Canvas for painting is a material and support that is perceived by many people to be the best for painting for centuries. This is not surprising because the use of the canvas has a lot of benefits, and on top of that, it simply looks great.
Generally, the canvas is a fabric, and to get a little bit more information about the structure of it, check out this article - What is Canvas Made From?
Canvases vary not only by size but also by the quality of materials and price. Which one is the best for you? In this article, I'm going to cover the most important things you need to know to make a right choice:
Stretched Canvas for Painting
Sometimes I feel so grateful that nowadays we don't need to stretch our own canvases every time we want to paint! Just select one out of huge variety ready-made pre-stretched canvases in any size and quality, which saves so much time! Stretched canvas looks neat and professional and is definitely the best and the most popular option for all pros and beginners.
Wooden frame. Canvas for painting is usually stretched over a wooden frame (stretcher). It's available in different thicknesses - deep (thicker bars) or traditional.
Ready-made canvases can be primed or unprimed. "Primed" means it has been covered with a gesso (to find out everything about gesso, check out Acrylic Gesso and why you need to use it), which makes surface receptive to the paint and protects the fabric from the paint.
Even though acrylics will adhere to an unprimed support, the colors will be dull and the texture of canvas will be noticeable. You can buy pre-stretched ready-primed canvases in a variety of sizes and even colors (white or colorful) for a reasonable price. Here are some hot deals:
What if you are just practicing right now and want to save $$$ without going too deep into the stretching and stuff? Check out the canvas panel! It's made by mounting primed cotton canvas onto a rigid board. It's a great option if you just starting and don't want to spend too much on your supplies.
It's a perfect solution if you want to practice your painting techniques. Canvas panels are cheap, compact, lightweight (great for outdoors) and available in a range of sizes. Unfortunately, canvas panels are not permanent and will degrade over time, so they should only be used for student practice and never for serious artwork or sale. Check out this Super Value Pack - Artlicious Canvas Panel Boards 12 Pack.
I recommend you to look for pads that contain real canvas sheets. To keep the sheet in place you can use a regular masking tape. Those pads can eventually be stretched or mounted, and are just great for practicing so that you can get a feel of real canvas.Here is a great option - Fredrix Canvas Pads.
Other things to consider:
Always read what it says on the package. If you're want to buy primed support, make sure this canvas is either "for acrylic painting" or "universal". Never buy one for oils or tempera (absorbent canvases).
- There are different ways to wrap canvas around the frame. So if you decide to buy stretched canvas, get the one called “gallery-wrap” or “museum-wrap”. This means it is wrapped all the way around to the back and stapled there — so the staples are invisible on the sides. This way you can paint the sides and hang it without framing, and staples are not going to ruin the entire look of the artwork.
- Do not try too hard to save on canvas, you might regret it because the appearance of brush stroke depends on its quality. Also, the cheap canvas may be short-lived. However, do not waste too much money on it, the most expensive does not always mean the best.
Canvas for painting is deservedly one of the best support (check out other supports here) for acrylic paint. Experiment with it, enjoy the benefits and develop your skills. As always, leave me a comment if you have any questions. Good Luck!