Watercolor on Canvas

Updated: May 4

What an experience!

It is nothing like Watercolor on paper I must say. But first, what did I use to paint watercolor on canvas?

I've tried before, but guess what?! It didn't work out: I used the wrong primer.

In the end, this was a good thing because it is part of the process to be wrong sometimes...

Well, this time I used the right one! I used a special primer applied directly on the canvas, called AQUA grund, grob from Schmincke, a company that manufactures paints and mediums for watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastels, and other medias.

I do not hide from anyone that I love them because everything has a great (professional) quality.

Product from Schmincke

At first, it seems like a thick and consistent paste (like gesso), but it is so elastic that you can apply just a thin layer.

This primer enables you to paint with watercolor on basically all surfaces, such as canvas, wood, boards even glass. I choose the one with a rough surface (because I´m not the satin paper person), but there is also the Primer with less texture.

Impressions with watercolor

1 - The primer itself does not take so long to dry, it depends on how much you use. I felt a bit hard to apply directly on the canvas, although they tell us to apply directly without any previous gesso or any other kind of primer.

2 - Normally, when we paint watercolor on paper, 5 minutes later the paint is completely dry, which means that for those who like the we-on-wet technique, this might be sometimes a struggle. In this case, the primer retains the water for much longer.

It was possible to work with a wet canvas for a long period. For this specific paint, it took me three to five hours. The drying process was really slow and I'm not a fan of rushing things up with a blowdryer. I like to see the process happen by itself. For those who preferably work with the wet-on-dry technique, the wait might be annoying.

Of course, I use a lot of water spray, but the Primer wins the first point when we talk about who stays wet longer.

3 - The color opacity is something you should be aware of. We know what to expect in terms of opacity when we paint watercolor on paper. We are used to it. But on canvas, the opacity seems much stronger and visible (I haven't tested yet how watercolor reacts with the "no texture" primer).

4 - It is washable! Maybe you don't know about this: but you can always wash your watercolors. Yes, you read just right: with running water and a brush you can wash the paint out (not everything, but most of it). It works for paper too, but then you have to be a little bit more careful to not damage the structure of the watercolor paper. With the primer, I washed out almost all the paint from the first canvas I tried (which I didn't show you because it was too embarrassing) and I washed it with no fear to destroy the canvas or the primer.

I was taking a look at all mediums we sell from Schmincke at work and one of them does exactly that: preparation of watercolor paper so that already dried colors can be removed, incredible isn't it? This one is called AQUA Lift-off Medium.

5 - You can mix different medias. In this second attempt, I used watercolor, white acrylic, and soft pastels to create some of the details. They work and they look awesome with the texture. I've tried once to use soft pastels in a watercolor painting on paper, but the effect was not the same. With the visible texture from the primer, the soft pastels draw much more attention to the eyes than on paper.

6 - To achieve the color I wanted, I must have applied three to four layers of color. On paper, it feels like you need two maybe three layers of color depending on how dark you want it to be.

7 - The price is ok. Nothing extremely expensive (if you pay in EUR).

8 - I painted two canvas 20x20cm (if I'm not mistaken), and I didn't use half of the package with 300ml.

9 - Better not apply with a brush. If you let the primer dry on the fibers it might be hard to take it out and you will probably lose a brush. After applying with a spatula, wash it!

10 - Do not EVER mix the primer with your watercolor paint. You will mess up your pans or tubes.

11 - Don't forget to close it after use.

Schmincke is a german company, and I know very well that they are famous here in Germany as the professional choice of almost all artists.

But they are not the only option:

Golden is another brand that has great quality. Unfortunately, I cannot talk much about Daniel Smith. I've heard a lot about them but never tried any of their products.

So, this is what I have to share with you about Grounds for watercolor.

I'm about to try the other primer with less texture. Just stay with me on IG. I will show you everything!

Guys, feel free to comment and add notes about my review. The coolest part of my real-world job is that I have access to many different products for artists. If you would like me to keep writing reviews about different products for watercolor, acrylic, or soft pastels, just let me know!

Wish you an amazing and productive week!



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