8 Invaluable Tips for Painting on Canvas


Painting on a canvas is a great way to showcase your artistic inclinations. A canvas is sturdy, lightweight and affordable, making it a superb surface to paint with acrylic and oil paint. When a canvas is treated with gesso, it is archival. In the world of painting and art, it is stretched across a
wooden frame. You can either purchase a stretched canvas or you can stretch it on your own. You can buy a set of canvases of any size you want.

Here are 8 tips on how to go about painting on canvas:

1. Prepare your canvas:

Stretch your canvas or use a pre-stretched canvas. Make sure you unwrap the plastic from your canvas before using. Next, prime your canvas using gesso which comes in varieties that
you can use for acrylic, oil or tempera paint. Gesso makes the work surface softer to paint. This ensures that you can use less paint. It also protects your paint brushes and the fibres in your canvas, making your canvas archival.


2. Setting the mood of the painting using a tonal background:

You can apply an overall tone to your painting to give your painting an instant ‘mood’. For example, if your painting is going to depict a storm in it, giving it a tonal background of a bright yellow colour won’t work. Giving it instead, a coat of light blue and grey, like in the image below will be
perfect for the look you want your painting to have.


3. Set up your canvas and the supplies:

Decide how you are going to paint beforehand while setting up your canvas and your supplies. Do you prefer an easel where the canvas is at a slight angle or do you prefer it upright? Do you prefer the canvas to be placed on a flat surface right next to your palette? No technique is right or wrong but it will make your life much easier if you set up your workspace for painting beforehand.


4. Choose the right brushes:

Certain brushes are better for painting on a canvas than others. For example, if you decide to paint using watercolour brushes on your canvas, the brushes will break down and won’t be suitable for painting on canvas because water colour brushes are too soft and delicate to be used on a canvas
properly. What you will need is specifically designed oil or acrylic paint brushes with longer handles and firmer bristles which work well to hold and spread thicker paint across the canvas.


5. Creating an underpainting:

Canvases are often used for opaque painting which makes them perfect for experimenting with underpainting. Underpainting is a method for creating an outline using a contrasting colour, helping you give your painting a depth as finishing touch.


6. Adjust colours correctly:

Oil paints dry about the same colour as they look when applied but acrylic colours look darker after drying. So make sure you adjust your colour mixes accordingly to ensure that the finished painting doesn’t look darker than you intended it to. You can test and check if you have got the right shade
of colour on a separate piece of paper to see how dark the colour looks after drying.

7. Experiment with a medium of your choice:

It can be great fun to experiment with mediums on different canvases. Play around with different mediums and see what looks better for your final theme. Using oil paint as mediums will add a high-gloss finish to your painting while an acrylic medium will give your painting more texture.


8. Keep a space safe for your canvas to dry:

Make sure that you have kept a safe space for your canvas to dry. Even a slight touch to the paint can cause sticking or a cleanup that can be a mess, ruining all your hard work. Having a non-stick surface is best for allowing the painting to dry.

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