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painting the figure


module 1: supplies

F: Painting surfaces

b. Method for creating canvas panels

First thing I do is I find a panel that I'd like to glue a piece of canvas to. I have my piece of linen that I will be gluing to the panel. What I use for the glue is called Miracle Muck by Raphael which I believe you can only purchase it through their website. The nice thing about it is that a little goes a long way, so it will last you a long time. First thing I'll do is pour out a little bit, and it can be a very thin amount; just enough to cover the surface. One thin layer is all you need. I'm going to use my rubber brayer to spread it across the surface.


The important part is to make sure the edges are completely covered. If not, you can get parts that can peel up. The excess you can actually scoop back into the bottle with a palette knife so that you're not wasting any.

You can of course use a brush instead of a brayer, but the brayer just makes it easy to apply an even coat and it's also easy to clean up. Once that is all covered with glue, we set down a piece of the linen, just about a quarter inch on each side over the size of the of the panel itself, just to be safe. The nice thing about Miracle Muck is that it adheres pretty quickly, so you can really just use hand pressure to get it onto the board. It doesn't take long for it to start to adhere.

Be careful not to get the glue onto the side of the linen that you're going to paint on. This is a surface that has oil as a primer. The Miracle Muck is a water-based product and so eventually the glue won't hold to this side. You could just clean it off with the wet rag before it dries.


We have our self-healing cutting surface underneath. What we're going to do is cut off the excess. I have a utility knife. It should only take a couple of strokes to cut it off. I have a little bit of an angle to the edge just so that I don't get any excess canvas hanging off the panel. You don't want that because those will start to come off the panel with enough wear-and-tear.

This surface is perfectly acceptable to paint on. However, I prefer to customize it a bit more. This is Centurion OP DLX. It's a fine surface to paint on just on its own, but I have found that the amount of priming that they apply is very thin. So I want to give it an extra coat of priming before I start to paint on it.

We'll use Gamblin oil painting ground this time. I don't recommend using your palette knife to pry open the can; you can use a palette knife to scoop it out of the can. I definitely recommend wearing gloves if you're going to use oil priming ground because it does not wash off easily from your skin. Once you apply it you can just leave it like that, but that's a little too uneven of a surface for me. What I do is use my other rubber brayer to smooth it back down. Although you may be able to see some ridges, by the time this is done drying they'll be smoothed out. I prefer usually having a a nice smooth ground to paint on.

It'll be touch dry maybe by tomorrow, but if you can help it, let it dry for a week before painting over it. The next part of it will be to tone it which is an optional stage though, once this has dried.