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Painting on Canvas

Home > Sydney > Art
Published December 17th 2010
Having the freedom to colour your thoughts and emotions on any medium what better way to spend your weekend relieving stress? The great thing about painting is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, anyhow; there are no hard and fast rules.

Painting is the practice of applying colour to a surface. Paper, canvas, walls, clay, glass and wood are some surfaces or supports that can be used for painting. Some materials that are used to create a painting include oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels. The application of colour is usually done with a brush, but other objects may be used.

Canvas-painting is increasingly popular with many artists today as canvasses are rather lightweight and durable. Canvas is typically stretched across a wooden frame, and those that are of better quality are primed with gesso before they are sold. This is done so that artists can preserve their canvas art pieces. Canvas may decay when oil paint comes into direct contact with the canvas fibres, so coating your canvas with gesso is a good way to prevent the oil paint from doing so.

Techniques like wet-on-wet painting are popular among young and old artists alike. This method is where layers of wet paint are applied to previous layers of wet paint. This calls for speed as well as skill, because the artwork needs to be finished before the first few layers have dried. The desired effect will not be achieved otherwise. And remember, don't stop at just two colours; experiment with more colours to produce a variety of shades and patterns on your art piece.

Blocking in is a technique to describe the process of painting either the entire canvas with a few selected colours or loosely painting in the areas with dominant colours and tones first. You can then refine the shapes and colours and add detail later on. Alternatively, you can paint one section at a time if you want to be very systematic. This means that you only move to another part of your painting when the current part is completed. Whether you're working from one corner to the next or painting individual elements first, one section at a time calls for a very organized approach. This method is useful for paintings with acrylics or if you want to blend colors.

Depending on your preferences or how elaborate your art piece is, you may want to paint the details first then fill in the background or finish the background colours first before stressing about the details. If you choose to do the details first, be extra careful when colouring in the background around the subjects. Having subjects in an art piece that don't look like they blend in with the rest of the picture will definitely ruin the entire painting.

Underpainting is another approach you may want to adopt, but it certainly requires a whole lot of time and patience. You will first have to paint a monochrome version of your art piece before glazing colour over. This delayed colouring method needs good skill and knowledge of colours and tones. Glazing should not be done with opaque colours but with transparent colours so that the original monochrome form of the painting will not be lost.

Ultimately, painting requires patience and a mind full of imagination. Sydney has gorgeous parks and beaches where you can sit and paint, so get together some painting materials and experiment with the various techniques of painting. Try out still life painting, painting a scene at a specific place or even painting in the dark. Or perhaps you could do an abstract art piece whereby you do not know exactly what you're going to do and are working with utter randomness. Most importantly, there is no such thing as a better or more correct technique. Different artists and personalities will naturally be more suited to certain approaches so play around with the styles and discover your very own preferences.
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Why? Freedom of expression in colour and texture.
When: Anytime
Where: Anywhere
Cost: Cost of canvasses vary depending on quality, starting from $15
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