Fredrix® Watercolor Canvas
Tips and Techniques by Anne Brodie Hill ASMA, GWS
What is Watercolor Canvas?
Watercolor Canvas is an authentic 100% woven cotton artist canvas with a
special coating that performs similar to a cold press or rough watercolor
paper, yet it provides a distinctive look that can only be achieved on
canvas. Fredrix Watercolor Canvas will accept all watermedia and
mixed media techniques. For example, transparent and opaque
watercolors, acrylic and watercolor inks, fluid acrylics, and watercolor
pencils. Fredrix Watercolor Canvas will also work with traditional
acrylic paints in different viscosities.
History of Fredrix® - Fredrix has
been making artist canvas since 1868. Fredrix is the world's leading
brand and offers the broadest range of artist canvas available, anywhere.
For more information about Fredrix, go to www.fredrixartistcanvas.com.
Advantages of Watercolor
Archival Quality - Fredrix
Watercolor Artist Canvas is manufactured with acid-free materials and is
guaranteed to be 100% Archival Quality.
No Buckling - Fredrix Water
Color Canvas on stretcher strips and Fredrix Watercolor Archival Boards
will not buckle like watercolor paper when wet. Watercolor canvas
rolls and pads, which come in various sizes, can be cut to any size and
should be stapled (or taped with painter's tape) either wet or dry to a
3/4 inch thick Gatorboard®
to prevent buckling (see note below about Gatorboard).
Lifting Pigments - Watercolor
washes can be lifted (removed) by simply wetting the area to be
removed with a damp brush or moist cloth, and then blotting or brushing
the color off. Therefore, mistakes can be easily corrected, or you
may wash over the complete image and start over!
Highlights or "Whites" Recovered
- Miskit can be used on the watercolor canvas, or you can (simply and
easily) remove the pigment by wetting the area to be made white with a
damp brush and blotting or drying the area with a tissue or paper towel.
Durable - Fredrix Watercolor
Canvas will not tear like paper does, therefore scratching or scraping
the surface will not harm the canvas, and removing the canvas from
supports (like Gatorboard and stretchers) will not damage your artwork.
Watermedia and Mixed Media -
Fredrix Watercolor Canvas will perform similar to watercolor paper when
adding layers of paints (acrylic washes work best) and other media.
Some watercolor pigments will "lift" when applying glazes of color.
Collage Techniques - Acrylic
matte medium or acrylic gel medium may be used as a glue for collage
work (follow directions on bottle of medium). Apply the medium to
the surface of the canvas (may remove watercolor paint from surface of
canvas - brush gently) and to the piece of collage material and apply
the collage piece to canvas. Canvas may take longer to dry than
Tape - Painter's tape can be
used to attach canvas sheets to Gatorboard - and will not tear canvas
when removed. However, stapling generally works better than tape.
Wet on Wet Technique - Fredrix
Watercolor Canvas can be brushed with water on one side (or both sides),
and will perform like wet watercolor paper. The canvas will stay
damp longer than paper, so some experimentation may be necessary.
The pre-stretched canvas and canvas boards will NOT buckle like paper.
The canvas sheets will buckle, so we suggest that you staple or tape to
Wet on Dry Technique -
Watercolor paints can be applied to the dry canvas, as on paper,
remembering that the canvas has a rough texture. And for stronger
colors, use more concentrated paint. Also, be aware that pigment
will "lift" if you go over the previously painted area with a "heavy
hand". "Lifting" will not occur if you use fluid acrylics or
Large Sizes - Fredrix
Watercolor Canvas is available in large pads and boards in sizes up to
18" x 24", pre-stretched canvas up to 24" x 36" and in rolls 58" x 3 yds
and 58" x 6 yds. These will work great for large paintings that
previously could not be done in watercolor, and are ideal for mural
Framing Without Glass - If you
wish to frame without a mat or glass (similar to an oil or acrylic
painting), spray with a good quality UV finishing spray such as Krylon®
to protect the surface from damage. Then frame as you would any
Framing With Glass (or Plexiglas®)
- Finished Fredrix Watercolor Canvas paintings can be framed as you
would any watercolor (or watermedia) painting under a mat and glass or
Plexiglas in a frame. At the present time, many watercolor
societies will only accept painting on paper, framed with mat and
Plexiglas or glass. Be sure and check with your society to see if
a watercolor on canvas would be acceptable in their shows.
Hang Without Frame, Mat or Glass
- Fredrix Watercolor Artist Canvas is available in Pads, Boards,
Stretched and in Rolls. If you have purchased the pre-stretched
version mounted on stretcher bars, you can paint on the edges and hang
without a frame. Follow the UV spraying tips in #12.
Plein Air - Fredrix Watercolor
stretched canvas and canvas boards are excellent for painting outdoors
(plein air) in watercolor, especially since you will not need to bring
any supports, as you would for watercolor paper. And, as stated
before, NO buckling!
How to use Gatorboard®*
with Fredrix Watercolor Canvas Pads and Rolls:
Attach dry watercolor canvas to
Gatorboard by smoothing the canvas out flat on the Gatorboard which is
slightly larger than the piece of canvas.
Using a regular desk stapler, opened
up, staple in the middle of each side of the canvas very close to the
edge, while stretching the canvas with your hands toward the location
where you will put in the next staple.
Continue stapling and stretching the
canvas until all four sides have been stapled down - with staples
approximately one inch apart all the way around the edges.
Watercolor paints may be applied to
the stretched canvas using either wet on wet or wet on dry techniques.
is available from most art supply dealers. Regular foam core is too
soft, and will not work with this technique. If you cannot get
Gatorboard, you may tape the canvas to an alternate waterproof surface
although stapling works best with canvas.