After spending money on brushes and paints, a beginner might feel daunted by the prospect of having to shell out for canvas panels as well. Luckily, some manufacturers sell primed canvas sheets in pads, which are usually more cost-effective to buy than canvas panels or boards. One of these manufacturers is Mont Marte.
Mont Marte canvas pads are available in A5, A4 and A3 size, and generally have ten 280gsm canvas sheets each. They are relatively easy to find in shops; if your art supply store doesn’t have them, try your local newsagent, or even one of those little cheap junk shops that seem to be in every shopping centre. At $6 for the A4 pads and about $11 for the A3 ones (my shop didn’t have the small A5 ones), these work out to be a lot cheaper than buying individual panels and boards, making them excellent for those who just want to practice their techniques. If a painting comes out well, you can cut it out and frame it; otherwise you can throw that sheet away without feeling bad about wasting a canvas panel. The texture of the Mont Marte canvas pads seems a little rougher than most canvas, but this can be reduced by simply adding another layer of primer or gesso before you begin painting (I would especially recommend this if you are using oil paints, as I noticed a slight oily residue bleeding through to the back of the page when I was doing a painting with my oil sticks, but it is probably less important if you are using acrylics). It’s also much easier to carry around one of these canvas pads than having to lug around boards or panels if you are going out somewhere to paint in the field.
I would recommend Mont Marte canvas pads to anyone who wants to play with their paints or practice new techniques or ideas, but especially to beginners.