Make a Mixed Media Textured Canvas Board

Happy New Year, everyone!  If you are someone who loves texture, this is a wonderfully simple and fun way to create it.  I have done so to a piece of canvas board, but you can certainly create it on other surfaces, such as paper and wood.

To recreate this project you will need the following supplies:

  • canvas board (I have used 9×12, but you can choose any size you’d like)
  • Golden’s Gel Mediums and Pastes
  • Golden’s Acrylic Paints
  • 1″ Acrylic Paint Brush
  • Palette Knife
  • Paper Towels
  • Palette Paper or Large Plastic Plates
  • Cup of Water

What is canvas board?  Canvas board is similar to stretched canvas, except instead of the canvas being stretched onto a frame, it is attached to a stiff board.  It isn’t thick like stretched canvas either.  I like it because it is sturdy and the canvas itself adds another layer of texture.

I am particularly fond of Golden’s Gel Mediums and Pastes.  These are made to be used with acrylic paints.  You can either mix the paint into the mediums to change the texture of the paint OR you can paint over them.

Gel Mediums, like the ones that I have smeared on the canvas above, come in a variety of textures.  For this project, I have used the following mediums:

  • Course Pumice Gel: this is stone like and very grainy
  • Fine Pumice Gel: a finer grain than the course
  • Clear Tar Gel: this is a clear gel that can be dripped onto the canvas in spots or run in lines.  It holds it’s dimension and won’t flatten out.
  • Molding Paste: this comes in a variety of textures also.  You can use this to build up on a surface that then can be further texturized
  • Fiber Paste:  this has a paper like texture

The reason for using such a variety of mediums on one canvas is that each will take the paint differently.  This adds another layer of texture and makes the piece much more interesting.  I use a palette knife and smear the thicker pastes and mediums.  For the Clear Tar Gel, I dip my palette knife into it and drizzle it onto the canvas.

Depending on how thick you have layered on the mediums will dictate drying time.  If the layers are thin and there isn’t much overlapping, it could take a couple of hours.  However, if you have really slathered it on, it could take up to 24 hours to dry all the way through.  I usually make several textural collages like this at a clip and leave them over night to dry.  You can add paint to them at any time.  Speaking of….

I love Golden’s Heavy Body Acrylics.  They can be costly, however.  No worries there…any acrylic paints will work.  I have certainly done this technique with Plaid’s lines of acrylic paints and with Jacquard’s as well.  Just experiment and have fun.  That’s what art is all about in my book!

Once you’ve decided on a color palette, it’s time to paint!

As you can see, I’ve used different shades of blue.  I usually have a blob of Titanium White on my palette paper as well.  Using more than one color enables you to add shades and highlights that adds more depth to the canvas.

I arrange my paints in a semi circle onto a piece of palette paper…plastic coated plates work great also!  For this size canvas a 1″ brush works really well.  I want something large enough to hold a lot of paint.  I wet my brush first, then I start pulling the paint combinations that I want to the center of the palette…then I start adding the color to the canvas.  As I work, I decide where may need to darken or lighten an area.  Then I add more paint over it.  Sometimes I will wipe the paint with a damp paper towel and then repaint over it.

When painting, I don’t pull my brush in one direction across it.  I sweep and swirl it around.  Sometimes straight, sometimes making criss crosses…and sometimes circular motions.  The marks the brush leaves in the paint adds even another layer of texture.  Keep in mind that some of the mediums you have added may require you to “get a little rough!”  The Pumice Gels are very textural and because they are so gritty, you may need to stipple the first layers of paint into the little crevices.

Once it is dry, I decide whether or not I want to add any more color.  If you are satisfied with your background you’re good to go.  Go where?  Ah….that is the fun part.  With collage, you are limitless.  You can add a special quote or saying, add ephemera such as stickers, sea shells, clip art…whatever you want.  When I do add embellishments to my canvas, I like to use Golden’s Regular Clear Gel Matte.  It acts as an adhesive and because it is actually the binder in acrylic paints without color…it doesn’t fight against the paint.  It also dries clear…but if I wanted to, I could paint some more color over it!

This particular background was my project start to a Round Robin event with other Craft and Hobby Association Designers.  It got passed around from artist to artist.  When I received it back it was embellished beautifully.  All of those canvases are up for auction to benefit the Kids in Need Foundation.  I’m thrilled that my art will be used to benefit someone.

Show us your textured canvases!  We would all love to see them.

Artfully yours,

Theresa Cifali


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