5 Canvas Painting Tips – Preparing to Paint

So, you finally worked up the nerve to start painting. That’s great! Where do you start? Well it is important to get prepared and set up before you put the first stroke of paint onto the canvas. Follow these 5 canvas painting tips when you are preparing to paint, and things should work out just fine.


As with most anything else that requires your focus and attention, it is far better to set up in a place where you will be free from distractions. I understand that we don’t all have a studio or even a room we can dedicate to be our quiet place. But, there is always somewhere that is quiet or at the very least a time when things quiet down.

I myself do not have a room that I can escape to and be free from distractions. My wife runs a day home and we have three kids ourselves. So, it is challenging to find a place to work on my art. I found that I have to time it right. I use the windows that are available to me. Late at night, early morning, weekends, I even complete paintings during the time between snack and lunch for the day home kids.

The point is set yourself up to paint in quiet. It will be the difference between a relaxing enjoyable experience or stress filled flop.


Before you go off half cocked throwing paint onto the canvas, make sure you have everything 72 Pcs Starter Painting setyou need at hand. You don’t want to be in the middle of a painting and then have to run around looking for supplies.

Get your canvas out and set it up on an easel if you choose to use one. Get all your paint and palette to mix on. Brushes or any other tools you will be using should be ready to go. Be sure to have some water for cleaning or wetting the canvas (if using acrylics). I also like to get the music going before start anything.

It is easy to understand why you should take the time to prep your work space and tools before you start. Painting should be stress free, don’t create the stress by being unprepared. Paint dries faster than we like sometimes and scrambling to find what you need in a hurry might ruin your experience.


I generally have all of my brushes available to me when ever I paint. I usually only use a few but they are all there ready to go. All of my brushes are made to be used with acrylic paint, which is all I paint with. If you have other brushes that are for watercolor keep them put away. The acrylic paint and the canvas itself might destroy them.

There are different types of brushes for different applications. Be sure you have the ones you need, not only for the type of paint but also the style of brush. You can read more about the different types of brushes here.

The basics you should have are as follows. One larger brush to cover large areas with paint. One medium brush and one small brush for detail. Pretty simple I know but this doesn’t need to be complicated.


Alright you have your tools and paint and you are ready to go! Sort of. Make sure that the canvas you are using has been pre-stretched and primed. Most canvas bought in stores is and will say so on the package. If not, you should prime the canvas with a gesso.  Learn how here.

Even if the canvas is primed you may choose to give it another coat or two with gesso. It really comes down to how you want the paint to react when it goes onto the canvas. Maybe you want to start with a black background or even another color.

Now is the time to do this. And make sure that the primer has dried both between coats and before you start painting.


Okay, the easy part is done. Now you have to decide what to paint.  Finding inspiration can be hard, but once you have an idea try to imagine what it should look like on the canvas. What color is the sky? Is the sky visible? Are there trees? How many?

Try to get a good idea of what you want as a final product and lay things out in your mind before you start. You can wing it and just start painting what ever comes to mind as it comes. I do it all the time. But the paintings that I have an end goal and an image I want to produce get more forethought.

Taking the time to lay out your ideas at least in your mind, will help guide you from one step to the next and hopefully keep you from forgetting something. It can be difficult to go back and add things in the background after the fact.


I hope these 5 canvas painting tips were helpful in getting you prepared to paint. I believe that anyone can paint, and I hope I can both inspire you to try as well as help you along the way.

Was this post helpful? Do you have any questions or comments? Please leave them below in the comments section. Thank you for reading and have fun painting!!


20 Comments on “5 Canvas Painting Tips – Preparing to Paint”

  1. I’ll be honest, I started reading this post thinking, “Not really. I don’t really have an urge to paint at all actually.” After reading this post in its entirety, I gotta say I might start painting now! I feel as though I am fully prepared to begin painting thanks to your detailed tips! I am sure that other readers will feel the same way. Thank-you for sharing your passion. Keep up the great work!

  2. articles like this make me wonder, where did i suddenly leave off these things. …. as a kid/teenager i painted for fun ..water colours.. Don’t remember if they were any good….. But till this post, i hadn’t even remembered i used to do that! :S

  3. Ok, so I’m embarrassed to admit this but I grew up enjoying Bob Ross painting shows. There was some other old guy I used to watch too but I can’t remember his name. I think this all comes from the fact that my grandparents were great painters (great to me that is). I was wondering, if a guy like me wanted to get started down the rabbit hole of painting, do you have a recommendation? I’d like to get my feet wet first before I commit to anything too big. Thanks in advance.


  4. Superb article I must say… really helpful tips about canvas painting…I would love to share it with others. This article will help the painters a lot …

  5. Hi Jason, thank you for your guidance. The act of painting has always fascinated me and I’ve always been telling myself that one day, I shall do it. Reading this ignited my desire. Being in the TV Industry now and in Theater and Music years ago, the artist in me yearns for another outlet, a visual one that can last a lifetime. That is actually one of my inspirations in my desire to one day paint my own canvass. Now, with what you shared, I believe it is a sign that I should start on it. I super thank you for it =)

    1. Thank you. I hope you come back here to help you get started. I will be here if you have any questions. Try reading some of the other post on here, I am confident that you will only get inspired more.

  6. Hello Jason,
    I so did enjoy reading this article! And you are right, if we don’t have it all laid out and ready to go it becomes a race or disorganization and frantic looking. I am so grateful you did this step by step.
    I do have my own space for my artwork, but sometimes I forget to be fully set up…argh.
    So this is a great reminder of being prepared!
    Great job, happy creating to all of us! ariel

  7. I was really good at painting when I was in my teen year. Before I read your article, I had completely forgotten about painting. I think I will go back to it after I read your article. Thank you1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *