Do you prefer a White Canvas or Colored for Starting a Painting?

Should you start your painting on a white canvas? …or is there an alternative… And I’m not referring to the black canvases you can buy!!

I found myself answering a fellow blogger who had purchased an easel and a large white canvas a year ago and is sitting staring her back and challenging her!

A blank canvas? Follow the example of some of the masters: paint a colored background first!

The Group of Seven from Canada (I had the incredible opportunity to view their work up very close, a few inches away  in the National Gallery in Ottawa, when I noticed this), and Tom Thompson especially, would paint over a pre-painted orange background, sometimes red as I recall. If bits of orange showed through they didn’t stress over it since it added more dynamism to their paintings!

I’ve experimented with this concept and have used different colors for backgrounds. It’s also very relaxing to do this prep work!

lone red tulip watermarked

Here’s my Orange Tulip done on an orange background: while this flower painting Blue Fairy Tree was done on a dark background of blues and greens mixed with black:

The of a blank white canvas scares and intimidates too many people! Try different colors, not just colors you might find in your future projects but try complimentary colors!

If I’m in a slump I find preparing a few canvases helps get me through it… I’m doing something productive and my creative juices start flowing!

Be sure to allow for enough drying time before painting on top! If you paint regularly, you’ll want to prepare your canvas backgrounds on a regular basis so you’ll have enough canvases dry and ready for when you start the actual image!

By pre-painting the backgrounds, even in complimentary colors, your first brushstrokes or markings will appear to make more sense, feel more anchored, and you’ll have a sense of already being in the painting, without the trepidation and anxiety of starting completely from scratch!

Is this cheating? No, because you’ll have done the work of painting the background yourself!

It’s freeing and liberating! I love the discovery of how my background colors interact with the colors I place on top, especially since I favor working in thin glazes to build up layers of rich color!

Try this and I’m sure you’ll have fun!!

Here’s few more links to paintings I did on pre-painted canvases  (with real paint, which adds some background texture to a finished piece, and will modulate the colors, as opposed to colored Gesso – where the color is one color and flat).

Click on any of the images to see it on Fine Art America!

moody irises watermarked

Moody Irises

Touch this Sunflower watermarked

Touch this Sunflower

White Hibiscus watermarked

White Hibiscus

Maple sugar shack in Quebec watermarked

Maple Sugar Shack in Quebec

A last thought: ART TOTE BAGS! Yup! Love a piece of art but don’t have space for it, even a small scale reproduction on your walls! Tote bags! Plus if you keep a few in your car, you’ll be ready for shopping trips and can save a plastic tree with your eco thoughtfulness!! #wearable art


Teaching ourselves to like, even to love ourselves

By changing our inner dialogue, we change EVERYTHING!

Challenge: When a negative thought enters your mind, think three positive ones. Train yourself to flip the script!

Brain Rewiring

Red Ocean or Blue Ocean? How do you think?

Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”

An answer to dealing with the Inner Critic!

My top 10 most viewed posts, plus a few bonuses!

Setting “Boundaries with consequences”

A helpful trick to be able to overcome negatively Comparing Ourselves to others…

Do you only accept yourself if you look a certain way?

A new you! Is this possible?

10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness

Please go to my Archived Posts page to find a list of posts to check out!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥


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