Before you begin painting on a canvas, there are a few things you must do first. These will make your canvas less porous, making it easier to paint over. Prime the canvas with an oil primer to make it non-porous. A gesso is a mixture of water and acrylic gloss medium that gives a smooth surface to paint on. You can also use pushpins to provide legs for your canvas.
A good primer is gesso. Most canvas supplies are pre-primed, but not all are. Some canvases lack tooth, so you will need to apply gesso and then paint. If you choose a pre-primed canvas, you should give it at least two coats of gesso before applying acrylic paint. Otherwise, the paint will not adhere properly to the canvas and may sink into the weave.
Gesso is another essential step for preparing a canvas before painting. It can be applied with a wide brush. When you’re applying it, make sure to apply it in thin, even strokes in one direction. Don’t worry about gesso drying too quickly – it’s important to let it dry completely before beginning your painting. If the gesso does not dry completely, you can sand it down to the desired level. Just be careful not to over-sand it as this could ruin your canvas.
Gesso is very similar to priming a wall. It protects the surface and keeps your painting archival. Unlike ordinary white paint, gesso has a different texture and does not provide the same surface grip for acrylic paint. If you are using oil paints, you’ll probably need to prime your canvas with gesso before applying any paint. But the difference between the two is minimal.