Let's Get Your Creative Juices Flowing!!!
Yes, you CAN paint a giant canvas background in JUST 2 minutes!! I know it sounds too good to be true - especially if you're intimidated by large canvas painting. I can't wait to show you this spray paint on canvas idea! It's one of my all time favorite mixed media painting techniques!! Even better... it's FAST, EASY... and CHEAP! If you're a beginner in the world of mixed media art, or just curious about how to attack a giant canvas - today's video is FOR YOU!!
It's funny - while I was filming - I took a little look around my studio and was kinda surprised to realize how MANY of my canvases on the wall started with the SAME mixed media painting technique for the background. Check out the video to see the examples up close!!
As you'll see, I work on BIG canvases all the time, and LOVE IT!!
I feel like large canvas painting is more free-ing as an artist and it's actually EASIER because I have room to spread out my ideas, and don't have to get hung up on tiny little details.
The first giant canvas painting I want to share with you up close is my pink mixed media mermaid. She's actually 4 feet tall, and was created out of two, 2 foot canvases. The background for this piece took me all of FIVE MINUTES. No joke!! That's 2.5 minutes per canvas... and DONE.
All I did was spray paint on my canvas, then I misted a second color of spray paint through a stencil sheet to create the look of underwater bubbles! SERIOUSLY!! That's it!!
The next canvas background idea I want to show you is of my dragon in acrylics. This one took just a little longer because I used more colors.
Even with adding more color- the dragon background didn't take me longer than 10 minutes to do. Can you imagine how much LONGER (and EXPENSIVE!!) this would be painting with acrylics and a paint brush?!
For my art deco painting below, I taped off a section in the background because I wanted a frame behind the couple. That part took a little longer to tape off, but then I just used a can of black matte spray paint on canvas for the backgound, and I was done. EASY!!
As I walk you through these pieces, you'll start to understand the THREE main reasons why I love to paint canvas backgrounds using spray paint:
1. Spray paint is really inexpensive - I've tried all the brands from the cheapest to the most expensive, and there's no difference. That means I spend about $3.99/can, and am FINE with grabbing the ones on sale for 99 cents. I promise you- they work JUST as well!! This is SO much cheaper than buying an inexpensive tube of acrylic paint!!
When shopping for spray paint, I suggest you only pick up cans in satin or matte because glossy can be kinda tough to work with if you plan to do any adhesive collage layering or acrylic painting on top. For some reason, the glossy cans feel like they're stronger smelling to me too!
2. Spray paint comes in a HUGE array of colors - There are SO many fun colors you can pick up to add to your mixed media projects. And because they're so cheap in a can - you can probably afford to buy MORE of them :) They also last forever!!
3. Spray paint is amazing to COVER LARGE AREAS - If you haven't tried spray paint on canvas before - you're gonna be shocked at how much real estate you can cover in a short amount of time! It takes forever to cover a giant canvas with acrylic paint. Plus, you end up getting brush strokes that may be distracting to look at. Spray paint really glides over canvas well and gives it a smooth look!
The only downside to using spray paint is if you want or need to do touch ups to your canvas background later. It can be tough to replicate what you did with multiple colors, but if you need a teeny touch up - here's my trick!!
Spray a puddle of paint into a disposable plate, bowl or cup and dip your paint brush in. Simple, right?!
When you're choosing colors to work with for your canvas background painting, you can keep things really simple and use one or two like I did for my mixed media mermaid, or if you want to show more depth - grab 3-4 shades of the same color in a light, medium, and dark for contrast.
I have SO many fun colors. This is probably only half of my stash!!
If you haven't used stencils with spray paint before, you're gonna love this!! Stencils work SO well with spray paint because spray paint dries really fast. When you mist a new color through a stencil over your previous color of spray paint - then two colors WON'T MIX! Each shade can lay beautifully right on TOP of the other!!
Do you clean your stencils after you use them? Students ALWAYS ask me this!!
I NEVER clean my stencils- I just keep reusing them over and over. Some may think this is lazy, but it actually makes the stencils work better over time this way! The paint eventually builds up a bit and in a way ends up making the stencils stronger so they work even better!
Check out the stencil below. This one is really cool! I used it to make the underwater bubbles in my pink mixed media mermaid painting.
Watch the video so you can understand exactly what I mean here. This particular stencil doesn't have a "hard line" or edge to it. It's been trimmed so the edges are a bit softer and easier to blend into a background.
STENCIL & SPRAY PAINT TIP: To avoid a hard edge showing up on your canvas, trim the edges of your stencil off like I did in the stencil above. You can also work on perfecting your spray painting technique. Try to mist your paint right into the center of your stencil.
Ok! Reay to see how FAST this process really is?! CLICK over to the video and you can see it in real time. It takes me less than a minute to cover this 18" x 24" canvas in one solid color.
For the stenciled parts, I simply pull my white spray paint out and gently hold my stencil above the freshly painted canvas. You don't want to lie it on top of the canvas because it could stick!
One of my favorite things to do with a stencil is to mist it into the corners of my canvas. I think it adds a really nice frame to whatever I end up putting into the foreground.
HOT TIP! Make sure you hit your CANVAS edges with color too. Trust me!! You'll be so mad if you come back to your art table and notice they're all WHITE!! LOL :)
I hope you enjoy this demo and find this spray paint on canvas idea just as helpful as I have!!
Have fun art-ing!!
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Founder of Awesome Art School. Mixed Media Artist. Author of 18 Instructional Art Books!
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