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Happiness is a blank canvas waiting for that first pencil mark or stroke of a paintbrush. Whatever your desired medium or level of expertise, we have the best artist canvas for your needs. Cotton canvas is fantastic for a wide range of purposes and is especially suited for acrylic and oil paints. For more professional use we’d recommend linen artist canvas, and for watercolour we offer a great selection of canvas board. All of our artist canvas comes in many different sizes, from some of the best brands including Winsor & Newton, Reeves and Johanna Basford. All of our artist canvas comes in many different sizes, including A1, A2, A3 and A4. Our range of artist canvas includes blank canvas boards and pads, canvas rolls, framed canvas and stretched canvas. Start browsing our artist canvases now from leading brands like Winsor & Newton, Reeves and Johanna Basford.

Do you need to use canvas for painting?

Looking at canvas can be daunting and it might be tempting to stay on paper or sketchbooks. However, using canvas has many benefits for your art. Canvas is far more durable than paper, meaning that you can layer more paint for a more textured composition. Your art will also last longer on canvas than paper, especially if you varnish your finished work. 

There are of course other options depending on your preferred painting style. Read blogs on our website to be inspired and find out How To Paint On Wood and more.

Can you paint straight on to canvas?

Before putting paint directly on the canvas, it’s important to prime your canvas. It is recommended to use Gesso, like Winsor and Newton’s Galeria Gesso, when priming. This first layer protects the fibres of the canvas from damage and provides a base layer for your colours to stand out against. Your paint will go further, as it will not be absorbed by the canvas. Browse our vast range of primers, toners and solvents today.

Priming your canvas can also soften the canvas surface, making it kinder on your brushes so they do not deteriorate as quickly. However, at Wilcox and Cowling we offer a range of primed canvas, such as the Cowling & Wilcox White Primed Cotton Canvas Roll, so that you don’t have to. For more details on priming, check out our Tips For Priming A Canvas on our blog.

How do you paint on canvas?

The first step for painting on canvas is to prime the surface and let the Gesso dry completely. It is then possible for you to inspect your painting surface and carefully sand down any unwanted textures - but be careful not to remove too much of the primer you just applied!

After primer, many artists use a toner. This is a light wash of paint, usually mixed with a solvent, that will show through the next layers of paint. This colour can set the tone for the rest of the piece, i.e. a grey or blue backwash best suits a cold or misty landscape, however you can pick a contrasting backwash for a more experimental piece. During this step, you can also sketch the outline of any objects in your painting. 

Next is to get painting! Visit our blogs on our website for inspiration on what to paint or more details on How to Paint on Canvas.