Can I paint on an unstressed canvas?

I have a big project I’m working on, biggest one I’ve ever done. I bought canvas from a roll to get about 72 in x 102 in worth.
Problem is, because of the virus going around I have to work from instead of the place i was going to hang it up. It’s too big to transport if I strech it over a frame, and I dont even know if I can get those supplies right now.
I’m wondering if it’s possible to just paint on unstreched canvas and still be able to display it that way. I have left some extra room just in case I do have to.

Need more info for others who follow. What medium are you using… ie. oil, acrylic, dye, etc.?

Found this link, hope it helps.

My thinking is if you use heavy impasto oil or acrylic strokes, like painting with a pallet knife, you will risk most. Not sure if Jackson Pollock painted on loose canvas on the floor and then stretched it? I’m thinking that how long after you paint and then stretch it will be a factor.

Best wishes for good solutions, in these trying times most people are trying to help extend projects like this.


Thanks for the link I’ll take a look at it. I’m using just acrylics, trying not to glob it on or anything. I was trying to find out if it was imperitive for canvas to be stretched. This thing would be too big to transport if I did. I’m wondering if it affects the quality at all, will canvas fray easier? Wrinkle?

Of course, if you’re using acrylic it will dry and contract as it does, so subsequently stretching that canvas means stretching the paint that’s on and through it.

Though acrylic is also very plastic in texture so I would expect you would be able to get away with a certain amount of stretch, but who can say how much before the paint starts splitting and tearing?

Not me.

Environmental conditions plus the force imposed on the canvas by your hanging method: those two factors have too many variables to process without some kinda software.

Hi There:

Even though reviving an old discussion but just curious if you’ve managed to resolve the issue?

If so, obviously disregard however nonetheless others faced with a similar situation might find my suggestions useful, personally acquired through a string of hard lessons learnt.

Now if I understand correctly, the intent is to paint over a large area of unstretched canvas using thin too medium acrylic washes, plus assuming the canvas is also un-primed, as well?!

So simply apply one or two layers of gesso primer which will help mitigate cracks…etc from occuring once the work is fixed too stretcher bars together with another handy tip, by using a medium (binder) when applying paint to surface.

This in turn has an effect to enable elasticity of the material (pigment) hence again lessening overall damage as mentioned above throughout the process of mounting the piece for display.

Hope this was helpful.