Probably my favorite part of the Sorolla museum in Madrid was the collection of Sorolla’s small studies (some shown above).
In my classes, even my advanced students (who truly paint beyond me as their teacher) are required to do a 30 minute learning exercise. To make this exercise less precious, they are encouraged to paint these on inexpensive surfaces. Examples of such surfaces include 1. commercially prepared canvas paper (link). The disadvantage of this surface is that it does not allow very fluid paint movement. The paint seems to "sink into" it and it drags the brush movement. One intermediate student, frustrated by this awkward surface, experimented with adding one or two layers of gesso with a marked improvement. 2. a piece of centurion acrylic-primed linen pad (link) 3. a piece from a pad of centurion oil-primed linen pad: (link) superior in its brush movement and paint application
or 4. cast offs (inserts from your framer) of mat board that are primed with at least one coat of gesso
If something wonderful is painted during these exercises, most can be mounted. The canvas should be cut slightly larger than its support which could be a piece of masonite (hardboard) from the hardware store or foam board available from art grafix (link), Gesso can be used as an adhesive (reference). Rafael’s miracle muck is preferred (they do not ship this in freezing temperatures) (link). A tip I learned from Carolyn Anderson was to iron the back of rolled (and curled) larger pieces of oil-primed linen canvas to flatten them before applying adhesive. I think my notes (hard to read my handwriting) say then to apply the miracle muck adhesive with a foam roller, place the support onto the linen, flip the linen-support linen-side up, cover the linen surface with a cloth and iron it again. Notes also say to iron from the center outwards and NOT TOO HOT. Then, trim the linen being careful at the corners,
This is the second of 4 warm, and bright paintings this week.