How to Choose Quality Canvas for Painting?
Artists have used several materials of canvas in painting such as linen, jute, hemp, or cotton. Nowadays, linen and cotton are the most popular fibers in canvas. Linen is more expensive compared to cotton and is often used by professional artists who have years of experience in perfecting their craft. For beginners, a cotton canvas is more appropriate since it is less expensive.
When choosing a canvas, you must consider these two important factors: the support and ground. Support is the material where paint is applied while the Ground is the gesso or primer. These two are important to the success or failure of your painting. The support and ground are determined by the type of paint and method of applying the paint. For example, if you are using a staining technique in painting, when you do it on a raw canvas, it will give a different result when you do the same technique to a primed canvas.
Choose a canvas that offers strength and stability, depending on your needs for a certain project. As you paint, the support will have to undergo much movement and stress from the environment such as temperature, humidity, and constant stretching/restretching.
Canvas is available in different weights: lightweight (4-5 oz), medium weight (7-10 oz), and heavyweight (18 oz) per square yard. Support with lower weights are not as smooth or sturdy as heavier weights. Medium weight is a good weight for painting since it gives good support to your painting.
Why ground is important in a canvas?
Protection of support. Ground protects your canvas from being damaged by harmful ingredients in paint. Natural fibers such as cotton absorbs moisture and when the paint dries, it will release this moisture, causing swelling and shrinking of the canvas. If you are using oil, the fibers will absorb its moisture, leaving the surface brittle.
Adhesion of paint. A properly primed canvas allows sufficient adhesion of paint to the support. A correctly primed canvas should accept paint and give a degree of absorbency. Too much absorbency can soak up all the oil from the paint while a non-absorbent ground can leave a weak paint film that can be peeled off. Good thing, pre-primed canvas is available online and in art supply shops.
Color enhancement. If your project involves transparent painting technique, the ground provides a white background that intensifies the colors. Ground is useful when you are underpainting, or applying the first layer of paint to a canvas.
A chosen canvas varies depending on an artist’s needs. Some may use raw canvas, pre-primed, or a heavyweight canvas. Keep in mind that whatever canvas you choose, it has a big effect on the outcome of your painting.
More knowledge about canvas:
Why Use Canvas
Canvas is very flexible in terms of size and can be used for everything from tiny paintings to large, expansive works. However, the two main reasons why canvas is such a popular surface among painters is due to how great it feels under the brush, as well as its obvious longevity. Canvas is also much lighter and easier to transport than traditional wood surfaces that was also often used.
What Makes A Great Canvas
When choosing a canvas there are a number of things to consider, such as fabric, texture, weight and priming. All of these have an effect on the quality of the canvas and what kind of painting it is most suited to.
The fabric used in most canvases are either linen or cotton. Of the two, linen is considered the best due to the quality of the surface and its durability, however, it is also very expensive. Cotton is a more affordable option that provides an excellent surface of suitably durable quality.
Canvas is constructed of natural fibres that are woven together, producing different textures depending on how finely it is woven. Different textures are suited to different types of painting, where the smooth surface of finely woven canvas is best suited to smaller, detailed work, rougher weaves are best for broad brush strokes, as well as larger sized paintings.
Another indicator of quality is the weight of the canvas. Measured in ounces per yard, the canvas’ weight is determined on the density of the thread. The higher the density (weight), the higher the quality of the canvas. The ideal weight of cotton should be between 12 - 15oz., and canvases with weights lower than 8-10oz. should be avoided.
Prime or No Prime
In order to create a surface that will show the true colours of the paint, most canvases are primed with gesso (pronounced “jesso”), a mixture plaster of Paris, glue, chalk or pigment, preventing the paint from being absorbed into the fabric of the canvas. While the majority of canvases are primed, some artists use unprimed canvases for the dull, textured colour it produces.
Types of canvases
Canvases are available in various forms to suit different applications and budgets. The main types are stretched canvas, canvas panels, canvas pads, and canvas rolls.
Stretched over a wooden frame, called stretcher bars, stretched canvas is one of the most popular types of canvas for acrylic painting. Most commonly made of cotton, the canvas is primed with gesso to create an ideal painting surface. Canvases are primed for either oil painting or acrylic painting, so make sure you get the right one.
Frames come in different sizes and thickness, referred to as deep (thicker) or traditional (thinner). The choice of frame usually depends on how the painting will be displayed — if you intend to frame the artwork, then a traditional thickness is better, while deep frames are suited for unframed paintings, or if you’d like to add detail to the side of the canvas.
Stretched canvas can be a bit expensive, especially for beginners, and canvas panels offer a high quality, more affordable alternative. Usually made from primed cotton canvas that’s mounted onto a rigid board, these panels are great for practice and are lightweight and easy to carry, making them perfect for students. While canvas panels offer nearly the same quality surface as stretched canvas, they don’t age as well, and is thus mostly suited for practice.
Other common forms of canvas include canvas pads, as well as canvas rolls. Canvas pads are sheets of primed canvas that are spiral-bound in a book. The sheets used in many pads can be stretched or mounted, but as with canvas panels they don’t last as long as stretched canvas. Canvas pads are ideal for novices, students or just for practice.
If you’re an experienced painter who likes to prepare and stretch your own canvas, or if you’d like to create very large paintings, then you can get canvas rolls. These rolls of canvas are made from either linen or cotton, come in different weights, textures and fibres, and are available either primed or unprimed. They’re usually sold by the yard, or in rolls, which can get quite expensive.
Before you invest in any canvas, do some research and check out all the options in order to choose the type of canvas that is best suited to your needs, and your pocket.
How do you hand painted a oil painting on canvas?
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments bound in oil. Oil paints can be made by the artist or purchased at art supplies stores. The common oils used in oil paints are linseed oil, poppyseed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. Different oils allow for different drying times and if the paints contain resin, you will get a glossy finish. Oil paints are prized among artists because the longer drying times allow the artist to manipulate the paint at a later time.
Before you beginning painting, make sure you have the right supplies.
Easel (You can also lay your canvas flat on a table)
Gesso/Acrylic Paint (To prep your canvas)
Different sizes of brushes
Paint thinner, turpentine, or linseed oil
Rags or towels
Oil painting techniques you should master
1) Blocking color. Block in color with diluted brush strokes by following the outlines of an object. This allows you to define the edges of the object without using the thicker paint. The key is to outline the edges of the object with the same colors that will be used inside of it.
2) Instant background. You can use a painted background as the base of the painting. Use diluted paint applied in small strokes. Sketch or draw over this base color for an instant background.
3) Transparency. When showing the transparency of an object in the painting, apply opaque colors over the top of transparent colors.
4) Using layers. Oil painting allows the artist to completely paint over and completely cover other paint layers as long as they are dry. If you plan on using multiple layers, start out with thinner layers of paint in lighter colors. Slowly make your way toward thicker layers and darker colors.
5) Intensify colors. Dilute the paint to various stages to create contrast that will intensify the colors. Different densities of the same color can be used to better define the form. When using this technique, leave the background color for last. The diluted surface of the background contrasts with the denser surface of the object.
6) Contrasting colors. Contrast the colors in your piece to create a three-dimensional feeling.
7) White paint. In monochromatic subjects you can add volume and relief by emphasizing the white tones. To do this, apply white paint thickly over the base color. Do not over brush the white paint into the object. The brush marks and shades should be easy to see.
8) Chiaroscuro. Chiaroscuro is one of the oldest oil painting techniques for bringing volume to an object. It focuses on the movement of light across the surface of the object through light and dark contrasting. When using this technique, shadows should be completely black and it is best to use a neutral background color.
9) Value of brush strokes. Brush strokes can also define the volume and shape of an object. Use your brush like you would a pencil. Apply different colors of paint like you would with colored pencils.
10) Charcoal lines. Use charcoal lines behind an object to reinforce it’s shape and give it dimension.
11) Saturated color. Using saturated color is the most direct way to add form and volume. To use this technique, saturate the color as much as possible in areas of the object that are not illuminated.
12) Brush stroke size. Different sizes of brush strokes can be used to define and differentiate planes, masses, objects and different areas of the painting. Try experimenting with longer brush strokes, short jabs, and even tiny dots. In general, smaller brush strokes will represent objects closer in the foreground.
13) Paint mixture irregularities. Add a textual effect to your painting by leaving streaks of color in your paint mixture. These irregularities can add interest to your piece.
14) Foliage. When painting foliage, your brush strokes can represent leaves. Vary the tones of the leaves by adding more or less diluted paint.
15) Pointillism. For an Impressionist look to your painting, try using this technique of pointillism. This consists of dabbing small quantities of paint systematically across the entire canvas to achieve a uniform and continuous texture.
16) Informal brush strokes. Try using informal brush strokes that do not follow a pattern and run in different directions. These strokes should cover the canvas in fluid bunches of color. This technique can be used with both thick and diluted paint.
17) Nonrepresentational brush strokes. Use a brush stroke free of representational obligations. This means the strokes can go outside of the lines of the object being defined. The strokes will create both the drawing and the color at the same time.
18) Soft texture. Create a soft feeling in your object with blurred and irregular brush strokes. Try rubbing the brush against the support to get a fluffy texture.
19) Transparent glass. To suggest the consistency of crystal or transparent glass, keep your paint color pure and add strategic contrast. Add the dark contrasting colors last to suggest the density.
20) Metal. To create the effect of shiny metal, you must contrast black against white. Paint the darkest areas of the object with diluted black and then apply some diluted white along the black brushstrokes to blend. Apply touches of pure white last to highlight the reflections on the metal.
21) Monochromatic. Try creating a monochrome painting. Pick a color based on the wide variety of shades it can make. The different intensities of the color will be determined by the dilution of the paint.
22) Cool colors. Try working with only cool colors like that greens, grays, and blues. Use just a little bit of warm colors to create a counterpoint in the piece.
23) Complementary colors. The main complementary colors are yellow and violet, blue and orange, and red and green. When these colors are mixed they create gray but when they are next to each other, they create a stark contrast. Consider using complementary colors in your work.
24) Skin. Human skin does not have a specific color. Artist use combinations and different harmonies of colors to create human flesh. Try using mostly warmer colors with a touch of cool colors to achieve this look.
25) Landscape shadows. When painting shadows in landscapes, use cool colors like blues, violets, purples, and grays.