Painting on Linen


My creativity really shines when I am trying something new. I love to experiment, branch out and have fun. I don't often paint with acrylic and I definitely don't know anything about painting on linen, lol. My main motivation for this project was actually to create some new art for my bedroom, so I wanted to try it out. Never let inexperience stop you from creating!


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I actually found this linen at IKEA but you can pick it up at a fabric or craft store as well. I folded it around a canvas art board for structure and simply taped it on. Once you have it ready, you can decide on your color palette and get your paints ready. I have several greens, and to liven up my white flowers I have several colors to mix with the white, including peach, yellow, and beige. I also have an palette on hand and some water to thin the paint.


I am starting by laying out four flowers on my canvas. I mixed the paint so I am starting with the darkest and will gradually add more white highlights on top. You can draw out your design ahead of time but I am trying to keep things loose and jumping right in. I am still approaching my flowers the same way I do with watercolor and that is one petal at a time. I'm also trying to create organic shapes and I like the rough edges the linen gives the petals. If you prefer though, you can smooth them out by thinning the paint even more. Just create whatever works for your taste and your home!


With my loose flowers cascading across the canvas I'm ready to add some green while the first layers dry. I am working with sap green and deep phthalo green. By running the brush across the page, I am allowing a shape to emerge and get a nice organic look before going back and touching it up.


After all the leaves are there, I come in with a smaller brush to connect everything and add the delicate stems. It is much easier on the rough linen to use a smaller brush to create the pointed ends, refining the shapes and adding branches. I want lots of negative space to see the linen so I don't want to have too many leaves. I think that is part of the charm of wrapping the canvas in linen, that it becomes a beautiful part of the piece, so I don't want to cover it up. After this photo, I did add some more broken and messy leaves.


With three or four flowers, bordered by green leaves, you have the gist of the painting. Now it is time to add detail and shading to bring it to life. I had beige flowers, with a mix of beige and peach and yellow mixed in, very close to the color of the linen. Now I can come back and add white highlights to help them jump off the canvas. They really shine with the highlights, but make sure you don't cover up all the great colors either. Now they appear white but you can still see all the colors.


With some dark brown and yellow ochre, the stamens are made of a cluster of lines and dots. I am not even washing the brush in between, so it is mixed and messy. For the bud at the bottom, there is just a hint of the stamen to show the shape. A tiny swipe of lighter green brightens up the leaves as well.


With my floral linen painting complete I simply adding a clip to hang it on the wall. It's a great way to hang art and easily switch it out to change it up depending on the season or your mood!


If anyone more familiar with acrylics or painting on fabrics has any tips, feel free to leave them in the comments! Have fun experimenting, and I hope you'll try something new with me.


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