Getting Started: Choosing a Painting Surface for Acrylics – Getting your Absorbency Right

“A great artist can paint a great picture on a small canvas.”
Charles Dudley Warner

Your choice of what to paint on can alter the working properties of the paint and give you a different painting experience but it needn’t be a mystery, if you follow a few simple rules.

1.  Acrylics straight from the tube are the most flexible medium, so can be painted on anything – paper, canvas, cardboard, metal…literally anything.

2. Oils are more tricky, so have to be painted onto a properly prepared surface (see: The Trouble with Oil) I recommend a prepared canvas or prepared board.

3. Watercolours work best on paper, I recommend Cold Pressed paper (confusingly also referred to as NOT paper meaning ‘Not’ Hot Pressed). It’s ideal for less experienced painters as it’s more forgiving. (There is a huge range of Watercolour papers see: How to choose Watercolour Paper).

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8 Tips to Help You Make a Killer Bespoke Canvas

bespokecanvas

Off the peg or bespoke? The dilemmas of a modern man.
Choosing a canvas is much like deciding between Savile Row, the high street or knitting your own!

With Bespoke you get:

Neat edges on the back, staple free sides, a choice of fabric, a choice of finish (unprimed, sized, oil-primed) an exact choice of size, a choice of stretcher bar thickness and a skilled craftsman making it for you, all coming with a premium price tag.

High street you get:

Neat edges on the back, less robust stretcher bars, not as heavyweight canvas, machine-made but a very reasonable bill.

Knitting your own:

Can be a bit of a headache! But you do get a choice of fabric, choice of size, choice of stretcher bar and it’s a very economical way to achieve what you want, if working on a lot of canvases the same size. Huge flexibility in finish mixed with the glow of satisfaction when stretching your own canvas…

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How to Choose Watercolour Paper

“First of all respect your paper!”
J.M.W.Turner

Ever walked into an art shop and felt daunted by the sheer volume of paper choices with confusing names, got flustered and just walk out?!

You are not alone!

Choosing the correct watercolour paper doesn’t have to be as complicated as Manufacturers seem to make it…

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The Trouble with Oil – Preparing a Canvas for Oil Painting

Oil paint can be an amazing substance to work with, from creating quick sketches outside to photo realistic portraits. Because oil paints take a long time to dry, they give you the flexibility to be able to tweak, alter, soften and blend resulting in lovely muted, smokey subtle paintings.

If you decide that you’d like to give oils a go, then my recommendation would be to start with a pre-sized, pre-primed ready-made canvas to paint on.

Why?

Well the “oil”  in the paint can create a few issues over time you should be aware of.

We’ve all heard of “fat over lean” and paintings cracking , but don’t be scared…

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Getting Started: What are Different Types of Paints made From?

From Oil to Egg Yolks

Same pigment, different binder.

In a nutshell, most paints are made by mixing dry paint pigment together with a wet binder.

The difference between the type of paints, for example, oil paint, acrylic paint or watercolour is simply due to the different type of binder used.

So the binder could be oil, acrylic polymer or even egg yolk and it’s this – that gives each paint its characteristics…

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