Over the years, I’ve preferred smooth oil painting surfaces. But lately, I am having fun with this money-saving tip to create texture on canvas.

The following technique will also work well for acrylic painters!

©2022 Lori McNee “One the Move” 24×30, oil on canvas

I used to enjoy painting on a smooth substrate like fine linen or a sanded birch panel. That way, I was able to build up and create my own brushwork and effects without being influenced by the grain or texture of the substrate.

This technique was especially pleasing for my traditional still life paintings. But I tired of the precise painting process.

©2020 Lori McNee “Metamorphosis” 48×24, oil & gold leaf on canvas

So over the past 10 years, I have branched out and experimented with some mixed media including encaustic painting. What I have learned has really influenced my recent oil paintings. I discovered how to create texture!

There are many ways to create texture to your canvas. For both oil and acrylic painters, texture can be made using a lot of paint and mediums to create impasto effects. But, oil and acrylic paint is expensive.

So I have discovered a money-saving shortcut to quickly create texture on canvas BEFORE I begin to use expensive paint. I use acrylic Super Heavy Gesso! (I prefer Liquitex and shared an Amazon link).

In the Instagram Reel below you will see how I apply the Super Heavy Gesso to create texture on canvas. It’s super easy! 😉

Here’s how I prep and add extra texture on my canvas…

First, I have a clear vision of the finished piece in mind so I can better control the texture.

For example, the canvas in the following video will have chickens in summer grasses with lots of dandelions as the subject matter. So I wanted to create some interesting texture that will compliment those elements.

Keeping this concept in mind, I kept the heaviest texture at the base of the 24×48 canvas where the foreground grasses will be.

This texture will add interest to my painting PLUS it will save me a lot of time and oil paint!

EXTRA TIP: Instead of gesso, I sometimes use joint compound underneath regular gesso which adds even more interesting texture to an oil or acrylic painting. I did this with encaustic painting and it is great!

But this technique works best on a stable substrate such as a wood panel. Stretched linen and canvas are too flexible and any movement will crack the joint compound.

It’s fun to explore and try new things! Take a look at the short video to see how I create texture on my canvas.

I hope this post inspires you.


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