Canvas, Linen, and Painting Surfaces
Linen canvas with an oil primer is the classical standard for oil paintings. An acrylic primer, less expensive than oil primer, can be used with either acrylic or oil paints. Linen is difficult to prime and stretch properly, but it offers the smoothest and stiffest painting surface, one with proven longevity.
Cotton duck canvas is much less expensive than linen, and has become the most popular support for oil and acrylic painting, especially for students. A properly prepared cotton canvas has longevity similar to linen, and is more flexible and easier to stretch properly. However, cotton is considered too flexible for very large paintings. For both oil and acrylic painting, an acrylic gesso primer is generally used.