Best Canvases for Oils That are Simply A Joy To Paint On

Michael Daly
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It is one of the most popular painting surfaces for professionals and amateurs alike.

Canvas is the most popular painting surface for oil painters because it’s economical and easy to clean up.

I love working on a canvas for oil paintings because it has an immense amount of texture. I don’t have to prepare the canvas, use gesso or prime it.

And when I’m done painting for the day, I can simply clean it up with soap and water, and there is no prep work involved.

Here are some of the best canvases to consider buying.

NameCategoryProduct
Fredrix Canvas Pads 9 in. x 12 in.Best OverallFredrix Canvas Pads 9 in. x 12 in.
Masterpiece Artist Canvas 43873 Monet PRO 1-1/2" DeepBudget PickMasterpiece Artist Canvas 43873 Monet PRO 1-1/2" Deep
Art Alternatives Streched Canvas Super Value Pack-16 x 20 inches-Pack of 5Upgrade PickArt Alternatives Streched Canvas Super Value Pack-16 x 20 inches-Pack of 5

1. Fredrix Canvas Pads 9 in. x 12 in.

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fredrix Canvas Pads 9 in. x 12 in.

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Pros:

  • Protects your painting during transport
  • Has a durable cotton fabric to prevent paint bleeds
  • Has a fine surface texture that doesn’t slow down paint drying
  • Canvas can be easily attached to gesso board with wire
  • Pads come in various sizes
  • Canvas backer boards available and recommended for better handling and painting
  • Canvas is great for both oil and acrylic paints

Fredrix canvas pads come in several sizes, but the 9"x12" size is often recommended as the best size for beginning painters. It’s large enough for you to finish your masterpiece, yet small enough to carry to classes.

It’s also great if you're interested in small works of art to sell. These canvases come in many colors, but the classic white can be great for oil and acrylic painting. The texture is also a plus when using either type of paints.

Fredrix's canvas pads are completely cotton and not flocked. They’re lightweight, have an even thickness, and are very easy to work on. You can cut the canvas down to custom sizes, and they can be attached to a gessoed board in no time.

2. Fredrix 3501 Canvas Pads

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fredrix 3501 Canvas Pads

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Pros:

  • Offers a clear image
  • Coated to prevent mildew
  • Resists cracking when stretched
  • Sturdy yet lightweight
  • Easy to remove
  • Consumer-friendly warranty

Cons:

  • Some users reported that the surface is sticky to paint
  • Can burn if left on the lights for the duration of an entire day

If you’re a landscape painter, the way that you treat your canvas is extremely important. That’s why we’ve decided to place this product on our top canvas for oils list.

This canvas pad is coated to prevent mildew and is crafted for longevity. The canvas is lightweight and made with a sturdy material.

This is a true professional-grade canvas, if you are looking for a set of canvases that’s suitable for portrait, landscape, still life, and abstract painting, as well as collage and needlework projects, this set of canvases is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

3. Arteza Stretched Canvas 11×14” White Blank Bulk Pack of 8

Our rating: 8 / 10

Arteza Stretched Canvas 11x14” White Blank Bulk Pack of 8

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Pros:

  • Thick, fine stretch weave
  • Excellent quality
  • Set of 8 canvasses
  • Feels like a quality piece of art
  • Canvas is stretched on sturdy stretchers
  • Canvas is primed
  • Packaging is really decent
  • Excellent price

Cons:

  • Color is white, so not for projects with no color, or just a border color.
  • Canvas is loosely wrapped in a plastic, so those of you who prefer flat pack canvases will want to roll for a bit to make it perfectly flat.

To wrap this up, we would just like to say that we hope this guide helped you find your best painting canvases.

A lot of people don’t realize that the surface on which the artwork sits upon is perhaps the most important part of any painting, especially if this is a painting that is going to be in your home or office. Canvas is the surface that you will be painting onto and if you are going to be doing this as a profession, especially in the fine arts, then you will need to really put some time and money into making sure that the canvases that your paintings will be coming onto are of the highest quality.

4. US Art Supply 8 X 10 inch Professional Artist Quality Acid Free Canvas Panel Boards

Our rating: 8 / 10

US Art Supply 8 X 10 inch Professional Artist Quality Acid Free Canvas Panel Boards

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Pros:

  • Canvas boards are 3-ply
  • Canvas boards are acid-free
  • Canvas boards are thick and strong

Seamless, beautiful, professionally finished, and right within reach: this pack of canvas boards definitely has something to paint on.

They’re perfect for landscape painters, oil painters, and acrylic artists who want a mat that creates a clean seamless look. They’re ideal for sketchbooks, sketching pads, and are perfect for a full-size canvas. They fit easels, frames, and stretcher bars.

5. Artlicious Canvas Panels 12 Pack

Our rating: 8 / 10

Artlicious Canvas Panels 12 Pack

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Over the course of this list, we've spent a good deal of time telling you how important it is to get an oil painting starter kit, and this one is no different. Most oil painting starter kits will typically come with a canvas or two, and this Artlicious beginner set comes with 12 pieces.

Each of the Artlicious Canvas Panels has the following:

  • Each panel is painted and prepped to allow for deep and rich oil paintings
  • They come crafted with 100% cotton that provides a firm base for your oil paintings
  • When using oils, you'll find that the boards are good for a variety of sizes and are easy to clean
  • Each panel is long lasting and is made to take the abuse that a beginner oil painter is bound to give it.
  • They're relatively lightweight, which means they can be packed away in a backpack or suitcase easily.
  • They’re also easy to trim, so are great for a variety of different painting mediums and purposes
  • Bonus

6. Art Alternatives Streched Canvas Super Value Pack-16 x 20 inches-Pack of 5

Our rating: 8 / 10

Art Alternatives Streched Canvas Super Value Pack-16 x 20 inches-Pack of 5

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Pros:

  • Quality fabric painted surfaces
  • Anti-fade, non-yellowing colors
  • Easy to transport
  • Eco-friendly
  • Secure wooden stretcher bars
  • Factory primed
  • Easy to clean
  • Can be used with oil, acrylics, and temperas
  • Can be used for oil, acrylic, and watercolor paints
  • Simple to set up

This pack of five super value canvases really is super value. If you are just getting started with oil paintings, acrylics or watercolors, these canvases are a great choice. They are the same size as a standard frame, making them easy to find options to display them, and at 16 by 20 inches, it won’t be long before you’re able to fill an entire gallery wall. These canvases are a great value, sturdy and easy to work with, with a solid wood frame and they are easy to clean. Once you get started on painting on these canvases, you are going to want to buy more.

7. W&N Artists Stretched Canvas 8X10 Case/6

Our rating: 7 / 10

W&N Artists Stretched Canvas 8X10 Case/6

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Pros:

  • Crisp, rich colors
  • Strong and solid construction
  • Smooth texture that’s great for oil painting
  • Soft edge which makes framing easy
  • Canvas slices are dust and mold-free
  • You don’t have to stretch the canvases yourself
  • Competitive price for an adequate quality product
  • Comes in a wide variety of sizes

Cons:

  • Can get easily bent if not stored properly
  • The corners of the canvases can droop if stretched incorrectly or too tightly
  • Few customers complain that some of them have sharp edges
  • Canvas is not 1.5 inches deep

These canvases are the perfect choice for artists who are starting to dabble into abstract art. This package comes with 6 dust and mold-free canvases with their sides already stapled. This canvas is quite sturdy yet remains supple and actually have a smooth texture which is great for oil painting.

The wide and sturdy frame is wrapped around the canvas and has black corners that protect the canvas from scrapes and scratches. It has a wide wrapped edge that makes framing the piece a breeze and is perfect for high-quality paint work.

8. DAVELIOU Stretched Canvas 11×14”

Our rating: 7 / 10

DAVELIOU Stretched Canvas 11x14”

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Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Made with solid wood stretcher bars
  • Includes cardboard backing and a protective cardboard coat
  • Can be used on various painting surfaces
  • Pack of 5 canvases

Cons:

  • Wood bars have been reported to warp
  • Priming could have been better

It seems that one of the most popular things to do these days is to learn how to paint. If you want to give your kids a fun craft project, then we highly recommend these painting canvas frames.

These are solid wooden frames built with solid wood stretcher bars. Once you have your painting completed, you can easily put the canvas back in the frame and hang it anywhere in your home.

This set of 5 blank canvas frames includes acid-free cardboard backing for durability and a foam protective coat for paints and brushes. The frames are pretty much ready-to-use!

9. Masterpiece Artist Canvas 43873 Monet PRO 1-1/2" Deep

Our rating: 6 / 10

Masterpiece Artist Canvas 43873 Monet PRO 1-1/2" Deep

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Pros:

  • 1.5 inch canvas
  • High-quality premium cotton canvas
  • Hand stretched onto a wooden frame
  • Environmentally friendly

The Masterpiece Artist Canvas is a top quality cotton canvas that’s 1.5 inches thick. It’s hand-stretched onto a wooden frame and comes in various sizes and shapes.

Since it’s such a high-quality product, it’s a very good option for professionals. Of course, it is also perfect for beginners to learn on since it’s a good material to practice on without using a lot of money.

From tight to loose, no matter what style you want to paint, these canvases have you covered and make a great gift for any artist. Since each canvas is handmade, you can expect it to have some imperfections. It also means that each canvas will have totally unique style and layout.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What canvas do professional artists use?

Any professional artists will tell you that there are some canvases that are easy to paint on and others which turn out to be nothing but a pain in the rear. Some cheaper canvases have fibers that stick up and are tough to blend or paint on.

They can also be warped and sometimes the paint just won’t stick.There are many things to look out for when buying a canvas so that you get your money’s worth. An artist friend of ours recommends that we look for canvases with a good weight and balance.Make sure the canvas has a decent grain and is not too thin or thick.Also, with some canvases having two different sides, it would be nice to have some variety.

You can always work on the wrong side or use another piece of canvas altogether.

What you want is a good coverage of oil paints which blends without hassle.

What should I use to prime a canvas for oil painting?

You’ll use the same primer you would on any other canvas, but you can’t use gesso! Gesso is a chalk ground which will not work well over oil paint.

What is the best palette for oil paints?

Medium and big sized canvases are best suited for oil paints. Big canvases can hold more paint and water color wells. This will allow you to experience more creativity in your painting as you can blend colors well.

What paint works best on a canvas?

Oil paints are used for painting on canvases due to their long drying time which can last anywhere between a week and even years!

Conclusion

Selection of the right canvas is vital to your success as an oil painting. We discuss the various canvas types, including new and unusual canvases that are of interest to the contemporary artist. Many of these canvases can be stretched over wood frames for an even more permanent product, but it will add to the cost. As always, we’ve outlined our findings in our well-researched buying guide for you.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Fredrix Canvas Pads 9 in. x 12 in.Best OverallFredrix Canvas Pads 9 in. x 12 in.
Masterpiece Artist Canvas 43873 Monet PRO 1-1/2" DeepBudget PickMasterpiece Artist Canvas 43873 Monet PRO 1-1/2" Deep
Art Alternatives Streched Canvas Super Value Pack-16 x 20 inches-Pack of 5Upgrade PickArt Alternatives Streched Canvas Super Value Pack-16 x 20 inches-Pack of 5