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Canvas Painting

Canvas Painting Ideas

Thinking of doing something different from the usual art and paintings?  Let us look at some wonderful canvas painting ideas and ways you can bring out some truly amazing pieces of artwork.  Any kind of feeling can be expressed through a painting and it is believed that paintings have been used since thousands of years so humans could express their feelings and emotions to others.  In those days, the cavemen made their own paint using berries and plants and used it to paint their day to day event as well as their great hunts.  All you need is your imagination to put your feelings, ideas and emotions on canvas.  Canvas painting has its own charm and here are the painting ideas that can help bring out the artist in you. 

What’s Your Interest?

You need to explore you interests before you start painting on canvas.  If you are interested in vehicles, structures or gadgets, this is the best thing to put on your canvas.  Even if you are a beginner, putting your interest on canvas will help you achieve good results.  Nature lovers can always go to their favorite spot with their art tools and start painting. 

Flower Painting

One of the best canvas painting ideas is floral art.  This is really interesting and cost effective as well.  Arrange some flowers in your favorite vase or get hold of an arrangement already sitting on the dining table and start painting. 

Ready For A Change?

Painting on a specific subject all the time can become boring.  If you are ready for a change, think of something unique and different and start with it.  It may be confusing in the beginning, but you will surely start loving it as you go on.  Paint your dogs and cats instead of painting landscapes.  A change will definitely be interesting. 

Think Unique

How about painting a long queue of ants on their way to the food shelf or a sugar jar?  That surely is unique and creative, isn’t it?  And, how about wearing your funny bedtime socks and painting your feet?  Place your cell phone in a glass jug and imagine it was filled with water.  Try putting these ideas on canvas.  Don’t they make great painting ideas?  They surely do. 

Basic Canvas Painting Techniques

Canvas painting has been around since ages and although it is not a difficult art, it needs to be practiced to achieve satisfying results.  Here are the basic canvas painting techniques that you can follow to put your feelings, emotions and imagination on canvas. 

Choose A Medium

The medium is the most important aspect of canvas painting and it needs to be given careful consideration.  As an artist, you can either use acrylic paints or oil paints on canvas.  Since oil paints have a longer drying time, it gives you a great deal of time to blend colors and work on the painting and therefore is a great choice for artists.  But, it has few disadvantages as well.  If you want to make any changes to the painting, you will probably need to wait for a day or two for it to dry.  Another problem which artists have come across is that oil painting starts yellowing with time.  Artists also need to keep in mind the rule of “fat over lean” to prevent the paint from cracking after it has dried.

Acrylic paints dry very quickly and artists can make corrections and changes within minutes instead of waiting for few days.  But, the major disadvantage of using acrylics on canvas is that it gives artists less time for blending colors and therefore is a challenge for many artists.  For beginners, acrylics are a better option because there are no rules that need to be followed when applying colors.  It is water-based and bonds quickly to almost every surface. 

Subject Of The Painting

It is a great idea to stick to generic subjects such as a bowl a fruits, vase of flowers and so on.  Painting a specific subject such as painting a person can be challenging as it involves producing an exact replica.  When artists deal with generic subjects, it doesn’t really matter if the end result is an exact replica or not.  Generic subjects are encouraging and even if you have not been able paint the subject exactly, you will not consider your work as a failure. 

Style Of Painting

Use an expressionistic painting style rather than emphasizing on photographic realism.  It is difficult to produce the exact replica of an object, person or subject and it also prevents an artist from expressing his imaginations, emotions and feelings.  Artists may be tempted to produce an artwork that resembles something real, but in reality this style is challenging and difficult to perfect.  As an alternative, consider using a style which will give you more personal freedom and allow you to paint with your imagination. You will certainly enjoy this and the end result will be beautiful, spontaneous as well as expressive. 

Applying Paint on Canvas

Apply thin washes of the paint to cover the canvas.  After all, you need a basis from where you can build on.  Moreover, a dry canvas will certainly absorb a portion of the first layer of the paint and it can affect an artist by slowing down the painting process.  Use water to thin acrylic paint and turpentine to thin oil paint to overcome the slowing down process. 

Canvas Painting Tips

Try New Colors, Mediums

Leave your favorite color and try something new.  If you have an inclination towards green and include it in every painting you do, leave it aside and try another color.  Try a shade which you rarely use. Also, why not try to blend oil paints and acrylic paints together and see the results they produce.  Try acrylic painting if you have always use oils.  Give your canvas a unique look with mixed medium, mixed colors, mixed thoughts and mixed creativity. 

Tools As Brushes

A brush is an important tool in painting and most artists can’t even think about producing an artwork without a brush.  No matter how many brushes you use to create your art work, try to put them aside for once and opt in for different tools.  Why not use nails, needles and painting knives to create something unique? 

Capture the Moments

You may need a digital camera to capture your favorite pictures.  Everywhere you go, take some good pictures of things that interest you.  Later on, you can always choose from the pictures what you would like to paint.   It is a good idea to keep a photograph of the object handy because never know when it may change its state or position.  For example, if you liked the beauty of the morning at 6.00am when the sun was rising, capture it in your camera.  The scene may not be the same the next day or even after couple of minutes. 

Left Over Paint

Acrylic paints dry very quickly and many times when a substantial amount of paints is left, they go to waste.  Keep some small empty containers ready and quickly transfer the paint as soon as you have finished painting.  Seal them with the lid or cling wrap and use it during the next painting session.  This will save you money and also prevent wastage of paint. 

Create Your Canvas

Experiment with your canvas.  Stretch it and prime it yourself.  You may just need to stretch the canvas when using acrylics without priming it.  If you use gesso, leave it textured as it goes a long way. 

Give Your Canvas Strange Dimensions

Strange dimensions add to the uniqueness of the painting.  You can do so by making the canvas wide and short or long and narrow.  Also try to use a number of canvases to paint in a series of panels.  But, make sure the panels have a meaning and significance. 

Use Multimedia

How would an advertisement, a newspaper article or piece of cloth look in your painting.  Many artists have used this technique to add to the uniqueness while reinforcing the meaning in the painting. Cloth can even be sewn to the canvas prior to priming it. 

Combine Methods

Combine two or three different canvas painting methods to create something new and unique.  Use a number of different types of art supplies, paints, colors, mediums, additives, brushes and see the effect different combinations produce. 


Framing the canvas is not a necessity.  Instead of this, try to choose a color that matches with the overall painting and can be applied to the sides of the canvas. 

Guide To Canvas Painting For Beginners


Painting has been around since thousands of years and even people of those times used painting as a means of expressing their emotions, feelings and imaginations.  Colors, designs and pictures helps humans express any kinds of emotions they feel.  It can be a feeling a love, depression, anger and so on.  However, there are some basic things that beginners should know.  There are certain painting ideas, tips, tricks and techniques that beginners should make themselves familiar with in order to create a beautiful piece of artwork. 

Colors add creativity and style to an artwork.  Paints allow you to give a piece of art a totally new dimension such as a tear drop on the face.  There are a wide range of tools, mediums and paints that can help you to be more creative.  A number of artists choose oil paint over acrylic because oil paints have a longer drying time and can be made new again with mineral spirits or turpentine.  This way an artist can continue with the painting following day.  Brushes need to be given extra care when using oil paints.  If they are left in the cleaning solution for a long time, they will lose their shape. 

 With acrylic paints, the drying time is accelerated.  Acrylics are quite easy to use and paintings can be completed within one day itself as there is no waiting time for the drying process.  Even cleaning up is made easy with the use of soap and water.  Brushes are easily cleaned and when left to dry on a flat surface, they don’t lose their shape. 

Painting is an art which can be both easy and hard based on your knowledge and how you apply it.  For a beginner, the first and the best thing to do is practice and experiment.  Familiarize yourself with oil paints, acrylic paints and the basic painting supplies.  Experimenting with the different mediums will help you choose the one you prefer and would be comfortable with.  Get a feel for how things work.  Buy some basic colors, mix them, apply them on canvas and see how blending works.  The type of canvas you are going to use is another factor that needs to be given consideration.  There are many different types of canvases available and each one is used for different artwork, medium and styles.  There are rolled canvases, stretched ones, canvas mats and canvas boards,  become familiar with the different types and consider which one you will be most comfortable working with. 

Understanding Paints

Acrylics and oils are the two types of paints that artists generally use for canvas painting.  There are a lot of differences between the two types and you can choose the type which will work best for you.  Some people choose oil paints over acrylics because oils have a longer drying time and this gives artists time to work on the painting for several days.  On the other hand, acrylics dry really fast and don’t give chance to artists to fix any mistakes. 

Oil paints are composed of oils and pigments and the simplest form can be made from peanut oil and saffron.  If you mix these two ingredients in the right proportion, you will get a brilliant shade of yellow that can also be eaten.  Oils paints available on the market should be kept out of reach of children since they are toxic.  Paints available commercially also contain a drying agent which speeds up the drying process.  Oil paints come in a wide range of colors, shades and hues and can be blended with one another to create even more shades.  Oils paints can either be applied thickly or thinly.  But, when it is applied thickly, it takes a much longer time to dry and there are also possibilities the paint will crack.  On great way to avoid this is to apply in layers.  Although it may take days and days to finish the work, the end result will be satisfactory and free of flaws. 

The main difference between acrylics and oils is the drying time.  Oils take days to dry and acrylics need only few hours.  Its fast drying ability makes it possible to finish a piece of artwork in only few hours.  Masking tape can be applied to dried acrylic paint to create straight lines.  You don’t have to worry about the paint peeling off when you remove the tape.  This is not quite possible with oil paints.  Despite the disadvantage of oil paints, many artists choose this over acrylics.  Most prefer acrylics and there are also most artists who are comfortable using both media.  However, for a beginner, it is advisable to learn the advantages, disadvantages and features of both the types before determining which one would be the ideal choice.  You can always learn about the different paints by experimenting with them. 

What Brushes To Use?

A brush is an important tool when it comes to canvas painting.  There are many different types, shapes and sizes available on the market and artists choose them for their various needs.  There are certain types which are specifically designed to create specific effects.  But, for a beginner, it is a good idea to start with standard artists’ brush.  Although expensive brushes are of good quality, this is not always the case.  There are some good quality brushes that you can get for cheap. 

However, you need to know what type of brush you would need for the painting you intend to create.  Different materials are used in making different brushes and they all serve different purposes.  There are sable brushes, squirrel brushes as well as ones with synthetic bristles.  Brushes are also available in sets.  This is a preference for most artists as they get different types with different head shapes in one set.  When you start painting with the different brushes, you will see the ones you are comfortable using.  But, you will never know how each type works and what effect they create unless you practice.  Brush sets are less expensive than buying the different types individually.  Start with a few good brushes and experience the difference and compatibility with each.  Have a blank canvas handy to practice brush strokes.  Even if you don’t get it right the first time, keep practice as practice makes perfect. 

Familiarity With Colors

New colors can always be created by blending different colors.  These can be painted on a canvas to create a new world.  A world created by you.  Whether it is funny, formal, simple or complex, it is part of your imagination.  Paint it the way you like.  If you want to do it in black and white, do as you please.  This will allow you to be spontaneous and you will surely enjoy every part of it.  You can do a whole lot of things with colors. 

Use of Light Sources

Light always comes from one main direction.  The natural light which is sunlight always comes to us from East to West. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, your place will determine where your shadows will be.  This also applies with painting.  You must have an eye to determine the direction from where the light source is coming.  Try to keep the source in proper perspective and this can be achieved by setting up a light.  For example, if you wish to have the light shine from the right of the painting, keep a light source on the right side of the canvas.  This will help you determine where the shadows need to be and keeps the visual real.  However, with enough practice, you will not need to use this technique as you will automatically know how to keep things flowing in the same direction in the painting.  Lighting is an important aspect of painting and to understand its importance, you can always set up a still life such as a bowl of fruit on the table and set a light bulb around the table.  Starting from the light, see where the shadows are, see how light fades and also notice the point where light glistens off the surface.  Then set the light at different positions such as at the front of back of the arrangement.  Notice the features from the different angles and the differences it creates.  This way you will be becoming familiar with how important light sources are in painting and the type of shadows they produce.  This will help you paint with more realism. 

For a beginner, you just need a canvas, paint and a few brushes to start panting.  But, understanding the basic techniques and planning a little will help you create a good piece of art. 

Type of Painters

There are different types and forms of painting and it is very important for a beginner to understand what kind of painting he is interested in.  However, interest will only come once you are familiar with the painting ideas and techniques and then you will be able to create your own style. 

There are had been numerous art periods.  Let us look at what these were.

 Baroque – is an artistic style which came into existence in the 1600s and was around till early 1800s.  This style was supported by the Roman Catholic Church and soon became popular and successful as a means of communicating religious themes.  The artists who made this style of painting famous were Caravaggio and Carracci. 

 Classicism – the art of classicism is generally restrained and formal.  It is an art produced in antiquity.   The famous artists of this art period were Mengs and Ingres. 

Cubism – was an art movement introduced in the 20th century by Pablo Picasso.   Another famous artist along with Picasso was Braque. 

Expressionism – was a cultural movement which originated in Germany in the beginning of the 20th century.   This is an art in which artists sought emotional experiences and the meaning of being alive rather than depicting the physical reality.  The famous artists of this period included Beckmann, Munch Dix and Kandinsky.

Fauvism – began in the early 20th century but was short lived.  Although lasted for only few years, the paintings were characterized by wild brush work, strident colors and subject having a greater degree of abstraction and simplification.  The leaders of this period were Matisse and Derain. 

Impressionism – an art movement which began in the 19th century.  Characteristics of this type of painting include emphasis on light, open composition and visible brush strokes having an ordinary subject matter.  The famous artists of this period were Morisot, Bazille, Renoir, Pissarro and Monet. 

Realism – an art movement in which paintings depicted the subjects as they appeared in everyday life.  The works of art of this period were free of interpretation and embellishment and revealed things as they were in real life.  It originated in France in the 1950s.  The famous artists of this period were Caravaggio, Zurbaran and Velazquez.   

Renaissance – was an art period which emerged in Italy in the 1400s.  This art was seen as the rebirth of the ancient traditions.  The famous artist of this period was Michelangelo. 

Romanticism – originated in the mid 18th century and was a complex artistic as well as intellectual and literary movement. The famous artist who marked this period was Gericault and Delacroix. 

Surrealism – A cultural movement that began in the early 1920s.  This period was known for visual arts and writing.  The art works of this time featured unexpected juxtapositions, element of surprise and non sequitur.  The famous artists were Arp, Masson, Ernst, Dali and Tanguy. 

Each of these periods had their own style.  Some are impression of feelings about an issue or subject from an artist’s point of view rather than an actual representation of something such as a picture.  For a beginner it is important to choose a style as this will be a reference of what exactly will be represented.  Your likes and dislikes will definitely be illustrated when you put the image on a canvas.  People who study your artwork will be able to tell what kind of a painter you are.  Do not limit yourself to only one style.  You may want to try out different styles and sometimes just paint out of spontaneity.  Just let your desires, emotions and feelings come out on the canvas without limiting yourself to any specific style. 

Painting on canvas is easy and especially for beginners, it gives them a chance to express themselves.  You don’t need a special mood for painting.  There are people who start painting when they are happy. Some paint when depressed.  Painting is all about putting your emotions on canvas and for people to see what is actually going on in your mind.  Watching a blank canvas turning transforming into an elegant art piece is truly beneficial.  For a beginner, it is compulsory to stick to a particular style.  With experience and practice, you will become familiar with the different styles and will find out which one you prefer. 

The Subject of Your Painting

The subject is an important element of a painting.  No matter what type of painting it is, it has a subject.  For a beginner, it is important to choose something which you will be comfortable working with.  Some good canvas painting subject options for a beginner are a vase of blooming flowers or a bowl of apples and bananas.  However, there are a number of things that you need to look at and consider when choosing a subject for your painting.  Keep the painting interesting.  For example, if you are planning to do a landscape painting, add some texture such as trees, animals or even different buildings to make the painting interesting.  Do not saturate the canvas with activity.  A busy foreground as well as a busy background will not be as appealing as keeping the activity on the canvas at one place. 

Take pictures of the things you would like to paint.  Even if you choose to do portraits do not underestimate the beauty of the person.  Your eyes may see the person as uninteresting, but when shown through the lens, you will see the real beauty.  Taking pictures also allows you to determine the type of lighting, textures and contrasts and will show you the real view.  Another important reason as to why you should take pictures is that lighting does not stay the same throughout the day, the boat will not stay in the harbor throughout your painting and a beautiful sunrise or sunset will not last forever.  Capturing pictures help to preserve the moment and you have all the time in the world to finish your painting.  A camera can be an artist’s best friend. 

Taking pictures of all the subjects you are interested in gives you the chance to come back home and choose the one you like the most.  Moreover, pictures look different when taken from different directions and angles.  This will reflect on your painting and will make it more interesting. 

You Need A Studio

Even for a beginner artist, the first thing that is needed is a place for painting.  Although scattering your paint supplies on the kitchen table is acceptable, it will soon become an issue for the rest of the family members.  For this reason and for painting with ease without the interference from fellow family members, you need a place where you can set up an easel and keep your art supplies.  A separate place for your artwork will give you a sense of privacy and each time you feel like painting or bringing out your emotions on canvas, you will have a place of your own. 

The basic things that you need for setting up your studio are a table, easel and painting tools.  It is a good idea to get a table which has drawers so you can store your supplies here for easy access.  Although some artists may be comfortable painting on flat surfaces, many prefer to paint at eye level.  An easel is the best option to support your canvas.  However, if you are working on two or more artwork at the same time, it is better to have more than one easel to make work easier.  You may also want to have a shelving unit where you can store extra brushes, canvases and art supplies.  When paintings are completed, they need to be kept safely in a vertical position and this can be accomplished with the use of a storage unit.

One thing to keep in mind when storing your painting is that you should keep mineral spirits, linseed oil or turpentine on the same unit as accidents are likely to happen and it can ruin your artwork for good. 

Keep a bucket and tissues or rags in the studio for cleaning purpose.  It is a good idea to keep a metal can for storing water instead of a glass jar as it can create a huge mess if it falls and breaks.  Have good lighting in the studio as it makes it possible for an artist to see the true colors he is using. 

When these things are ready in the studio, it is time for some good art supplies. 

Art Supplies

Art supplies can be obtained from many traditional art supply stores and also from online stores.  There are many different types of supplies to choose from and the internet is the best place where you can get all the valuable information related to art supplies.  When shopping for the supplies, it is also important to compare prices and the quality of the products that you will be getting. 

It’s Time To Clean Up

The worst part of painting is cleaning up.  From brushes to easels, you need to clean up everything.  But, if you know what you are doing, cleaning up can be really easy.  Take care of your brushes first.  Keep a metal can half filled with paint solvent and soak the brushes in them.  Put the brushes in bristles first and leave them in the can until you get over with the rest of the cleaning.  Keep a fine cloth to cover the canvas if you are working with oil paints.  However, don’t allow the cloth to touch the art.  This can be easily achieved by buying extender clamps that is attached to the top of the canvas. 

Now, it’s time to take care of your palette.  If you think you will be using the same colors again soon, keep them sealed in a plastic bag so they don’t get contaminated with foreign material.  But, if you are sure you are done with those colors, scrape them off, rinse with linseed oil and rub with a clean rag. 

After you are done with the canvas and the palette, go back to the brushes and clean them one at a time.  Use mineral spirits to get the paint off the brushes and rinse with the solvent as well.  Dry them completely using a clean rag.  Do not leave the brushes soaked in solvent for a long period of time.  This will damage the brushes and you will not be able to make the same strokes you used to make before.  Taking care of brushes will allow them to last long. 

When you use acrylic paints, you can do the cleaning process the same way.  But, you will need to get rid of the paint on the palette completely as acrylics dry very quickly and once they dry, they will be of no use. 

Learn the Art Of Painting

There are a number of schools and places where you can learn the art of painting.  There are also some local art communities and online communities which offer art classes for free.  There are video lessons, audio lessons and guides that you can use to learn painting.  Learning as a beginner is really important as it will help you make a great start.  Check out the daily newspaper, magazines and online resources to see at which time of the year there are free art lessons held.  Learn the art of painting and pass on to others as well. 

Taking Care of Your Art Piece

A painting is an expression of feelings, emotions and imaginations.  It is valuable and beautiful and should not be treated like a poster that was purchased of a store.  It has a sense of style it should be taken good care of so it lasts for years to come.  An oil painting should never be touched.  Handle it carefully by the frame and avoid anything coming into contact with the painting.  Use a soft brush to dust it off.  Using chemicals and sprays can damage the painting and if you feel there is a dirt spot that needs to be cleaned, get it done professionally rather than doing it yourself and spoiling the painting.  Professionals are there who are trained in handling original pieces of art and they know how to fix painting related problems. 

An oil painting should not be hung in direct sunlight as well.  This will fade the paint and make it look dull.  Also, avoid hanging it at a place where the temperature keeps changing such as near a window or door which has to be opened and closed frequently.  If you painted has to be stored or transported, use a wooden box with moisture proof filling.  Bubble wrap entire painting before storing in the crate.  You can also choose to have glass placed on the artwork when you get it framed.  This will reduce the chances of the painting getting damaged. 

Enjoy What You Are Doing

When learning to paint, it is important to enjoy what you are doing.  Choosing a subject is very important and you should always choose what you are interested in.  Avoid painting a subject that you don’t like.  This will have an effect on the painting.  When you don’t do it with interest, you will not pay attention to details and the quality of the painting will be poor as well.  Paint a subject you like. This way, you will do a good job and it will be reflected in your artwork as well. 

Art Schools

There are a number of art schools that you can join if you are looking to pursue a career in painting.  Different schools offer different programs and you can choose the one which you think will be best for you.  When you join an art school you will learn all the tips, tricks and techniques of painting taught by professionals.  You will be guided through each and every step of painting. 


In this world, there are many great artists.  In fact, every artist is successful and there is none who have failed.  This is because there is nothing as such as right or wrong in the world of painting.  Each person has their own way and style of painting.  There are different ways and approaches they use to put their feelings and emotions on canvas.  Each painting is an expression of a feeling.  Whether viewers like it or not, each painting is unique and beautiful.  It is just how people see it.  When you create your artwork, there will be times others will find inspiration in your work.  However, there will also be time when criticism will come.  Don’t let what others say bother you.  People have been expressing their emotions and thoughts through painting since ages whether others like it or not.  When you paint, you show who you really are.  If you love painting, do it for joy.  Let people know that you are the creator of the art which is hanging beautiful in your living room.  Let everyone know you can express your feelings through a painting.