Watercolour on canvas


You’re just browsing the web and sometimes you come across something that makes the creative juices flow even more. On youtube I watched movie after movie, you know, some suggestions are made and because you don’t know any better, you go and watch them.

Then I saw this lady, Liz Chaderton, working with watercolor on canvas.

Now you should know that canvas consists of stretched cotton or linen pre-treated with gesso, a kind of primer with glue and acrylic paint. The gesso ensures that the fabric is mainly water-repellent. Gesso and watercolor are not friends!

But then how did Liz do that? Because what she did was astonishingly beautiful, soft, transparent. Can you make a gesso that is absorbent so you can go over it with water?

The Daniel Smith brand had the solution: watercolor ground, but also Liz herself had a recipe for making water-absorbent gesso. And Gerstaeker also had a house brand gesso stating that it is also suitable for watercolor backgrounds. The experimentation phase has begun, but where shall we do that on?

My first thought was of course canvas, the cotton version, until shortly afterwards I saw a program on TV about the clothing industry and that it still does not work in a circular way. People are well on their way to be able to recycle parts of the clothing, but the synthetic seasonal clothing is still only worn for 1 year (1 season) and then discarded and taken to the incinerator or to poor countries where they are left with our rubbish.

Wait! Let me think…. I still have a piece of synthetic liner lying around somewhere in the most horrible shade of green…. I first practiced on that with different types of gesso.

Now create a canvas. I’ll need slats, or a ready-made pinewood frame. Does anyone have a staple gun I can borrow? Yes? Splendid!

And there I was, on the floor, with a pile of newspapers and a blanket stretching a cloth of 24×30 cm under the frame. Tjak! Tjak! The first staples are in place. That was pretty scary because it makes such a loud noise and has a force on it that would require a trip to the hospital if I lost control of that thing. Practice makes perfect, also in this. I’ll have to practice a lot of canvasses, but the first one is a fact.