Painting on canvas dates back to the 14th century, ever since Italian painters used the material instead of wood.
There’s a renewed interest in painting, thanks in part to the pandemic. People had free time at home and they discovered painting could provide a creative outlet.
Many people continue to paint and are just learning about the benefits of painting. They got inspired by Bob Ross and want to paint “happy little trees.”
It’s never too late to learn how to start painting on canvas. If you’re interested in learning how to paint, you’re in the right place.
Read on to learn about painting on canvas in this canvas painting guide.
Learn the Types of Canvases
There is a technical side to painting on canvas. Remember, it’s a material that absorbs liquid. Since paint is a liquid, the type of canvas you choose could determine the longevity and final outcome of your work.
The terms to learn first are primed and unprimed. Primed means that the canvas was treated with material during manufacturing.
Priming creates a barrier between the canvas and the paint. That lets the paint stay vibrant and strong instead of getting absorbed by the canvas.
You can purchase an unprimed canvas. Otherwise, you’ll have to do the priming yourself.
There are two common types of canvas material: cotton and linen. Cotton is the better option for beginners because it’s affordable.
Professionals use linen. It’s more expensive, but it’s much more durable.
Oil vs. Acrylic Painting
Should you use oil or acrylic paints? Beginners start with acrylic paints. They’re easier to use and they’re water-soluble. You can apply a solvent and create a paint that’s similar to watercolors.
The other advantage of using acrylic is that it dries faster. Acrylic paints are budget-friendly, too.
Oil-based paints give you a shiny finish. They dry slowly, so you can apply different painting techniques that don’t work with acrylic paints.
Artists typically start with acrylics and then graduate to oil paints.
Choose Your Brushes Wisely
Paintbrushes determine the quality of your work, too. There are brushes for acrylic and oil paints.
You’ll want to start off with a selection of brushes that have different widths. That lets you paint very small lines or things like tree branches.
You could go for an abstract look and use a very wide brush. It just depends on your preference. You can get a few brushes to start with and a small canvas.
Experiment with each brush. Get a feel for the lines and what they do. You can apply this in your work later on.
What Do You Want to Paint?
It helps to have an idea as to what you want to paint before you get to work. You might want to create something for the sheer joy of it.
If you just want something to put up on your walls, think of the colour palette and design of your home. You’ll want to have a painting style and colours that complement what you have.
Get inspiration from other artists and look online for ideas.
Set Up Your Painting Station
It’s time to gather your tools and create a workstation. Some artists have an easel to work with. Others lay a tarp down on the floor and put a canvas on top of it.
Be sure to set up your workstation to minimize spills. You need to have a smooth workflow, too.
You don’t want to be in the middle of painting to realize you don’t have something nearby. The paint could dry and impact your work.
Create a Sketch First
If you’re painting an image or you’re going for accuracy, sketch out the painting first. It’s safe to use a pencil on canvas and paint over it.
An alternative is to water down the paint and create an outline to paint over.
Add Creativity to Your Work
Painting doesn’t only mean that you work with paint and brushes. There are tools to apply to your work, too.
You can use solvents to change the texture of your paints. Use sponges instead of brushes to create a blended look.
Experiment with these tools and explore your creative limits.
Share Your Joy With Others
The most fun part about learning how to paint on canvas is showing off your work. You might be hesitant to do so because your inner critic tells you that it’s horrible.
Don’t listen to it.
Take a picture of it and post it online, hang it on your walls. You can tell people how you got the inspiration to paint.
You can take your love of painting on canvas to another level, too. Tell other people how much fun painting is and have an at home paint party.
You and your friends will have a blast painting and enjoying each other’s company.
Continue to Study Art
The great thing about art is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. It’s what you feel works in a given moment.
That being said, you can gain a lot of insight by studying the work of other artists. You’ll draw inspiration from them and you’ll be able to apply your inspiration to your work.
You’ll continue to learn about things like brush angles, applications, and work with different types of canvases.
Keep learning and you’ll see your work improve.
Enjoy Learning How to Start Painting on Canvas
Painting on canvas gives you an opportunity to explore your creativity. It’s a great way to unwind and destress in this crazy world, too.
Once you start learning how to start painting on canvas, you’ll never want to stop. The more you learn about painting on canvas, the more you’ll appreciate the work of other artists. Your next trip to the museum will be more enjoyable, too.
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