Sunday 3 June 2012

Face to Face: Some Commercial Solutions to Transporting and Storing Wet Canvases

Further to my post on cardboard painting carriers, I have come across a couple of commercial solutions to the problem of carrying wet paintings that are not excessively expensive or heavy. Both of the solutions considered here involve holding two canvases, of similar sizes, a small distance apart from one another. If held face-to-face, the theory is that they will protect one another.

As I noted in a comment on my previous post, this idea doesn't protect your paintings terribly well from unruly vegetation, but it all depends on where you are taking the canvases. It is quite handy if you were planning on making two paintings on one expedition - and, of course, you don't need to go to the trouble of making a bespoke box for each size of canvas. You just need two that are the same height.

The two solutions that I have come across are clips and clamps. Here they are in action:

I have actually used the clips twice; once when I painted Watership Down and Cottington's Hill, and once when I made a single painting of Cannon Heath Down (I brought an unused canvas home with me - it got a few smears of paint on it around the edges, but that didn't matter).

I haven't used the clamp at all. Part of the reason for this is the lack of expeditionary opportunity since I got the clamp set. But part of it is that the clamp actually has rather sharp points, and I'm a bit concerned about the indentations it makes on the canvas surface (theoretically, they shouldn't matter because they are in the sacrificial edge area that will be covered by the frame, but I worry about holes going all the way through).
The clips, on the other hand, are smooth. They do pick up a bit of paint (you can see a few smears of blue on the one shown below), but they don't make me concerned for the integrity of the support itself.
Both solutions are a bit fiddly. As soon as you get the first pair of edges fixed, the opposite edges will spring together and paint will - if present - inevitably get transferred between canvases. But it's only the very edges, and they don't matter too much (nonetheless, I try to make sure that both paintings are the same way up). I almost always get paint on my hands, too - but that's nothing new!

It's worth practising with unpainted canvases first.

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