Another porch idea - outdoor canvas painting?

auntjenJune 1, 2009

Well, I got to bed too late last night, yet I continued to just lie awake, mulling over more ideas for my front porch! I'm wondering now about adding a large canvas painting that has been treated for use outdoors on the wall to the left of the yellow chairs:

I know I've seen canvas paintings that are specifically treated for outdoor use somewhere, but don't find but a handful on eBay and have also briefly searched, but I'm not even sure I'm using the correct search parameters, as I'm not getting a narrowed selection. Does anyone know who sells these things?

Or ... could I create my own? I've never painted a canvas before, but I think I may be able to do something similar to this, which I really like. I assume I'd just use acrylics, but would need to treat it afterward with something. Any ideas?

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I think that if you paint the canvas in acrylics and then seal both front and back with poly, you should be set. This sounds like a fun project.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:13PM
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Oh, that's a great idea. I just love that. It would be perfect. Don't make it too small : )

You could even do a rope hanging thingy, like on a tapestry, in tassel material and maybe some fringe along the bottom, too, which could even be a frayed edge. If you like that sort of thing.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:14PM
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However, you seal it, test first. Both for the amount of sheen and anything that might happen to your painting otherwise.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:16PM
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We did this on a makeover show I worked on. Prime the heck out of the canvas or whatever surface you use. We used gesso, painted in acrylics and sealed with spar varnish, IIRC.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:20PM
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Thanks so much!

Ideefixe, just to clarify - the gesso is used as primer? How many coats would I use? (Having never done anything like this before, I'm clueless and want to make sure I do the right thing!)

Squirrel, I'm thinking big canvas! 36 x 48, or maybe even larger. Cool idea for a rope hanger. I'll have to dwell on that one. :-)

I think it would indeed be a fun project, and since it wouldn't have to be perfect "art-wise", I could just do freeform designs with loads of color, like in the inspiration pic.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:27PM
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I've seen them in various catalogs. Ballard Designs has some.

Here is a link that might be useful: weatherproof paintings

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:31PM
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What a great project! Yes, I'd definately use acrylic paints (you probably already thought of this) but I would draw the design first on paper and tranfer it onto the canvas with a light pencil. Then I'd assign all my colors to where I want them, start painting in all the lighter colors first then graduate to the darker colors, leaving any borders for last. I love to paint, can't wait to see what you come up with!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:42PM
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If you are going to use the Tropical Brights (funcolors listed them on other post) for floor rug, why not use same paint for canvas?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 12:47PM
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Also keep in mind that if you do paint it and seal it up, any white paint will yellow. We painted 2 large canvases and sealed them with spar, and it yellowed pretty quickly =( Looks fine, but I wanted white stripes, not manilla!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:02PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Make sure you get the canvas that wrap around the edges without staples. And I would use high quality acrylic like liquitex. Avoid the folk art brand.
Those ubiquitous 40% off coupons are great for the large canvases from Hobby Lobby. Michaels also.
Naturally, you'll want to poly the back of the canvas too.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:18PM
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I recently read a post about a French designer that is selling beautiful outdoor paintings (modern ones). Maybe you can contact her and ask for her advice.

Good Luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Outdoor painting

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 1:21PM
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I use to work at Blick Art Materials (formally dick blick's) they have a product called floor cloth which is a pre primed (pre gessoed canvas cloth) meant for painting and then putting on the floor. I think it comes in different roll sizes, pretty large.

I would use a high quality acrylic paint like Golden(better than liquitex)-which makes tons of beatuiful bright colors, also really different two toned bright colors that have an opal look etc. I think you can look at their colors online at Golden's web site or Blick's.

They also have mediums that you add to the paint, either at the end to seal it or mix in with it to create a shiny/ glossy effect or a matte effect. They are called matte medium or gloss medium depending on the look you want.

They also make texture mediums as well, which are very cool when added to the paint.

I would not use the spray finishes, they are not as good.

Blick Art Materials has a website you can order from if you don't have a store near where you live.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:14PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

That's interesting (really, I'm not being sarcastic) roobear because I have always considered Golden inferior to Liquitex.
I talked with a Liquitex representative once about lightfastness ratings and he said they use full Brazilian sun to determine the ratings which I found fascinating.
I've used Liquitex for 35 years satisfactorily but I'm open.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:21PM
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Oh my gosh auntjen! I just saw the yellow chairs and absolutly love them. My first thought was, "Now, that screams auntjen!" I can't wait to see what else you do!
(and the parrot is just too cool!)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:36PM
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When someone says liquitex my first thought is always the liquitex basics. Liquitex artist grade is very similar to Golden- even still, and maybe it's just a personal preferance but in working with liquitex and golden I always preferred goldens colors and mediums to liquitex.

I think every artist has their personal favorite that just works for them as far as pigments and consistency of the paint. Some prefer Liquitex, others swear by Golden, and some think Windsor and Newton is better so I guess it just depends.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 3:52PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

That would explain it becuase Basics is student grade to my mind and I would never use them. I use a lot of different comparable brands to get certain colors I want but all top of the line paints.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 5:08PM
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Thanks so much for the info! I will admit that it sounds a bit complicated -- having never done anything even remotely like this before, I haven't a clue about paint or brush quality. I'm not even sure how to go about selecting colors -- do I just buy all different colors, or try my hand at mixing some of them to create different hues? Is it best to order online, or would somewhere like Joann's carry the sort of paint I'd use? I know that Aaron Brothers sells canvases and all sorts of artists' materials, but they also seem high priced to me. And part of the requirements for the porch re-do is that I gotta keep in mind I'm on a next-to-nothing budget. ;-)

I've been looking at the outdoor canvas paintings online, and just can't see spending $200 for a piece that's smaller than what I'd want anyway. I was thinking that for a lot less than that, I can create my own artwork -- but sounds like it may run into some money if I select really high grade paints and materials? (gulp!)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 5:49PM
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AuntJen, first get yourself a box of crayolas and some paper. Lay in your design and then work with colors you like. It's more important that YOUlike it. Try to vary the sizes of the items and repeat colors at least three times to bring uniformity to the work. Of course you can do it!!! I've seen how creative you are in your home. Look at some of you paintings and how colors were used. Don't be stingy with the paint. It's a definite sign of a beginner. Once you;re satisfied with the crayon version then just jump in there. I suggest you use two coats of gesso and the cheapest canvas you can find. I think you can use craft paint (the cheaper the better). After all this is a first venture and you can always make more. Before you buy sealers etc., see how you do with your first try. I'm a trained artist and I have full confidence you can do it. Good luck!!!!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:08PM
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Google painted Barn Quilts and you might get directions on how they do them. Not modern but outdoor canvas or painted on wood and some I have seen hold up for many years and not under a roof.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:22PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I will give you a list of the specific colors you'll need to duplicate (or something close) to the painting you showed.
I think it will cost you about $60 to do this IF you use a %40 off coupon for the canvas - and buy the paints and brushes when they go on 30% off at Michaels or Hobby Lobby which is nearly every other week.
The cheapest art supplies are at Cheap Joes but I think they have a $50 minimum. However, for large pre stretched canvas, locally is always best because of the shipping costs.

I have to make dinner now and hang out w/hubby but will get back with you on specs (paint, brushes, canvas, etc) if want them.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:23PM
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auntjen, painting is a great way to escape & relax. The great thing about it too is you really can't make a mistake, especially with an abstract & acrylics as they wash off fairly easy. Yes the paints can be a bit pricey, as well as the brushes & canvas, but if you invest in good brushes & take care of them they can last for years and years. What I do is watch for the 40 & 50% off coupons from Michaels and use them for my bigger purchases. (also art supplie stores for students can have great prices) I recently bought a paint kit for my daughter because she want's me to teach her to paint. I believe it was liquitex which is a very good brand and with the 50% off coupon I saved a bundle. It's the smaller sized tubes with all the primary colors in it, which could be perfect for what you're doing. You can mix up more colors from those just remember that you can't mix the same color twice so mix enough to cover what you'll need for the whole painting. The new paint color will last a long time if you store it in a sealed container. Also, don't waste your money on brush cleaners. Acrylic paints are water soluable. I clean my brushes with dish soap which helps keeps the bristles very soft & suptle. If paint dries on before you get to washing it, just soak it in Alcholol for a bit and it will come off but then I always keep a little dishsoap on the bristles afterwards to help shape soften them and shape the tip. Let your brushes dry laying flat on a towel, a big mistake people make is to leave their brushes upside down to dry and they shouldn't because this lets water fall into the fuerel (sorry can't spell it) which loosens the glue holding the bristles. It can cut the life of your brush by half. Oh and one last important thing, don't forget to sign the piece when your done! That's the funnest part! Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 7:49PM
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To make it last, and hold up to the elements you might want to invest in the paint and canvas.

Floor Cloth Canvas is 12 oz cotton that's primed twice on the top side and once on the bottom. Where most regular pre primed canvas is only primed on one side and is 7-8 oz in thickness.

Fredrix floor cloth is the most common brand you may be able to buy it at Micheals using a coupon. There are books on painting and making floor cloths as well.

When you buy pre primed canvas it is often more smooth on the surface because it's done with a factory finish than when you prime the canvas yourself with the gesso.

Paint- I would go with liquitex if you want to save some money, Golden can get expensive. You could mix your own colors but it may be easier just to buy the colors you need. After your done painting it I would finish it with a coat of clear matte or gloss medium.

Brushes I wouldn't go really expensive the synthetic acrylic brushes should be fine.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 10:04PM
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Wow, you all are simply the best! Thanks again so very much for all of the wonderfully informative advice here! I've got some good drawing paper and colored pencils ... perhaps I'll just start sketching designs to see if I can come up with something pleasing to my eye, and let that be my starting point.

Bumblebeez, I'd love to know which colors would create something similar to the inspiration painting, if it wouldn't be too much trouble to get me started with a listing. I can then hit one of the art stores and see what I can find.

I appreciate all of the advice so very much. I really think this will be a fun project, and am anxious to get started! (Gotta get over my aches and pains from my weekend spray-painting binge first though. Can you believe I'm incredibly stiff and sore from merely spraying two chairs and a table different colors? Ugh!)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 10:52PM
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Your porch is going to be so cool! I can't wait to see the finished pictures. You've gotten a lot of great advice here. Personally I would buy canvas that is already primed. I would be concerned about the elements warping the wood if you use stretched canvass. If you want a wall hanging look instead of a stretched canvas you could fold the top and bottom of the canvas over pressure treated 1 X 2s and staple on the back. Also be sure to paint the back of the canvas. Untreated canvas will mold.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:38AM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

This list of colors will produce all the colors in the painting. I would buy tubes of paint.
Small jars or yogurt cups will work best for mixing the paint and storage although because these are acrylics you should mix and store for no more than a day or two max. If you want to spend more money :) you could buy a Mastersons acrylic palette and paper which will run about another $20-25.
The palette + paper allows the acrylics to stay fresh for days, even weeks, without drying out.
I rarely paint with acrylics without using the palettes (I have several sizes) but for what you are doing mixing paint in cups is fine as acrylics are fairly cheap.

Mixing paint for the beginner can be quite time consuming and frustrating although you won't need to do much.
Use the burnt umber added to the thalo blue to get the darker blues for instance. Try mixing tiny bits first in order to understand the components. Foam plates are great for this.

You will need to paint the canvas burnt umber first and let that dry then draw your outlines with chalk onto the brown- see how to transfer below.

Have all colors mixed and ready to go before you start to paint.

Buy a set of inexpensive brushes. It shouldn't cost more than $15 max. Look for a soft, they will be synthetic, hair and not coarse bristles. A variety of brush shapes: pointy, flat, tiny, etc.

You do not need a lifetime brush which in my experiences don't last that long anyway.

I have spent thousands of dollars on series 7 watercolor brushes but when the point is less than perfectly perfect, it doesn't work for me anymore. So...there goes a $30 brush now regulated to "background painting".

Buy a prefinshed canvas locally. Period.

Tape 11 x17 white paper together the size of your canvas. Draw out, loosely (not detailed or shaded), your design on this. When finished, cover the back with chalk, tape on the canvas and trace over your design. The image will appear in chalk on your canvas.
There are other ways to do this, but this is basic and cheap.

Cadmium Red medium hue (lacquer red)
Titanium White 2 tubes
Phthalocyanine Blue (thalo blue)
Hookers Green
Cadmium yellow medium (brilliant yellow)
Burnt Umber
Burnt Sienna

If you find a set that has most of these colors, and these are basics, consider getting that and adding to it.

The pale green wiggly line - center right - is made with thalo blue, yellow and lots of white. Thalo is a very concentrated color compared to other colors and it only takes a tiny amount to get what you need.

You will also need a water bucket and paper towels. As you change colors and wash out your brush, dry them on paper towels.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:01PM
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Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I appreciate this info so very much! I can do this, and now I'm more than eager to get started. Maybe this will be my project for the upcoming weekend!

Oh, one more question -- do you paint using an easel? Of course, I don't have one and would prefer not to invest in one, but if I just lay out my canvas on a large table, would that work? (No doubt I'd have curious kitties surrounding the table at all times though ... Hmmmm. Kitty paw prints probably would not be a good thing to incorporate into my painting, as that would mean the paw prints would also get tracked throughout the rest of the house. ::sigh::)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 12:24PM
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If you use the pre-primed floor cloth, which is a genius idea, you can paint, let it dry, roll it up for storage, and then paint again. When you hang it, you could use curtain rods in rod pockets at the top and bottom, so no need for stretchers. Easier to store, too.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 1:25PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

You don't need an easel at all although I do have a good one.

Options are to sit on the floor and prop the canvas against the wall or set the canvas on a small table and prop it against the wall. I would not do it flat on a table because you need to be able to back away from the canvas often to get a full perspective of the painting. This is why artists often use long brushes so they can stand back from a painting, stretch out their arm with that long brush and still see the "whole". It often looks pretentious but it's not at all. It's why oil brushes are usually long and watercolor brushes are short. It helps to frequently look at the painting from across the room.

It is fine to work flat on a table with a small painting (approx. under 30") because you can stand up and see the whole at once.

It is also good to take short breaks (like go run a load of laundry ) where you leave the room and when you come back immediately look at the painting. At that moment, you will see things you did not not see before and it will help make your art better.
Always use that instant when you come back to the painting to critique it. Don't let your eye casually rest on it.

Acrylic drys very fast so you should be able to keep the kitties away long enough for it to dry between sessions.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:00PM
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One more suggestion. If you want the painting to be larger the canvas could get pricey soooo you can always paint on wood. A piece of wood primed and then sealed with varnish afterwards is very acceptable for art.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:17PM
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Thanks again! And wood ... as in plywood?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 2:39PM
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I found this post thru google, and wondered if you ever did the painting? I would love an update on this, because I want to do a canvas for outdoors also. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:50AM
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I, too, would like to know and have missed Aunt Jen. She was once a beloved regular here. Alas, I have no idea where she went nor how she is doing. I wish her the best. She was always very pleasant.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 11:58AM
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indeed Aunt Jen is sorely missed, I do hope all is well with her !!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Jen changed her username to sunnycottage but haven't seen any posting under than name either.

There are some other MIA's in this thread too. Threedgrad, natal and squirrelheaven.

Hope they are well.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:13PM
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What about red bazzell? Maybe spelling incorrect but remember her to be a very nice and prolific member.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:17PM
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Was Squirrelheaven the one who did a lot of photoshops for posters?

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 4:59PM
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Yes, Squirrel was a good photoshopper. There was another lady here about the same time who had worked in a garden shop and who was very good at design, who worked quite well with Squirrel. Wish I could remember all the names. I have CRS disease. Perhaps Teacats some of the "old timers" can recall.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 6:45PM
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thanks, thought it was worth a shot.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Hi ladies, and thanks so much for thinking of me! I still lurk *occasionally* (but not often, as time just doesn't allow these days).

Edie3, I never did do the canvas that I was considering; in fact, since my original post back in '09, I've made a lot of changes to my home, including decluttering my front porch and simplifying things considerably out there. Sorry I can't be of any help to you, but I do still think that painting your own canvas would be an easy and fun project!

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 10:08AM
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A chandelier on the porch. Everyone should have one : )

    Bookmark   April 22, 2014 at 4:45PM
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Hi Jen! How nice to hear from you. You've been missed. Are you still enjoying your newer English cottage style? Always loved your front porch, but was never really into the southwestern look. Would so like to see it in it's simpler dress. Hope you and DH and kitties are well.
Was nice to see the "old" names again: Natal, et al. I had such fun giving squirrellheavn ideas and seeing them magically come to life on posters home.
Marti( aka leahcate in olden days)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 2:21AM
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Hello! I was searching the web when I stumbled (thankfully!) onto this web site. Excited to see so much info. However, my main problem and question is about the outdoor canvas art. We are in the process of a makeover for our back patio. Have extended the concrete, will stain it soon. I have made a bench with a cushion and would like a picture to hang on the wall above it. I am planning on one similar to the picture I am posting, but with different, much brighter colors. I found a 60" X 36" canvas print originally priced $180. at Hobby lobby, marked down to $30. Impulsively bought it. I want to paint over it, but am now second guessing myself as I wonder how to weatherproof it. All of the info here has my mind a bit muddled. I just need to know what kind of paint to use, not sure what the original on the canvas is. Also, what to seal it with. I am not an artist and know NOTHING about paints. The picture I plan to do is one of several different colors painted randomly on the canvas. Then using painters tape I will mark off lines, paint over that using a solid color, then remove the tape. Any simple info would be most appreciated!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 11:55AM
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