I thought I would write my first blog here on the basics of how I get away cheap on materials. Maybe you other artists will find this useful.
A few months ago, I got very inspired to paint large paintings - 30" by 40" and such. But canvases, especially "gallery-wrapped" ones which don't need a frame are unbelievably expensive, at least for me. I just priced a 30" by 40" canvas at $45.81! On sale!
So I discovered masonite. I buy a 4' by 8' piece of it at Lowe's and have someone cut it to the sizes I want. Then I get strips of wood -1" by 2" and have those cut as well the same size as the masonite pieces. I go home and glue the wood strips to the back of the masonite "canvases", let them dry and then make the gesso. Yes, I make my own gesso. I do it with Elmer's glue, some regular white house paint and some plaster of Paris. You can youtube gesso and find a few variations. Then when it all dries, I'm ready to paint.
When the painting is done or while you're painting it or even before, you can paint the sides however you want - by continuing the painting onto them or painting a harmonious solid color all around.
I also like masonite because it's very sturdy and less likely to get damaged - as one of my canvases did in transit to a show - poked a hole in it.
All this costs about $10 total to make that large painting surface. A bit of work but very satisfying to me.
So there you have it. I hope you found this useful - to you or some artists you know.