Painting on paper makes practical sense.

Several years ago, when I first started painting with acrylics, I learned something that was to open up a whole new world for me: I found out that it is possible to use acrylics on paper.

For those of you who do not paint, you might wonder why this is such a big deal...and that is the subject of today's post.

pet portrait on paper is practical

Kirby is painted on 9 x 12 watercolour paper.

What a good dog that Kirby!  Under his watchful eyes, his owners are enjoying a barbecue feast for the July 1 long weekend in Canada.

He knows that he will be rewarded with a juicy piece of steak if only he can sit there quietly until called.

Oh, but it is so hard not to crawl closer to the table and start begging.

Kirby’s eyes follow the movement of fork from plate to mouth, plate to mouth…waiting, waiting.

There are many good reasons to paint on paper.

  1. Acrylics lend themselves very well to paper as long as it is quality watercolour paper (300gsm). I learned that paper must be gessoed first so that acrylics will slide smoothly on it. Once this is done, painting on paper is not very different than painting on canvas. By painting on paper, I am offering a different look for a client wanting to coordinate a frame for the finished pet portrait with other art work or photographs in the house.
  2. An added benefit of course is the cost. Certainly, paper is less expensive than canvas. However, painting on paper does not diminish the time involved in painting the portrait. And shipping is so much easier when the painting is on paper.
  3. A portrait on paper can be an advantage especially if the client wishes to have the painting for other purposes than for framing. Some clients want their pet portraits reproduced on fabric and made into cushion covers, or bags, or other similar items.
    pet portrait (Kiwi) by Louise's ARTiculations printed on tote bag
    Kiwi, pet portrait by Louise's ARTiculations printed on tote bag.
  4. Other practical reasons to paint portraits on paper have to do with space.

Space is the greatest advantage in choosing paper over canvas

And this is the greatest advantage for anyone with limited space.

Paper takes a lot less room than a series of canvases that are waiting to be worked on or shipped. Painting on paper makes sense for apartment dwellers and anyone painting in a confined space.

As I write this post, my art room desperately needs a good decluttering. I have many canvases that must be finished but others that will be painted over.

A good coat of gesso on the canvas is all it takes before starting over again. I might add texture and experiment with abstract flowers or some other subject as I have been doing lately.

Louise's ARTiculations saves a failed work of art
A failed work of art used as a background for a motivational quotation

Repurposing failed paper paintings.

What to do with failed paintings on paper?

Cut them up and use the pieces for collage.

Use the failed art for gelli printing.

Or import the art into an app and transform it.  Then, it becomes a background for an interesting quotation.

Whether it is paper or canvas, there is always a way to save failed art. But paper is much more practical for many reasons.

Painting on paper, at least some of the time, makes perfect sense, wouldn't you agree?

Where do you do most of your art for practice? a sketchbook? a watercolour pad?  what kind do you like best? paper? some other substrate? Some artists use cardboard boxes, junk mail...leave a comment in the box below. 


photo of dog as model for practice portrait
Photo by Ylanite Koppens at Pixabay.

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