Toning Your Canvas

A few weeks ago I had a studio session with Lea Colie Wight, a great painter who had a really lovely tone to her oil painting surface that many of us loved and wanted to know more about. I wanted to share that info with you!

Canvas Toning Process

The tone of the oil painting canvas was a lovely rich gray color that many of us enjoyed working on.
The tone of the oil painting canvas was a lovely rich gray
color that many of us enjoyed working on.

On pre-stretched, pre-primed canvas, one to two coats of Golden Acrylic #6 Neutral Gray paint diluted with water should be applied to the surface with a brush.

The mixture ratio is approximately two parts water to one part paint. To apply the tone, first cover the entire surface of the canvas with the mixture using a 2- or 3-inch wide brush. When the surface is completely covered make sure the paint surface is smooth by lightly dragging the brush through the paint from one edge to the other across the entire surface.

The finished canvas should have a uniformly smooth gray finish. If the first coat did not cover sufficiently then a second coat of the diluted #6 Neutral Gray toning mixture should be applied. Be careful to not apply the paint too thickly because it reduces the absorbency of the canvas and it makes it harder to apply the paint evenly.

Wight also recommends starting with closer to half water, half paint and see how it spreads.

Happy Painting!


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Oil Painting Blog
Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

One thought on “Toning Your Canvas

  1. Mrs. Courtney

    Thank you so much by the very good information that «Artist Daily`» give to me.

    I appreciate your lessons and advices.

    I had have study the Drawing Basics, and I stay glad with the book, very, very good!

    Benedita Menezes