Then I tightly stretch, by hand, unprimed fine weave linen around the edges and staple on the back every few inches. When initially cutting the linen I allow a minimum of 2” per side so that the fabric is more easily gripped.
The next step is to saturate the linen with water, and apply acrylic gesso with a brush or sponge. This has the combined effect of tightening the fabric and thinning the first coat of gesso.
When the canvas is dry, I lightly sand the surface, then apply gesso again, thinned with about 25% water. Repeat the process.
Sometimes I tint the third coat of gesso with a warm color . If I have a definite painting in mind I use a complement. For instance, a light orange if there's going to be a blue sky. Yellow for lavender hills, etc. Sometimes a pale gray just to tone down that sometimes huge white elephant.
Acrylics don't become somewhat transparent as the painting ages, as oil paintings do, so there is no need to work on a white canvas for luminosity. The exception being the artist who applies acrylics in transparent washes, as in watercolor.
I do a preliminary drawing on the canvas with watercolor pencil or charcoal, then usually jump in and lock in the drawing with brush and thinned acrylic.
An exception to this habit was, rare for me, starting at the top of the painting and working down. No glazing or over painting or fiddling or going too far.
" Yellow Field", acrylic on linen, 24 x 32"