A Guide To Our Painting Surfaces - Blog Post Hobby Land

If it’s painting surfaces you’re after, then you’re in the right place. From canvas and panels through to the world’s finest quality paper, if you want to paint on it then we can help. To help you decide on the painting surface that’s best for you, read on.

  • Canvas. Canvas is probably the most famous painting surface in the world. It is usually made from linen or cotton, and it has several distinct advantages; it is lightweight with superb absorbency and a lovely woven texture, which is often shown off to great effect when working on this surface. The best paints for canvas are generally considered to be acrylics and oils, although some canvases are suitable for watercolours. We sell stretched canvas and unstretched canvas; as the name suggests, stretched canvas has been stretched over a timber frame and is ready to hang straight on the wall. On the other hand, unstretched (or rolled canvas) is just that - it comes in a roll! This is ideal for people who want to ship their art, and it is also highly portable. When buying canvas to paint on, check if it is already primed or if you need to do some preparation work yourself. 

Being more rigid than paper, but less cumbersome than a frame, a canvas board is considered ideal for students and less experienced painters..

  • Hardboard. People love painting on hardboard as it is a relatively inexpensive surface that can also be used as a drawing board or for taping down. As the surface is rigid, there is likely to be less cracking in the painting as it dries and ages. With a smooth surface, the paint glides on easily and this is yet another benefit associated with it. Hardboard may need to be primed otherwise acid or oils may leech from the board, yellowing the painting. Gesso, such as this one from Winsor & Newton, is just one of the primer treatments we stock. 
  • Paper. Surfaces like paper (and even cardboard) are very affordable, making them ideal for the beginner or if you’re a more experienced painter wanting to experiment. Paper and cardboard have very absorbent surfaces that allow for washes and over-watered acrylic techniques. The best paper is acid-free, as it won’t have impurities that can stain through into your painting. When it comes to choosing paper, there are different types best suited for different paints. For example, watercolour paper like this pad of sheets from Fabriano are made from cotton to increase absorbency, while the weight of the paper also helps it to hold more moisture. Acrylic paper is thicker than the average drawing paper we sell, with a texture that creates an adherent surface for acrylic paint washes and layers. Meanwhile, oil paper, like this pad from Daler Rowney, usually has an embossed texture on the surface and a special coating that stops the paper from absorbing the oil component of the paint.
They’re just a few of the conventional painting surfaces we sell but you can paint on many surfaces too: glass, fabric, metal, silk, and ceramics just to name a few. You may be wondering how to prepare these surfaces and what paint to use on them - when you want the answers to those questions, give us a call and we’ll point out the most suitable paints in our range.