Home > Art and Painting > Painting on Canvas

Painting on Canvas

By: Roxanne McDonald - Updated: 27 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Canvas Painting Oil Painting On Canvas

Some say it is trial and error. Others say it is learned technique. Experienced artists who do oil painting on canvas offer helpful suggestions for common concerns that come up in the process.

Art Painting Canvas Q and As

Q: What art painting canvas should I begin with?

A: There are several possibilities for canvas choices—using canvas panels, stretching your own canvas, using pre-stretched splined or stapled canvas, or working with gallery-wrap canvas.

Canvas panels – canvas stretched over cardboard frame/bars

Stretching your own canvas – cotton or linen (primed with gesso or un-primed) canvas, wooden stretcher bars, staples, canvas pliers, a right angle, scissors or Exacto or Matte knife, and a small art hammer will make up your canvas-stretching supply kit. More expensive to start, but over time will be more affordable than pre-stretched canvases.

Pre-stretched canvas – cotton or linen canvas that is typically primed and stretched over a wooden frame/bars and ready for oil painting.

Gallery-wrap canvas – canvas with no staples or nails showing where it was attached to the stretcher frame.

Q: What basic supplies do I need for oil painting on canvas?
A: Besides your choice of canvas, you will need the following starter materials/media.Brushes – Typically, brushes are synthetic, natural, or nylon brights, filberts, rounds, and flats. As well, these brushes are categorised as either bristle or sable brushes—with bristle brushes being stiffer or harder and sable being softer. You can use the same brushes for oil painting and acrylic painting, while you will want to use specifically designated watercolour brushes for watercolour.

Once you experiment awhile, you will come to know and decide on which brushes you prefer, be they ones you feel blend better, ones better for large canvas painting, or ones better for select subjects and details.

Oil Paints

Oil paints – Available in tubes of two sizes (the larger for whites, usually), oil paints for a beginning painter are best kept to a few primary colours, white, and black. This is so you can experiment with mixing your own colours, for starters.

Paint Pallettes

Painter palettes – Again depending upon your preference, you will want to get a palette which is either of wood, glass, plastic, metal, or even paper (the latter coming as a pad of many sheets). Choose a neutral collared palette, for the paints will be more easily discerned against a white or grey than against a distinctive colour.

Palette knives and painting knives

Palette knives/painting knives – Available in several shapes and sizes, palette knives are used by many to mix colours and by a few as a painting implement (a special effect is derived from the knife that differs from those of the brush, as is a different result gleaned from using your rag or even the tube of paint). However, the typical technique for oil painting on canvas is to work “fat over lean”--from lean to fat—layering to enhance drying time and to avoid thick paint cracking.

Medium

Medium – Painters use a medium (of which there are several) for mixing colours, changing paint’s thickness, adding a varnish to paint, or enhancing texture or quality or colour. Each medium has distinct characteristics, resulting in such things as translucency, sheen, thickness (or density or body), or paint exposing, holding, or concealing brushstrokes.

For oil painting on canvas, there are such medium options as linseed oil, turpentine, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, safflower oil, cold wax, resin, and varnish(es).

And each medium has consequences, so do some experimenting or further research to know the aging, shining, or yellowing properties each might have.

Q: Are there any basic beginning “rules” I should know for oil painting on canvas?

A: The first and foremost suggestion is to apply “fat over lean”: With each layer you add, the paint should be oilier than the previous application. This is when your medium comes in handy, as your first layer(s) will consist of more thinning (with turpentine or spirits), for example.

Q: How do I deal with the canvas edges when I am finished?

A: Again, it is up to you what effect you want: some painters leave the edges unpainted, for the piece will be framed. Others paint right onto the edges, or what some call painting “around the corner”. Still others merely add one of the colours from the front of the painting—avoiding stark white or pure black as the edges will call to the viewer more than you may wish for them to.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Anu hand craft
    Re: Sell Your Home Made Cards
    Hi,l live in usa at flashing city in newyork.i like sell my quilling cards on line
    12 October 2018
  • Bonnie
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    SHAPE RAGLAN Working on arm decreases. After I have completed two rows decreasing 8 at the beginning of each, the next…
    4 October 2018
  • Pippylin
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Increasing -just cannot fathom. ...I understand part of the pattern . But it reads. inc. l st. at each end 8th…
    1 October 2018
  • Von
    Re: Simple Glass Painting Project Ideas
    Anyone know where to get the blank suncatchers from?
    6 September 2018
  • shweta
    Re: Sell Your Home Made Cards
    Hi , Have a great day a head! I am sending this email just to know that if you allow permanent casino and Forex related article…
    28 August 2018
  • CraftExpert
    Re: Knitting Stitches
    Di - Your Question:You have various patterns on your site, and you have glossary of different abbreviations. The one I can't find is "yo",, used…
    24 August 2018
  • Engineer
    Re: Using Ribbons in Papercraft
    I would like to ask for a help, I am planning to make an envelope for packing food that is safe for health and economical so, I…
    8 August 2018
  • CraftExpert
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Taragosun - Your Question:Can you please let me know what M means in the following baby jacket pattern. M st 6, k to last 6…
    20 June 2018
  • Taragosun
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Can you please let me know what M means in the following baby jacket pattern. M st 6, k to last 6 sts, m st 6. Then the lace…
    17 June 2018
  • CraftExpert
    Re: Glossary of Knitting Terminology
    Trisha - Your Question:Yes it is a lacy bobble effect, but I have solved the problem by going to my wool shop for advice. The…
    11 May 2018