Support ~ Art Glossary

We all need support. An art support is quite literally the base/foundation/surface the artist uses has their creative canvas (Puns always intended!). Art supports consist of a variety of materials such as:

  • Canvas
  • Paper
  • Wood
  • Plexiglass or Acrylic Sheets
  • Metal
  • Fabric
  • Masonite or Hardboard

Supports are the very foundations of artistic expression and are what every creation is built on. For any piece of art to do whatever the artist intended, the proper supports are required. That sketch of your favorite person or animal won’t make it to the next generation on your new newsprint no matter how well it is handled. However, do we even want every sketch to make it to the next generation?

I enjoy the knowledge that my work will be handed down if it’s wanted. I do plenty of sketches on low grade paper but my art has become something I want to give the future if for no other reason other than it is colorful and brings me joy. That means, I prep my supports with proper primer/grounds or techniques that may be time consuming but so worth it when you consider where they can land in a century. What basement or wall will hold them?

…foundations of artistic expression…

Can a support really make that much difference if for example we are doing the same piece with the same pigments and supplies? Long story, short… YES!

Strathmore Charchoal 500 Series

Here’s more of that story if you are interested:

I find that the art I see is built on depth. Whether that is depth of textures or concepts, an artist spends those moments to get the aesthetic right. I love texture and color. They are my most treasured vision. I love the way textures work together to add the depth I’m looking for. Not all supports are made for multiple layering techniques and multimedia play.

Sketchbook Primed in Liquitex Clear Gesso

My brand new gift paper from Hubs isn’t even close to what I was expecting. It is archival but thin; cotton but the texture is very patterned. It will not be for what I had hoped. It is however amazing for getting concepts down that will now be archival and show my process after I’m gone. Experimentation with new support types has allowed my art to become more what I had hoped it could be.

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