How to Canvas Paint

Painting on canvas is a whole new world after painting on paper or wooden craft items or doing paint-by-numbers on cardboard. There are two kinds of canvas to paint on. The first is canvas board which is traditionally the product for students and hobbyists. Stretched canvas is mounted and stretched on wooden pieces that create a framework within the canvas. Either type of canvas will sit freely on an easel for ease of painting. Commercially prepared canvas has a single or double layer of gesso applied to the surface for the paint to adhere to.

Things You'll Need

  • Stretched canvas or canvas board
  • Paint
  • Easel
  • Brushes

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Use a pencil to lightly sketch onto the canvas the horizon line and the main objects you are going to paint. Notice that the stretched canvas material has a bit of 'give' to it.

Set the canvas onto a table-top or floor-model easel.

Dip brush into paint. Press the brush-bristle ends against the canvas and let your arm pull the brush in an even sweep across the area of the canvas that you want to paint first.

Dip the brush into a paint medium if the paint seems too heavy on the canvas. Apply the brush to the canvas and continue filling the background in. Keep the pressure light and even as you smooth the paint over the material.

Continue applying paint to detail the portrait, still life or scene. Coat the side panels of the stretched canvas if it is going to be hung without a frame.

Tips & Warnings

  • When painting on a stretched canvas, do not press too hard against the cloth or you can warp it. Store it in an upright position.


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