Have you ever had the desire to begin painting, yet unsure of how to properly prepare your canvas? Or maybe you have already started but feel like an important step is missing from your process? This guide is intended to assist you in preparing a canvas for painting, guaranteeing a fulfilling art-making experience.
What Does it Mean to ‘Fix’ a Canvas?
‘Fixing’ a canvas does not refer to repairing a broken or damaged canvas (although that’s entirely possible too). Instead, when we talk about fixing a canvas in the context of painting, we’re referring to the process of preparing the canvas for paint.
Tools and Materials You’ll Need
- A Canvas
- Gesso (a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these)
- A paintbrush or sponge brush
- Sandpaper (optional)
Steps to Fix your Canvas
1. Identify the Front and Back of the Canvas
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to know which side of the canvas you’re meant to paint on. Typically, the front of the canvas is where the fabric is stretched and stapled onto the wooden frame.
2. Apply the Gesso
Gesso is designed to penetrate the fibers of the canvas and seal it, providing a surface that the paint can stick to. Dip your brush into the gesso and apply it to the canvas. It’s typically best to use long, even strokes, working from one side of the canvas to the other. You can let the first coat dry and then add a second or even third coat if desired. One important point to remember: gesso dries quickly, so wash your brushes immediately after use.
3. Sanding (Optional)
If you want a super smooth painting surface, you can lightly sand the canvas between gesso coats. Let the gesso dry completely, then take a piece of fine-grit sandpaper and gently rub it over the surface. Wipe off any dust before applying the next coat of gesso.
Fixing your canvas is an essential step in the painting process. It can make the difference between a painting that looks vibrant and one that looks dull or patchy. So, next time you’re ready to create a masterpiece, remember to take the time to prepare your canvas correctly.