Just as you are what you eat, your art is whatever you've used to create it; An Artist's technique is only as good as the materials he or she has readily available. Does that mean that if you have the best paint, or most expensive brushes, you'll suddenly posses the ability to paint like the (recognized) Masters of your particular craft? Certainly not; It still requires a great amount of knowledge, and skill, to be the best you can possibly be; But the right equipment can most definitely assist you in achieving your artistic goals.
Some Fact's About Linen
The Flax Plant is an annual, with stalks reaching from 20 to 40 inches in height, and spear shaped leaves, branching only at the top, each branch ending in a vivid blue flower (see photo). Note: The seeds of the flax plant are known as linseed, and we know linseed oil to be the most common base for oil paints.
Linen Canvas is made from the long (and extremely strong) fibers that originate from this plant, and is very expensive to manufacture. It is harvested by hand, and continues through a lengthy process to become the finished product that we're accustomed to seeing: Sitting on the shelves of our local art supply store, ready to be primed and/or painted on. The best quality linen is produced from the best quality flax; And the best flax comes from Belgium, or France, because of the prime growing conditions of those particular regions. It also repels dirt, and is moth resistant.
Linen Canvas is widely known for it superior quality, and strength. Throughout the years it has proven to stand the tests of time with the greatest durability, and the master artist's of old recognized it as the prime surface to adhere paint to; Resulting in the wealth of extraordinary works of art that we are privileged to view, appreciate, and emulate, even to this very day. Thus the desire to have the best quality available (when it comes to choosing my art supplies), has become a driving force in me. My paint, canvas, and brushes, must meet these standards of quality, not only for my work to look the way that I've intended (though it is of great importance to me that it does), but also for each piece of art to have maximum longevity.
As a collector, you also should never allow such matters to be overlooked. Quality of material should dictate to whether or not you invest in a painting (or any other work of fine art), because should you (depending upon the value of your investment) wish to resell the piece, or pass it on to your heirs, it must be able to remain intact, and maintain it's integrity throughout future years. Linen Canvas has certainly been put to the test, and I believe that it's reputation (for being the best) will continue to live on for centuries to come, and through paintings yet to have been created.