Are you a complete beginner when it comes to painting with oil?
Besides good paints and brushes, using high-quality canvas is essential to get the results you want.
In this article, we will go over the things you need to keep in mind when looking for the best canvas for oil painting.
Oil Painting For Beginners On Canvas
You can paint on many different surfaces besides the traditionally used canvas if you are using good quality oil paint. There are many types of canvas and the term normally refers to a kind of woven fabric. Cotton canvasses and linen canvasses being the best for oil painting. Besides the material and the size of the canvas, you want to consider the following things when buying a new canvas.
- Stretched or unstretched: canvas can come in different ways, such as stretched on a wooden frame, a big roll or sometimes even as pads. Stretched ones normally form the best canvas for oil painting for beginners since the stretching is already done for you. The only downside is that you can only buy stretched canvas certain standard sizes and they are normally rectangular shaped. If you need anything else, you will have to buy unstretched canvas and make it yourself.
- Texture: since canvas can be made from different materials through a variety of different methods, every canvas comes with a different degree of roughness. If you use rough textured canvas you might be able to still see the texture even after applying. Although this can sometimes result in very interesting effects, more often than not it’s not what you want. Normally you want a texture that is not too rough to prevent any problems and allow your oil paint brushes to smoothly move over the surface.
- Primed or unprimed: to prevent the paint from sinking into the fibers unevenly and leaving ugly blotches, the canvas often needs to be primed with a layer of gesso. Especially canvas with a rather rough texture benefits from one or two layers of gesso. Fortunately, most canvases for sale nowadays are already primed when you buy them. If you are a looking for the best canvas for oil painting for beginners, make sure to look for a primed canvas.
Also read our Ultimate Guide to Oil Painting!
Recommended Canvas For Oil Painting
For most beginners, the canvas multipack by US Art Supply, which includes 24 panels that are all 100% pure cotton and acid-free, will be a good start. These panels are already primed with Gesso so you can directly start applying your oil paints or even acrylic paint. The best thing is that the 24 panels come in 4 different sizes: 6-5″x7″, 6-8″x10″, 6-9″x12″, 6-11″x14″. The small ones are perfect for practice or portraiture, while the bigger ones can be used for elaborate landscape drawings. So all you need to do is take out those best oil paints you chose and start painting!
For the creatives amongst us, you can try to stretch your own canvas using a roll of canvas from Nasco. This 7-ounce roll will get you canvas equalling an area of 6 yards by 62 inches. However, since this canvas is unprimed you have to make sure to buy gesso and a frame as well.
Finally, if you are just looking to do some practice, then a canvas pad such as the one offered by Fredrix here will be good enough. Canvas pads are similar to a regular drawing pad. They are ideal for painting outdoors since they are easy to transport and lightweight. One pad contains 10 sheets that are acid-free and primed.