How to Tone Your Art Canvas Panel
Generally, the term canvas means a painting surface, which sometimes can be a board paper, canvas, or fabric
like cotton or linen.
Toning the canvas panel is a great way in which to express the use of colors by a painter. The technique adds a
personal touch to the painting at large and increases the significance of the subject.
You will find that most painting canvases come in a white color and a painter needs to tone them by applying
Learning how to paint a canvas panel is not very easy,
however, any discerning painter must learn this technique and with time, they will be able to tone their canvases
Benefits of toning a canvas
Toning the canvas is not essential, but certainly, when you paint directly onto a white surface, the colors may
look darker than they should. This is because they are competing with the white in the canvas.
When you cover most of the canvas in a relevant color of paint, the painting is less likely to look dark. When
you have toned the canvas, you can work with the dark colors to middle colors and then to light colors comfortably.
The most important factor to consider when toning is to ensure that you tone with a middle color.
Do not forget that the color used for toning will be a part of the end painting. Hence, it is imperative that
you know what you will be painting in the end before you begin. For example, if you are planning to paint a winter
landscape, this will look awkward if you tone the canvas in red. To help you decide on the color toning choice, you
can have a photo of the landscape to paint with you to determine the right color to use.
The process of toning a canvas
Toning a canvas is the process in which you cover a white canvas with color in the same tone range as the
background of the desired painting. Toning the canvas helps in acquiring colors that are true, and which do not
look darker due to the white color below. This gives the painting depth and helps the painting appear the way you
desire it to.
• Set up the canvas on the easel and lightly mist spray it with water from a mist spray bottle. Then brush
the water around the canvas with a large brush evenly distributing the water. For oil painting, spray some
oil instead of water.
• Squeeze a small amount of paint onto the canvas, ensuring that you choose colors that are similar to the
background colors you are painting.
• Brush the paint with a large brush that you use for painting, then wipe the brush clean and paint away
any extra toning colors required in the same manner. For example, if you are painting a landscape,
you might want to have green at the bottom of the canvas and bluish or yellowish at the top, to depict the
• Ensure that the paint remains moist and easy to use when working, and continue working on the canvas
until you have all the color where it is required.
• Then lastly dab the canvas using cloth or paper towels to remove excess paint and brush strokes. Allow
the canvas to dry sufficiently before you begin the actual painting.