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The canvas, and its priming (gesso), is the foundation of a painting. In painting the term canvas usually means a coated (primed) fabric, ready to use. Practically every type of woven textile has been utilised at some time for paintings, with linen, cotton, hemp and jute being the most common.
The ground (priming) performs the following important functions:
1. It isolates the support (canvas) from damaging ingredients in the paint and so prevents disintegration of the canvas
2. The ground provides a surface that accepts the paint and allows adequate adhesion. Too much absorbency will soak up the binder from the paint that can result in cracking, while too little absorbency can produce a paint film that is liable to peel off
3. In transparent and semi-transparent painting techniques the ground enhances colours by providing a white, reflective background.
The best quality grounds are always double primed. All canvas manufactured by Wholesale Canvas Australia is genuine double primed with artists' quality gesso which remains flexible and easily transportable.