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.

As a painter there are two things you need to know about the canvas you are painting on. How is it woven and what is the quality of the gesso.

Characteristics of a strong woven support fabric are:

  • warp and weft threads of equal weight and strength and of the same material
  • close and tightly woven yarn with a square weave
  • loomstate canvas without bleaches or conditioners

The most commonly used woven fabric support used by artists and art students is cotton duck.

15oz and 12oz cotton canvas

These are the best quality cottons, and when woven with the above characteristics they provide a very good support for artwork. Wholesale Canvas Australia manufactures premium grade artists' canvas of 12 and 15oz weights that is a double filled, twin thread construction. This combined with a square weave, offers the most stable support able to meet the demands of humidity and temperature fluctuations, stretches well and looks good.

10 oz cotton canvas

Canvas of this weight is better for smaller artworks because typically it is available as 2:1 weave. This means the fabric is twice as strong in one direction as the other so not a totally stable support.


Sourced from the flax plant linen fibres are stronger than any other natural fibre. The fibres range in length from 25 to 90cm and are round unlike cotton fibres that are flat. This shape provides extra strength as well as an interesting painting surface. Wholesale Canvas Australia supplies linen woven from Belguim flax, the best in the world.

Priming - Acrylic Gesso Grounds

The ground (priming) performs the following important functions

  • It isolates the support (canvas) from damaging ingredients in the paint and so prevents disintegration of the canvas
  • 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
  • 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.