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The Canvas Road Show
by L. Diane Johnson NAPA PSA NAPPAP

MANY TIMES I've been asked about how I travel with canvas for painting en plein air, particularly when traveling overseas. More recently, artists have inquired about the compact storage of paintings. Since these two topics intersect, I'll demonstrate my process of preparing canvas to take "on the road."

This is nothing new or uniquely orginal. I adapted much the idea from a student I had in Monet's garden a few years ago. She painted in thin oil washes, but I generally paint in acrylic when traveling, so this method works well for both media.

Pictured above is a painting I created on one of the boards I'll be demonstrating...

First, let me preface this article by saying, when painting locally or in my studio I generally purchase pre-stretched, pre-primed linen or canvas "off the shelf." I still prefer stretched canvas to boards although as you'll see, I do use both. But when taking many stretched canvas' traveling space prohibitive, particularly if for longer than a week.

With this in mind, the photo above clearly shows the difference in size between standard stretched canvas and the traveling boards I'm going to create. Here are 6 canvas' and 6 masonite boards of differing sizes with canvas wrapped on each. As you'll see, I can wrap each board with up to 4 canvas' and still only take up the space of two and a half standard canvas! That's right...if you do the math, that's about 2 and a half paintings to 24!

Not!! Don't forget the boards! I prime the boards before wrapping with canvas so they can be paintings too...that gives me a total of 30 paintings in the space that would only hold 2 and a half standard canvas'!

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