Stretched Canvas vs. Panel: Which is Better?

This canvas shows a “spider” crack pattern usually caused by poking a brittle painting on canvas.

What Studies of Paintings on Canvas Reveal

Although the majority of paintings today are painted on canvas, it is not the best choice for painting—in fact, they lead to cracking early in the life of a painting.

For over a hundred years, most of the causes of cracking have been explored: humidity and temperature, expansion and contraction, stress, and paint embrittlement. The symptoms were obvious—cracking and paint loss—but the causes were not clearly understood. In 1982, Marion Mecklenburg and other scientists at the Smithsonian Institute reported the first systematic explanation of painting mechanics, especially that of canvas paintings, while other researchers at the Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) soon followed.

Advantages of Panels

Rigid supports such as wood panels provide several critical advantages over stretched canvas. They are not susceptible to tearing, sagging, and deforming. Stretched canvases are relatively weak, and you can easily dent or damage a stretched canvas during storage. Aluminum composite materials (ACM) panels offer additional advantages over wood supports. ACM consists of two thin veneers of aluminum supported by a solid plastic core. They are not prone to warping, contraction, or expansion due to relative humidity changes. Furthermore, they are lightweight and store easily in the narrowest space—less than a quarter inch. 

Teresa Oaxaca on Painting Panels

In this video, I am painting on the new Artefex Allinpanel Extra-Fine Lead-Oil Primed ACM Panel. I just received this about a week ago; it’s a brand new offering from Artefex that I am having a go at. I’ve always preferred lead-primed canvases due to the “lead on lead” contact that I like. The paint always glides on best with oil-primed canvases, especially on the lead-primed version. In this video, I have made the first pass at the face and am working away at the background. One of the nice things about panels is that you don’t have to worry about stretching or adding keys later if the atmosphere makes your stretcher bars contract or expand. They are ready to go and frame pretty easily.

Teresa Oaxaca

ACM Panels—The Ideal Support Anywhere

This was painted on a lead-primed canvas Artefex ACM panel. My first time trying lead priming! It provided very interesting qualities as far as staining the panel goes. The smoothness of the panel leads to strokes laying on thicker-looking than usual which is great. I’m excited to use the rest of my lead-primed lead-primed Artefex ACM panels.

Pavel Sokol

Make Your Work Last Long on Artefex Allinpanels

A traditional oil-primed canvas surface on a rigid support designed to make your work last. Its smooth, buttery surface will receive your paint like a dream, and with the innovative rigid ACM support, your paintings will not tear, warp, sag, or stretch. Plus, it can be used in all weather conditions!

See all available Artefex Allinpanels

Artefex Allinpanel is lead-oil canvas mounted to a rigid ACM panel

More Artefex ACM Panels

  1. Lead White Oil-Primed ACM Panel
    Lead White Oil-Primed ACM Panel

    Starting at CA$18.50

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