Materials & Techniques

Primer and Unprimed canvas

Canvas is traditionally sealed with a primer paint before a painting is made. Sealing, or priming, the canvas creates an even surface and protects the canvas. Unprimed canvas is not sealed and thus absorbs paint or other materials differently than primed canvas. Sometimes the term raw is used to describe surfaces that are left unprimed. Understanding the primer (or lack thereof) is important for subsequent conservation treatments. Gesso is an example of a primer.