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!
  • CBGCBG -
    edited March 25
    Again thanks to all!!

    BUT... now that it is no longer winter...
    indulge my laziness and impatience, and my chemical optimism/naivety:

    Is there any chemical (or any other) reason why a pre-primed (acrylic primed) white canvas can't be coated with a thin commercial primer spray, meant to form a reliable and durable primed surface for all materials?   I'm thinking something like a Rust-oleum or Krylon rust colored all purpose heavy duty type primer (which is usually flat or satin in texture), meant to be quick and durable and hopefully suffer no issues with adhesion of anything painted on top of it.

    I'd also spray my palette (currently white... I know I know) with the stuff too.

    Not that any of my works will have to last 100 years, I'm just not a chemist, and I don't want any issues.

    Any thoughts?   :)

  • CBG

    For the environment, health, ease of clean up and economy there are water based heavy duty primers.
    These can be tinted to your requirements.

    Here is an example:


  • @dencal

    Looks like a good winter solution for the less lazy and less impatient version of me. (Also.. if I ever get into ACPs )

  • I like to paint on birch panels that I make in my shop. I prime with shellac but the ground I use is 100% acrylic latex matte finish wall paint that I had custom tinted at sherwin Williams. 

    I can draw with a relatively  fine line and clean stray marks with water using the stabilo “all” pencils.  The wall paint has almost no odor and is nontoxic and low voc. Also $16 for a quart which is a lifetime supply. Dries in 30 minutes or faster with a blow dryer. 

    I use the same ground for canvas. 
Sign In or Register to comment.