STRECHER BUILD UP
Building up my own stretchers is also a part of my practice. By the process of building up the stretchers I can get the exactly sizes that I want. It involves several steps. Once I get used to it, it is a lot quicker to build up one. I really enjoy the process of cutting the wood and assemble them together.( The record was 6 stretchers finished within 5 hours.)
After building up the stretchers, I have to choose the ground that I want to paint on. I chose to paint on Linen, which have a good quality of holding up the paints and got a nature color.
PRIME THE LINEN :
Either use rabbit skin glue or Gesso on it.
-If I want to keep the original look of the linen, then I will go for the rabbit skin glue. (Simply apply two layers of it.)
-If I want to have a white and smooth back ground, then I will apply gesso on it. Normally, I will apply five thin layers of gesso to get a smooth and nice ground. Each layers need about half of a day to dry, and use sand paper on each layer.