How To Paint Watercolors On Canavas For VIBRANT Results

Michael Daly
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Straight Canvas Won’t Work, It Needs To Strike Properties Like Watercolor Paper

For a vivid watercolor painting, you cannot go with canvas straight out of the box. You need to strike a deal with watercolor paper.

First, cut the roll of paper into the desired size of your painting. No need to cut too small of a piece because watercolor paper has a tendency of shrinking a little when wet, so allow an extra inch.

Now, tape the paper firmly to the canvas board. You need to really press it down to eliminate leakage of paint from the edges.

For an Automatic Surrealistic Effect:

Keep the paint on the right side of the paper and pour water on the left.

When the paper fills up with water, take the paintbrush and start pushing or pull the paint off the paper. You can do this in one direction or multiple directions.

For A More Creative And Personalized Effect:

Sadly, water doesn’t mix with paint very well. So, use a spray bottle, soak the paper, then draw or push paint off the paper. You can also use a paper towel, towel or sponge to do the same. The key is pushing the paint towards the border.

Remember to loosen up! You’re not aiming to make a masterpiece.

Gesso Must Be Staple In Your Studio

Gesso is a very important item of the artist's storeroom. It is the key element which holds your artwork on the canvas.

Gesso can be bought in white or very pale cream, but also in all kinds of colors and in many different brands. You should try out different types of gesso for different techniques and to achieve different results.

You should always use high quality gesso which is historically made and which is not water based. This is the best type to use with oil, acrylic and water-based media.

The gesso should be thinned with an acid to adjust its consistency.

Acid is used to adjust the thickness of the base as well as for the texture or for special painting techniques. If your gesso is too thick, it may crack or flake. So, you need to adjust its consistency.

Powdered Gesso is generally a better choice as it is usually of better quality and it is cheaper.

As a general rule you should use a maximum of 10% of your total paint mixture with gesso. If you are mixing acrylic and oil paints, you should use a minimum of 25% of the gesso.

In Order To Use Watercolors On Canvas You Must Apply A Watercolor Ground

When it comes to painting on canvas, there are a few things that you must do before you can start using watercolors to get anything other than a faint hue. And those few crucial steps are choosing the right canvas painting, followed by applying the right kind of ground.

The ground is a very thin layer of either plaster or acrylic that needs to be applied to the canvas before wetting it during a watercolor painting. The aim of the ground is to make the canvas more receptive to the water applied over the ground. The paints will float on the ground and adhere to the canvas as it is applied.

Applying a ground will make it easier to paint a neatly painted background or the ground of the painting itself.

In essence, the purpose of the ground is similar to the primer that is applied before painting house walls. It is also necessary to make the colors in the wet paint appear vibrant and bright.

There are a few ways that you can apply the ground. The first is to dilute the ground paint and apply it to the canvas. When this is done, you can wait for it to dry or place the canvas out in the sun for a fast drying.

The other, and my preferred method, is by using a spray gun to apply the ground to the canvas. This gives you more precision and control on the amount of ground that is applied on the canvas.

How To Prep A Canvas For Watercolor Paints

You can use a new canvas for watercolor.

New canvases are important because they give you the opportunity to have a truly blank space which you can use to you advantage in your painting.

Here is how to prep your canvas.

You don’t need to stretch your canvas, though many painters do.

You want to have a canvas that has a bit of texture, not brittle.

The sound of the canvas means it is flexible and you can use it for your watercolor painting.

It is important to choose the right size of the canvas for the painting you want to do.

For bigger paintings, choose a bigger canvass but don’t choose the size that is too big.

Word Of Note When Using Watercolors On Canvas

Any paint applied on canvas has a tendency to bleed- it is common and unavoidable. To achieve vibrant colors using watercolors on canvas, you will have to apply thick layers using a dry piece of brush. Let it dry completely before adding more layers.

Since the paint on a canvas will bleed and seep under the paint layers, you will need to fully block the gessoed canvas under the paint layers. This is absolutely necessary and you will need to let the white splotches seep under the paint layers.

Just like how a white canvas will turn into a light beige when you apply several layers of paint to it, as you paint on the canvas, the color will increase in intensity and the canvas will have an embedded texture.

The Easy Option – Canvas Watercolor Boards

This canvas painting option is FANTASTIC for beginners!

You can paint it using traditional watercolors or acrylics and the results are brilliant.

These boards have a canvas top layer, a synthetic felt layer for absorbency and a 3mm thick birch core which ensures that the painting stays neat and tidy as you paint.

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Jumping into a new hobby is daunting. Finding the right equipment, the right teacher, and just generally getting comfortable enough to dive into something new all serve to make sure that most beginners never start.

One hobby that seems simple and easy to get into the basics, quickly, is watercolor painting. I've always been attracted to watercolor paintings because of the vibrancy and richness of color. Then I learned the secrets to making my watercolor paintings look rich and vibrant, too.

First, below are some basic rules and points about watercolor painting, how watercolor works, and then my simple tricks so you can achieve vibrant results even as a beginner.

The Secret to Vibrant Watercolor Is Usually in the Technique

It seems like watercolor painters have unlimited choice when it comes to the type and quality of paint. You've got dozens of brands and types you can choose from when you go to a store. And, with so many to choose from, you always wonder if there's something better.

But, when it comes to creating a vibrant piece, the right technique is key.

Usually, the colors aren't the problem. You've learned to do a little research and you've got the right colors. It's more about understanding how to use your paints the right way. Otherwise you'll end up with a muted piece.