Why Don’t You Just Use Black Canvases?

Why don’t you just use black canvases? I’ve been asked this question a few times and it baffles me a little. To me that is equivalent to asking someone who uses graphite... why don’t you just use a #2 pencil for your work? Or a watercolour artist... why don’t you use the same paintbrush for everything? 

There are a few reasons I prefer to paint white canvases black before I create my images...

1) Black canvases aren’t easy to find in my area. I prefer to be able to feel a canvas before I buy them, eyeball sizes and get a feel for what it will look like. I’ve only ever been able to find black canvases on small regular canvases and I prefer to have many options in a gallery canvas. Painting white canvases black allows me endless possibilities for my work.

2) Painting the canvas allows me to prime the surface. I love a good heavy body layer of acrylic before the main image goes down, I find the paint adheres better, there isn’t cracking or image distortion with a good primed surface.

3) I’m super super picky on my black tones. Black canvases tend to have imperfections and look dull and almost dusty. When I do black and white images I want it to be as clean and as sharp as I can get it. Not all black tones are equal.... bone black is more translucent whereas Carbon Black is one of the more “truer” blacks I have found. My bases preference is Carbon Black from Golden, it’s heavy body, doesn’t need a lot of coats and is very forgiving for touch ups and really takes the finishing sealing coat well. 

4) I love the process... priming a canvas is like building your foundation for your main piece. Every step you take in creating a piece needs to be treated equally and with care and your base coat is no different. Without a strong base coat the rest of your piece just falls flat and I take pride in a flawless base coat just as much as I do the image. 

For myself as an artist I want my hands on every step of the process so when I present the final product I know every decision was mine to make and that makes each piece unique and I can stand behind the quality I offer to people.