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Pre-stained or Staining Canvases in winter

edited February 2 in Studio & Supplies
Hi.  Quick questions from a novice about priming/primed canvases.

1.  Can anyone recommend "cheap" canvases which are pre-stained or primed in a mid-value neutral like grey or brown rather than white?  Why the fixation on white in the market anyway?

2.  I live in a very cold climate during winter and cannot use any chemicals a) in the house because...  danger  b) anywhere outside or in some shed because... well below freezing.  So what is the most efficient and cheapest way to effectively prime a canvas with a mid-value neutral color, inside the home?

As a novice I want to practice and keep things economical.

Appreciate any wisdom anyone can offer. 


  • CBG

    Aluminium composite panel.

  • I am extremely new and watching this thread with interest, too.  Could @CBG prime a sized canvas with acrylics in the desired chroma and tone, or even colored gesso, without being worried about ventilation?
  • Dustin_Cropsboy

    Yes. Or CBG could buy black canvas. But I think an oil primed canvas is preferred.

  • Why do you need a solid stained canvas?

    All you need is to stain a white canvas is OMS, Gamsol, and some paint. Any color will do. Mix the color in a transparent manner. Not too thin or thick. Use a large brush and cover the surface wait just a little while. The using a cloth or paper towel gently roll, dab and or wipe the surface  gently leaving a transparent stain. The result is a perfectly serviceable canvas. You can wait for it to dry or start drawing directed. 

    The advantage to this is that you control the 'mood' of the undersurface. You control color/value. You can work at a moments notice. You can also wipe back to create lighter shapes and sketch darker shapes with your brush in that under color. 
  • edited February 3
    @Dustin_Cropsboy is right. You could tone the canvas with acrylic. If your canvas is primed with an acrylic gesso, you can stain the canvas with acrylic in whatever colour you want.  Do it indoors and it will dry fast and there are no solvents involved. This works for me.

    (NB Don't do this on oil primed canvas.)
  • Thank you all for the feedback/ideas!
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