The primary support refers to the image-bearing surface (e.g. canvas, wood panel) but there may also be an auxiliary support which in turn supports or strengthens the primary support (e.g. stretcher, strainer, wood battens).
Stretcher or Strainer – the wood frame over which a painting on canvas is stretched and fastened through the foldover edge (margins), typically using tacks or staples. A strainer has fixed joins whereas the joins of a stretcher are designed to allow for expansion so that tension in the canvas may be increased.
Canvas – the textile support on which the image is painted; cotton “duck” canvas and plain weave linen canvas are most commonly used. Some artists paint on textiles that were not intended for artistic purposes. A variety of weave types, fabric weights, and fibre types (linen, cotton, etc.) are possible.
Unorthodox supports may be utilized by artists, often for economic reasons. The reverse of an early work by Alberta artist Alex Janvier, RCA is shown here before treatment. The primary support was a finely woven cotton textile glued over an auxiliary support of corrugated cardboard cut from a 1950’s “Wagon Wheels” box. The painting was restretched over a rigid, inert support, but the cardboard was retained for owner Jackie Bugera, Bearclaw Gallery, Edmonton