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Canvas Painting Tips

Art comes in many shapes, dimensions, colours and a variety of different attributes. Art has been revolutionized over and over as times have changed, decades have passed and technology has developed. However, one sentiment always remained – the desire for your art to endure through time as long as possible.


Canvas is one of the oldest and most used art surfaces in the history of mankind. Canvas offers a ton of advantages, some of them being –


  1. One of the best surfaces when keeping longevity in mind.
  2. Extremely durable and built to last
  3. Size varieties
  4. Budget-friendly
  5. Convenient & lightweight


Following, we list a few tips in order to make sure that you have the very best experience painting on canvas!


Prepare your canvas

You have the choice of buying your canvas pre-stretched or stretching your canvas yourself. Next, you need to prime your canvas with gesso in order to create a surface for your paint to properly adhere to. Gesso makes the work surface softer and absorbs into the fibers of the surface, preventing any excess use of paint. Gesso adds a layer of texture to the surface it is applied to, enabling the canvas to grip the tip of your brush with ease – protecting your paintbrushes and fibers in your canvas. Gesso comes in different varieties based on your preference between acrylic, oil or tempera paint.


Lay down your initial wash with a tonal background

It is common practice for many artists to start off with an initial wash of colour after applying the primer. This helps with setting the mood for the painting, the use of blues and greys for a cooler climate and reds and yellows for a warmer, more inviting painting.


Set up your work space & be organised

Decide on the layout of your supplies and positioning of your easel/canvas, ensuring that your setup is best suited for your comfort. Ensure you have a palette available for mixing your colours, as your canvas is 100% not recommended to be used as a mixing palette – it is incredibly difficult to clean or scrape away paint if you make a mistake. We recommend the usage of glass as a palette – as the surface is smooth, it mixes incredibly well – plus, it is easily washable and reusable.


Lay down your initial sketch

A great way to get an idea of the layout, placement and composition of the piece that you are planning to paint is to sketch it onto your canvas beforehand.


Choose the appropriate brushes

Every painting surface has a set of brushes that works best on them – the same applies to canvas. Using inappropriate brushes might cause you to struggle or even result in a compromised painting. You will need specially designed oil or acrylic brushes with longer handles and firmer bristles, helping to spread thicker paint across the canvas. Palette knives also produce gorgeous effects, adding 3 dimensional features to your painting.


Experiment with different mediums

Your painting is your creative playground. Play around with different mediums in order to see what you like and prefer the most, based on your vision for your painting. Oil paint will add a high gloss effect, while acrylic will add more texture.


Dry your painting safely

When drying your painting, it is vital to keep in mind which medium of paint you used, as it alters the way you should be drying your canvas painting. An oil painting should be stored in a dry, warm environment. Acrylic should be stored in a well-ventilated area in order to harden and dry quickly.


Lastly, share your work and be proud of the piece of art you created!

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