Tips for Painting on Canvas

Posted by staff 03/11/2016 0 Comment(s)

A blank canvas is a great opportunity, but it can also be a source of stress. How should you start painting even if you are full of ideas about what to paint? These tips for painting on canvas will set you on the right track.


Prepare Your Canvas

Stretch your canvas or use a pre-stretched canvas and don’t forget to unwrap the plastic from your canvas. Next, prime your canvas. Usually, this is done with a substance called gesso, which comes in varieties that can be used with acrylic, tempera or oil paint. Gesso makes your painting surface archival because it protects the fibers of the canvas. It also makes the work surface a little bit softer for paint, which can help you use less paint to create your work of art and will also protect your brushes.


Set the Mood with A Tonal Background Color

You can apply an all-over tone to your canvas to instantly set a mood in your painting. For example, a coat of a light bluish-gray can give you a more moody surface for creating your desired look.


Set Up Your Canvas and Supplies

Have your paint brushes, water, palette knives and any other painting supplies ready will make your life and painting much easier if you set up your workspace in advance.


Choose Appropriate Brushes

Certain brushes are best for canvas painting than others. For example, your delicate watercolor brushes will get eaten alive on the sturdy canvas surface because they are too soft and delicate to apply paint assertively.


Create an Underpainting

This is a method of creating an outline, often in an opposing color, that can add depth to your finished piece even if it won’t be directly visible once you are finished.


Adjust Colors Appropriately

Acrylic paint will dry slightly darker than it looks when you are painting while oil paints will dry about the same color as they look when applied. So, adjust your color mixes accordingly so that the finished piece isn’t darker than you want it be. You can see how dark the swatch dries by painting a little bit of a color a piece of scrap paper.


Experiment with a Medium

A medium can be added to acrylic or oil paint to create cool effects in painting. There is a variety to choose from, ranging from oil paint media, which can make either a matte finish to acrylic media or a high-gloss which can add body, texture or gloss to your finished painting.


Have a Safe Space for Your Canvas to Dry

Be sure before you even start painting that you have a safe spot for the canvas to dry because even small canvases can prove unwieldy when wet. Be very mindful if setting it to dry on newsprint or paper, as even the slightest touch to the paint can cause sticking and messy cleanup.


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