantly having to check the corners to make sure that they are square, especially when the stretcher bar tongue and grooves have too much play, causing there to be too much movement. I have a system for cross-bracing that works...most of the time.
Today, was one of those days when I had to practice a lot of patience with the larger of the two canvases above. A lot of turning on the edges, checking with an L-square, and taps from a rubber mallet finally got me where I wanted to be. That's part of why I chose to work on wood panels over the past few months. Aside from wanting to work with a different surface, all I have to do with panels is seal the surfaces and paint. There's much less time and work involved. The problem now was that I was getting tired of working only on the wood surfaces and started longing for the feel of canvas again. I also like the absorbent nature and slight give of canvas when it's being painted on. I'll probably keep going back and forth between the two surfaces for some time to come.