Category: Art 101

Plein-air painting of people sitting on bench during daytime

How to Varnish Your Canvas Paintings: Expert Tips for Artists

Varnishing your canvas paintings is an essential step in preserving and enhancing your artwork. A well-applied varnish can protect your painting from dust, UV rays, and environmental pollutants, while also enriching its colors and providing a professional finish. Here are some expert tips on how to varnish your canvas paintings effectively.

Continue reading

Small painting of an ocean wave

6 Tips to Make Paint Last on Canvas

Ensuring the longevity of your paintings is important for preserving your artistic legacy. Whether you are an amateur or a professional painter, taking steps to make your paint last on canvas is essential. Here are six tips that will help you achieve lasting results.

Continue reading

4 Strategies to Combat Art Theft and Plagiarism

Art theft and plagiarism are significant issues that plague the art community. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional painter, the unauthorized use of your work can be both disheartening and financially damaging.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the global art theft industry is worth approximately $4 billion to $6 billion annually. This staggering statistic highlights the urgent need for artists to take measures to protect their work. Here, we discuss several strategies artists can employ to safeguard their creations.

Continue reading

An interior designer styling a home

What Type of Artwork Do Interior Designers Look for in Austin, TX?

Austin, Texas, known for its vibrant culture and thriving arts scene, is a hub for interior designers who seek unique and compelling artwork to elevate their projects. For painters in Austin, understanding the types of artwork that resonate with local interior designers can open new opportunities for collaboration and sales.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to what interior designers in Austin are looking for and how you can cater to their needs.

Continue reading

How to Overcome the Fear of Failure as an Artist

Fear of failure is a common hurdle for many artists, stifling creativity and impeding growth. However, overcoming this fear is essential to unleashing your true potential.

Claude Monet, one of the founders of French Impressionist painting, experienced significant fear of failure throughout his career. Monet’s early works were often rejected by the Paris Salon, the leading art exhibition of the time.

Continue reading

Essential Tips for Choosing the Right Paints and Brushes for Your Custom Canvas

Selecting the right paints and brushes for your custom canvas is crucial to achieving the desired outcome in your artwork. The right materials not only enhance your creative expression but also ensure the longevity and quality of your work.

Here are some essential tips to help you choose the perfect paints and brushes for your custom canvas.

Continue reading

How to Make a Paint Palette for Art Students: A Step-by-Step Guide

Creating an efficient and practical paint palette is an essential skill for art students. A well-organized palette helps manage colors effectively, enhances the painting process, and can significantly improve the overall quality of the artwork.

Here’s a guide on how to make a paint palette tailored for art students.

1. Choosing the Right Palette

The first step in making a paint palette is selecting the right type of palette. There are several options available, each with its own advantages:

  • Wooden palettes – Traditional and durable, wooden palettes are ideal for oil painting. They develop a natural patina over time, which can be beneficial for mixing colors.
  • Plastic palettes – Lightweight and easy to clean, plastic palettes are suitable for all types of paint, including acrylics and watercolors.
  • Glass palettes – Glass palettes are easy to clean and provide a smooth surface for mixing colors. They are especially useful for oil and acrylic paints
  • Disposable palettes – Made from palette paper, these are convenient for quick clean-up and are perfect for students who prefer not to spend time on cleaning.

2. Organizing Your Palette

Here’s how to set up your palette for optimal use:

  • Arrange colors logically. Arrange your colors in a way that makes sense to you. A common method is to place colors in a circular arrangement, similar to a color wheel. Place the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) first, followed by secondary and tertiary colors.
  • Leave mixing space. Ensure there is enough space in the middle of the palette for mixing colors. Crowded palettes can lead to muddied colors and make the painting process less efficient.
  • Keep neutrals handy. Place white, black, and any neutral colors you use frequently in an easily accessible spot. These are often needed for mixing tints, shades, and tones.

3. Preparing Your Palette for Use

Before you start painting, prepare your palette to make the most out of your painting session.

  • Clean your palette. Make sure your palette is clean and free of any dried paint. A clean palette helps in mixing pure and vibrant colors.
  • Dispense small amounts of paint. You can always add more if needed, but it’s easier to avoid waste and keep your palette organized this way.
  • Use a palette knife to mix colors instead of a brush. This keeps your brushes clean and prevents unwanted mixing on the brush itself.

4. Mixing Colors Efficiently

Efficient color mixing is key to a successful painting experience. Here are some tips:

  • Understand color theory. A basic understanding of color theory helps in mixing the desired hues, tints, shades, and tones.
  • Mix colors gradually to achieve the perfect hue. Start with a small amount of the darker color and slowly add the lighter color.
  • Test your mixes. Test mixed colors on a scrap piece of paper or canvas before applying them to your artwork. This helps ensure the color is exactly what you need.

5. Maintaining Your Palette

Proper maintenance of your palette extends its lifespan and keeps your colors vibrant.

  • Clean regularly. Clean your palette immediately after each painting session. For acrylics and watercolors, warm water and soap work well. For oils, use a palette knife to scrape off excess paint and wipe the palette with a cloth soaked in a solvent like turpentine or mineral spirits.
  • Store properly. Store your palette in a dry, cool place. If you’re using a glass or wooden palette, make sure it’s stored in a way that prevents cracking or warping.

Making and maintaining a paint palette is a fundamental skill for art students. By choosing the right palette, organizing your colors, preparing it properly, mixing efficiently, and maintaining it regularly, you can enhance your painting experience and produce better artwork.

Painting En Plein Air: Connecting with Nature Through Art

Painting en plein air, or painting in the open air, is a practice that has captivated artists for centuries. From the Impressionists of the 19th century to contemporary plein air painters, the act of creating art amidst the beauty of nature offers a unique and exhilarating experience.

We’ll explore the reasons why painting en plein air is so exhilarating and how it fosters a deep connection between artists and the natural world.

1. Immersion in nature’s beauty. One of the most exciting aspects of painting en plein air is the opportunity to immerse oneself in the breathtaking beauty of nature. Whether it’s a serene landscape, a bustling cityscape, or a quaint rural scene, painting outdoors allows artists to experience the sights, sounds, and sensations of their surroundings firsthand. From the soft glow of morning light to the vibrant hues of sunset, plein air painters capture the fleeting moments of nature with a sense of immediacy and intimacy that is unmatched.

2. Dynamic lighting and atmosphere. Painting en plein air presents artists with the challenge of capturing the ever-changing play of light and atmosphere. Unlike studio painting where lighting conditions can be controlled, painting outdoors requires artists to adapt to shifting shadows, changing weather patterns, and the quality of natural light. This dynamic interplay of light and atmosphere adds an element of spontaneity and excitement to the painting process, resulting in works that are infused with energy and vibrancy.

3. Sense of presence and authenticity. Painting outdoors fosters a sense of presence and authenticity that is difficult to replicate in the studio. By painting from life, artists are able to engage all their senses, from the feel of the breeze on their skin to the scent of wildflowers in the air. This direct connection with their subject matter allows plein air painters to infuse their work with a sense of immediacy and truthfulness.

4. Creative challenge and growth. Painting en plein air presents artists with a unique set of challenges that stimulate creativity and foster artistic growth. From quickly capturing the essence of a scene to simplifying complex forms and colors, plein air painting requires artists to make spontaneous decisions and embrace imperfection. This willingness to take risks and experiment with new techniques leads to artistic breakthroughs and personal growth, as artists learn to trust their instincts and embrace the unexpected.

5. Communion with the environment. Painting en plein air is not just about capturing the beauty of nature; it’s also about forging a deeper connection with the environment. When painting outdoors, artists become keenly attuned to the rhythms of the earth, from the changing seasons to the cycles of growth and decay. This sense of communion with nature infuses their work with a sense of reverence and awe, reminding viewers of the inherent beauty and fragility of the world around us.

Painting en plein air is exhilarating for many reasons. For artists, painting outdoors is not just a creative endeavor; it’s a transformative experience that deepens their appreciation for the wonders of the natural world and inspires them to capture its beauty with passion and reverence.

Exploring the Canvases of Famous Artists

Artists throughout history have utilized various mediums and canvases to express their creativity and leave a mark on the world of art. From Renaissance masters to modern visionaries, each artist brought their unique style and technique to their chosen canvas.

Leonardo da Vinci. Mona Lisa. 1503. Louvre Museum.
Leonardo da Vinci. Mona Lisa. 1503. Louvre Museum.

Leonardo da Vinci

The epitome of the Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci, is celebrated for his mastery in multiple disciplines, including painting. While he experimented with different surfaces, Leonardo often favored wood panels coated with gesso for his iconic works like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. His meticulous attention to detail extended to the preparation of his canvases, ensuring a smooth and durable surface for his brushstrokes.

Da Vinci was incredibly particular about the quality of his materials. He used oil paint that he made by hand from ground pigments and he often sourced the finest wood and gesso for his paintings. His commitment to perfectionism is evident in the timeless beauty and precision of his artworks.

La Nuit étoilée. Vincent van Gogh. 1889. Oil on canvas, 73 × 92 cm (28.7 × 36.2 in). Museum of Modern Art (New York City)

Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh revolutionized the art world with his bold use of color and expressive brushwork. He preferred heavy, textured canvases that allowed him to apply thick layers of paint in his distinctive impasto style. He also experimented with unprimed surfaces such as hessian, a coarse fabric made from hemp or jute. His masterpieces, such as Starry Nigh” and Sunflowers, are renowned for their dynamic energy and emotional intensity.

The tormented genius is known for his dedication to his craft, painting for hours without rest. Despite his struggles with mental illness and personal hardships, he poured his heart and soul into his canvases, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire artists and art enthusiasts worldwide.

Studio with Plaster Head. Pablo Picasso. 1925. Oil on canvas. 38 5/8 x 51 5/8" (97.9 x 131.1 cm).
Studio with Plaster Head. Pablo Picasso. 1925. Oil on canvas. 38 5/8 x 51 5/8″ (97.9 x 131.1 cm).

Pablo Picasso

Pablo Picasso knew no bounds–he fearlessly pushed the boundaries of art and creativity. He experimented with various mediums and techniques throughout his career. He painted on linen canvas, plywood and wood panel. From his early Blue and Rose Periods to his later Cubist explorations, Picasso’s versatility and innovation are evident in every brushstroke.

Georgia O’Keeffe

The pioneering spirit of Georgia O’Keeffe revolutionized the world of modern art with her bold, abstract depictions of flowers and landscapes. O’Keeffe often worked on large-scale canvases, allowing her to explore the intricate details of her subjects with precision and clarity. Her iconic paintings, such as Jimson Weed and Black Iris, capture the essence of the American Southwest with a timeless elegance.

O’Keeffe has a deep connection to nature as evident by her bodies of work. She finds inspiration in the vast landscapes and rugged beauty of the desert. Her artistic vision transcended mere representation, offering viewers a glimpse into the soul of the natural world through her canvases.

The canvases chosen by famous artists played a crucial role in shaping their artistic vision and legacy. Whether it was Leonardo da Vinci’s meticulous wood panels or Jackson Pollock’s unconventional floor canvases, each surface became a blank canvas for artistic expression and innovation.

Get Your Painting Canvas from CanvasLot

CanvasLot specializes in custom-size canvases for painting. We offer hand-stretched, gallery-wrapped canvases from 6 inches up to 12 ft. Ordering can be done online and we’ll deliver your canvas right at your doorstep.