Choosing the Correct Canvas

24 Feb 2009

Q: I’m interested in trying watercolor painting. I took a few classes from a local artist, but I need to learn more of the basics. How can I educate myself about color? I need to experiment, but I also need to read about it. I have medium texture, acid-free, triple primed, stretched canvas. Do I need to prep it before I paint?

Your canvas sounds like it is meant for oil paint. Primed means the canvas is prepped for painting. There are watercolor canvases as well, which should be labeled accordingly. Your art-supply store should carry some basic books and color charts to help you get started. Color theory is the same regardless of medium. For quick information, go online and search for atmospheric light and color theory. To mix colors, use a basic color wheel. Most artists start with these basic shades: titanium white, cadmium yellow light, vermillion, alizarin crimson genuine, ultramarine blue, and cerulean blue. You may also want to consider viridian, burnt sienna, and ivory black. Combining these colors will yield hundreds of different hues.

--by Camille LaPointe-Lyons

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