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How Old an 'Old Canvas' Can You Reuse? (& Poll)

By October 21, 2007

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Do you ever reuse an 'old canvas', one that's been a dud or that you no longer like? I call it giving the canvas the "polar bear in a snowstorm" treatment, that is I paint it white. I do first make sure the surface of the old painting isn't covered in dust before I do it (using acrylics a damp cloth generally sorts that out) and do add several coats of titanium white (a very opaque color) to minimize the risk of the old painting showing through. But is there a limit to how old an 'old canvas' that you reuse can be? This is the question asked on the Painting Forum by Migrator:
I have recently been given several old oil paintings that were completed probably 30-40 years ago. I would like to recycle the canvases with gesso and a texturing compound so I can paint on them with acrylics. Any advice?
Gerald has responded saying he'd "sand and wipe it clean from all dust" and that, being oil paintings, "after 40 years they should be fully cured and will not crack more." He'd "apply a good quality 'retouch varnish' all over the surface" and let this dry overnight. He'd then gesso as usual, leave to dry full, and the canvas could be used as usual. "Your painting will react as if you did it on a new canvas." Add your thoughts to the discussion...

Vote In the Poll: Do You Reuse Your Canvas?
1. All the time
2. Occasionally
3. Only if I've run out and the shops are closed
4. Never!
5. I don't paint on canvas
6. Something else (post a comment to tell us)
(View the results of this poll so far...)


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