How to paint on canvas. How to paint on canvas? Maybe someone gave you an oil paint set complete with brushes, or perhaps you’ve decided to go from simple drawing to painting. In all cases, the first approach to the canvas to paint could be scary: it is a support that we try only when we choose to dedicate ourselves in a reasonably committed way to art. Moreover, it differs in many ways from the simple sheet of drawing paper. So how do you start painting on canvas? Which canvas should you choose? And what procedures require to do before beginning to paint? Today we will answer these and other crucial questions typical of novice painters!
Starting to paint on canvas – everything you need
What will you need to start painting on canvas? First of all, of course, the canvas itself will return to the type of canvas to buy in a few lines. In addition to the support, you will have to have colors. We are talking about oil colors, fascinating, creamy, brilliant, and stability over time. Or tempera colors, which represent the first fundamental approach to painting, are easy to use, without the danger of stains. Or, you could also start painting on canvas with acrylic colors, bright, intense, very covering, easy to mix, and quick to dry.
You will then need the paintbrushes, better obviously if of different sizes and different shapes, and a palette, and possibly the necessary medium for the chosen colors. It will also not hurt to have a drawing pencil at hand, and why, no, a ruler. Finally, to have the correct position to paint the canvas, an easel would also need to place oneself in front of the canvas set in an almost vertical way. But which canvas should you buy?
The different types of canvas for painting
Not all canvases are the same, and in the past, we have already seen how to choose the canvas to paint. These supports vary in size and shape, but also and above all in the material. Naturally, the best canvases, and not by chance also the most expensive, are linen: this material has a very dense texture, allowing to have a practically complete, homogeneous painting surface, excellent for obtaining exact details. However, the cost of linen canvases makes them entirely unsuitable for the amateur use of the beginner.
More accessible are the cotton canvases, a material that offers high-quality support to the painter, who can work on a very dense texture. Then there are the mixed fabrics, that is, the mixed cotton fabrics and the mixed linen fabrics, which mix these noble materials with polyester, to have quality but less expensive support. Jute canvases also come in the same vein, which represents a good compromise. An even more cautious approach to canvas for painting can then be represented by canvas panels or by multilayer cardboard on which layers of canvas, often of a cotton blend, have been mounted. Here, the support is made cheap by the absence of the classic frame for wooden canvas.
Imprimatur: what it is and when it should do
You’ve probably come across the term primer when looking for information on how to start painting on canvas. But what is it about? Well, you should know that most of the canvases for painting on the market are, in fact, already excellent and ready to start painting without requiring any actual preparatory intervention. But that’s not always the case.
Sometimes it can happen not to find a suitable size canvas, and therefore to have to assemble a canvas that is still rough on a frame by yourself. Or it can happen – in the case of the most experienced and demanding painters – to have to deal with a canvas already prepared but not corresponding to one’s standards or specific needs. Here, in those cases, you have to get to work and do the priming of the canvas.
What does it consist of? We have already described this process in a dedicated post, so we will say that it is a multi-step process. The most straightforward and most accessible technique involves spreading acrylic white plaster over the entire surface of the canvas; once dry, the gypsum must be sanded, proceed with another layer of acrylic gypsum, and with another sanding, and then start painting on the “ready” canvas. It should emphasize that the hastiest method makes the primer, which in its classic form would require many more steps, not all of them immediately.
How to start painting on canvas: the first steps
Purchased ready or prepared with your own hands, now the canvas is ready – where to start? Once all the accessories and colors have been designed, the advice is always to color your entire canvas, typically white. Why never? Simple: an all-white background will dazzle you and won’t allow you to use colors suitable.
But which color to choose to cover your canvas? Well, it all depends on what your painting will be. The main rules are to use neutral colors and not “directly from the tube” but to prepare ad hoc. Which color to choose? Let’s assume that you want to paint a landscape, perhaps on a not exceptionally bright day: the color with which you will prepare the canvas could be a bluish-gray, which will lend itself perfectly to your sky on the horizon.
How to start painting seriously? There are no rules here. Experienced painters will immediately begin to work with the brush, sketching this or that part of the painting. Others will outline the drawing freehand with a meeting, still others with charcoal. And you, what will you do? If your first experience is drawing on canvas, it will probably be better to start with a canvas grid and your subject.
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