Art, people think, needs to be done on canvas – if you want to be taken seriously, that is. People tend to look at paintings on paper as “less than”. But why is that? Who made the rules here?
Canvas was the preferred medium at one point because of its archival quality. It lasted longer, it was easier to transport without tearing or damage. And it’s easier to hang up without the need for framing.
But art on paper is no less durable – you get excellent quality archival paper in various paper weights that you can use depending on your medium. It is much easier to transport than canvas – less weight, easier packaging, better portability. Depending on the size of the painting, you can frame it and hang it up on your walls or stick it into a frame and display it on a table or mantle place. And most importantly, it is easy to store, unlike canvas, which requires a lot of real estate.
Mixed media painting on paper: Lotus Moon
More than the substrate, I believe it is the painting itself that should be the primary focus for both artists and art lovers.
Take this painting, as an example. I created it on plain copy paper that I had used to create texture on another painting. It had a layer of gesso and some texture from the modling paste, which helped it to withstand the layers of paint.
A friend of mine saw the painting, fell in love with it, and purchased it from me. It mattered not one whit what the substrate was – what mattered was how the painting made him feel.
If you don’t have the space to store canvases, if you don’t have the resources to buy expensive supplies, you don’t have to! Paint on paper. Use cheaper paints. Buy a few colors that can be mixed together. Start small and slowly build your art supply stash. But don’t let arbitrary rules hold you back or make you question the worth of your work.
After all, weather you paint on canvas or on paper, the skills and the vision needed are the same!
At the end of the day, rules are often arbitrary and need to be questioned, and broken. Not just in the art world, but in any area of life!
Amsterdam: Titanium Buff
FW acrylic inks: Antelope brown; marine blue
I hope you enjoyed this video. Do subscribe to my YouTube channel – I will be adding a new art video every 2nd and 4th Saturday!
P.S.: What’s your favorite rule to break? Tell me in the comments!