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Painting on a canvas

Sometime back, I developed a penchant for painting on canvas instead of the usual MDF or wood items I had been used to.

It all started one day when I realised that I didn’t have time to basecoat an MDF item to paint a new project in class with my students. I thought of painting on paper but I discovered canvas boards among my hoard of “paintable” items and that became the perfect surface!

Since then, I didn’t have any qualms about taking any decorative painting design and painting it on a canvas board or stretched canvas.

Roses on bin

For example, I had painted this MDF bin with a roses design and much later painted the same thing on a rectangular canvas board.

Roses on Canvasboard

I also encourage my students to have a go and some of them actually like it. Its good to paint on traditional surfaces like the canvas, for a change! LOL

Basecoating your canvas for decorative painting is a little different because the canvas surface is not smooth like the MDF or wood surfaces we’re used to. So you will find it quite a challenge to basecoat it with a brush and thick paint straight from the bottle or tube.

But there is an easy way – I use a small roller sponge and extra pressure. Basecoat once, dry with a hairdryer and then basecoat again and voila…its ready to take your decorative painting.

You’ll also finish in half the time because no sanding is required….that should make a lot of painters happy!

Painting your design is not much different once you get the hang of moving your brush around on the basecoated canvas surface. You will always feel the texture of the canvas but all the decorative painting techniques you’re used to will work on the canvas.

No worries. You just have to try it to find out.

So why not have a go?

Basecoating the back or bottom of your project

Don’t you get frustrated when the back of a plaque or the bottom of a box you have basecoated so nicely gets stained with paint while you are painting? I’m sure we are all careful, but “accidents” can and do happen. It’s difficult to clean and sometimes you’re tempted to scrub it but what happens instead? The basecoat colour comes off too. I know, it’s happened to me too.

Here’s something you can do so that any paint stains are easily removed: When basecoating the back or bottom of your project, paint the first layer of basecoat normally, dry then sand. For the second and third coat add an equal amount of varnish (yes, VARNISH!) to your basecoat colour. Mix well then basecoat as you do normally. Best to use your roller sponge. You can still sand the second coat but as usual, you don’t need to sand the last coat.

Even if you never get paint stains on your project, this is an excellent shortcut. You can use this technique also for the insides of a box, legs of a table etc as long as you don’t intend to decorate those areas. When you finish your project you don’t need to varnish these areas anymore, just concentrate on the areas you have painted the design.

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