If canvas painting seems like an activity that you would like to try your hand at, then it is important that you keep the following tips in mind. These will help you start the art of painting, without making the blunders that most people tend to make when they start painting. For your convenience, we have divided the tips into three sections―the tips that you will need to use before you start working on your art work, those that you can use while painting, and the things you need to keep in mind after you are done with the painting.
Before Starting the Painting
The tips that have been given here are some things that you should definitely keep in mind before you start on your canvas painting. These tips are in no particular order or sequence.
- One of the first things that you will need to decide on is the kind of canvas you should choose to paint on. There are a variety of canvases available in the market like canvas boards, rolled canvas, canvas mats and even stretch canvas. Depending on the kind of painting you want to make and also what your comfort level is, you can choose one of these canvas types. The canvas can be made of either cotton or linen. If you want a canvas that is strong and has a long shelf life, opt for a linen canvas. Also, the size of the canvas is an important thing to bear in mind. Remember, the smaller your canvas, the less chances there are that you will miss out on details. Also, a smaller canvas is perfect for a beginner to start with. Also use an easel for your paintings.
- Next, decide on the medium that you want to use. Many people believe that water paints are the best for a beginner to start with, but it is not. Sure it is easy to use, as it spreads easily, but lack of experience can cause smudging of colors and spreading, which is unnecessary. One of the best paints to start out with for beginners are acrylic paints. These paints dry easily and therefore, if you need to make corrections, it is extremely easy to do so on acrylic paintings, but sometimes blending colors can be difficult because of the same reason. Try to blend colors when the colors have dried off a little, but not completely. Some people prefer to use oil paints. These are not as easy to use as say acrylic paints and the techniques are such that beginners may take time to master them. But they are perfect for paintings that need a lot of blending of colors, as they take a lot of time, sometimes even days, to dry.
- Brushes come next in the list of things that need to be bought for canvas painting. Get a variety of sizes of brushes. You will need thin bristled brushes for details and bigger brushes for background areas and the likes. Pay attention to the quality of the brushes. You do not want the brushes to be shedding hair on your painting. Use a brush tote. If you do not want to buy one, you can fashion one out of a coffee container or use a coffee mug as a brush container.
During the Course of the Painting
Once you have worked out the various things that you need to make the painting, you need to decide on the subject that you want to paint and what technique you are going to use in order to recreate the subject. Remember, creating an almost photographic representation of a subject is best left to masters or maybe master forgers. As a beginner, try to get your proportions right, get your brush stroke techniques right and work on your color combination and blending. Here are some tips that you can try as a novice to the art form.
- One of the first things to remember as a painter is to avoid the use of pencil on your canvas. It is difficult to erase out pencil marks later without affecting the quality of the paint, and somehow, they always tends to show through.
- One of the best canvas painting techniques to use when starting out is to paint in those areas first that will have prominent darker colors. You do not need to detail these areas, but you can loosely block these areas out. This will also help you get your composition of the painting right.
- If you are not comfortable with this idea of blocking dominant areas out then try painting the canvas in sections moving from left to right or top to bottom. But this technique may pose problems with blending of colors, if you are using those paints that dry fast. This is an extremely useful technique for oil paintings
- Another canvas painting tip that you could probably use if it works for you is start with the details first and then paint the background of the painting. Personally, I prefer it the other way; painting the background first and then adding the various details of the painting as this ensures that I do not smudge the details with the color of the background.
- While it has been mentioned earlier to avoid the use of pencil on canvas, sometimes, when your drawing needs a lot of details, it becomes necessary. Even in such cases, I would suggest that you first make the drawing on a sheet of paper and then etch it on the canvas.
- Now that you know what are the different techniques that you can use, focus your attention on studying the subject. Study it in terms of color, shape, texture, line, hard and soft edges, terms that painters would study it in. Try to fit the subject on your canvas with the help of a grid.
- Once you have studied the subject and decided on the technique that you want to use for the painting, make a rough sketch of the same and then start painting the canvas.
After the Painting
Once you have finished the painting, there are certain important tips that need to be followed to ensure the life of not only the painting but also the different things that you use in order to make the painting.
- One of the foremost things to keep in mind after you have finished the painting is to ensure that you allow it dry well. Whatever the medium that you have used in order to make the painting, it needs to be allowed to dry well. Try to cover the painting, so that dust does not gather on the painting.
- Once the painting is dry, you should varnish it in order to preserve it. This will also give your painting a glossy look and negate the need of a glass protection when you frame it.
- Take proper care of your paintbrushes. This is a very important to extend the shelf life of your brushes. Wash the brushes with warm water, which should be allowed to flow outside the bristles of the brush. After that dip the brushes into warm water mixed with soap. While dipping it into soapy water, ensure that you keep moving the brush rapidly and do not allow it to rest. Now do the same in clean water and repeat the process till the brush is cleaned completely without changing the color of the water it is dipped in. Use rubber bands to hang the brushes upside down, so that the water drains out.
Once you have finished your painting, do not be discouraged if it has not turned out the way you expected it to. Every painter in the history of the universe has started by painting pieces that would have seemed atrociously ugly to even the least discerning of art critics. Try again, as you need to get used to the medium of canvas in order to become better at it.