How to Prime (Advice applies to both acrylic and oil primer)
Use a synthetic or relatively soft hog hair brush that is clean and dry. Load with primer and apply evenly by brushing the paint on in random, varied directions. If the paint is not gliding on easily dilute it (with water if it is acrylic or solvent if it is oil). I find that by dipping my brush into a pot of solvent or water before dipping into undiluted primer, I am able to achieve just the right consistency of primer for application, but everyone finds their preferred method with experience. Keep the layer of primer as thin as possible and leave to dry – at least 3-4 hours for acrylic primer and overnight for oil primer. Then apply a new layer if necessary. The more layers of primer the less absorbent the canvas will feel, and the brighter your colours will appear. Most artists tend to apply 2-3 layers before considering a canvas ready for working on. If you like a particularly smooth surface on which to work, gently rub a fine piece of glass or sandpaper over the canvas to remove any lumps that may have appeared in the primer. Now you have your blank canvas and the possibilities of what you paint on it are limitless. Might I just add here that if you have a photograph or drawing that you are keen to transpose on to canvas, we sell a range of projectors (including the digital art projector which you can plug straight into your pc or mac) that are designed solely for the purpose of easily doing this otherwise time consuming task.
Canvases for other artists
If you wish to work on canvas with watercolour paint, you can with the use of Golden acrylic absorbent ground, which allows the canvas to behave a little more like watercolor paper. If you wish to paint on canvas with pastels why not try priming with Art Spectrum Colourfix primer for pastels or Golden’s specially formulated Golden pastel ground, both of which dry with a coarse tooth perfect for pastel painting. If you have photos saved in a digital file that you wish to turn into large canvas prints, we have a selection of specially conditioned canvases for digital canvas printing. If you intend to have a go at high quality printing on canvas you must consider the lightfastness of the end result as well as whether there is sufficient bonding of the inks to the surface, these special digital canvases have been developed to do just that. Golden also offer a range of ‘Digital Grounds’ so that you can prepare your own supports for canvas prints and imitate the current trend for giclee. Or, why not make like Andy Warhol and turn a favourite photo into a cool, original piece of pop art on your computer before you transfer the image to canvas, printing to create a personalized, special gift to hang on a loved one’s wall.