This month in the Facebook group, our painting challenge is to pour with neons. So I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to practice black canvas painting. Acrylic Painting on Black Canvas can be a fun way to work in contrast to your paintings, an easy way of underpainting, and creating patterns with negative space.
Black canvases are canvas panels that have been primed with a layer of black gesso. They are generally matte and an even black tone. You can either purchase black canvases from a craft store or online, or you can get matte acrylic paint or gesso and prime them yourself. For the project below, I purchased black canvases from Michaels.
Creating Contrast in Black Canvas Paintings
One of the best things about acrylic painting on a black canvas is the way that you can create a sharp contrast incredibly easily by using opaque colors right on the canvas, especially if they have any amount of shine. The color you choose will pop against the black, and the shine will make it stand out even more against the matte black background.
If you’d like to use a more translucent color, meaning it can be seen through, I would recommend painting the area with titanium white (a very opaque color) first so that your color will show up against the black.
This is tough to achieve with acrylic pouring, however, because it’s not clear where the colors will end up in the final painting. So I would either use opaque colors or mix with white when acrylic pouring on canvas.
Easy Underpainting (for acrylic pouring)
Underpainting is a preliminary layer of paint on your painting that helps define colors in your final painting. Using a black canvas is an easy way to get richer, deeper colors more easily, especially in acrylic pouring where you don’t need to define the composition or shapes and elements in your painting.
Playing with Negative Space in Black Canvas Paintings
What I chose to do with the black canvases that I was experimenting with this week is to play with negative space to add in an additional element of composition to my acrylic pouring pieces.
Negative space is the space between, around, and surrounding the subject of your painting.
In this case, I created negative space circles that would simply be blank, black canvas by using vinyl circles that I cut out with my Cricut, doing the acrylic pour over them and then removing the vinyl to reveal the circles.
So how do you make a neon acrylic pouring black canvas painting? Well, the technique that I used was:
But you could use any technique that you want for this type of painting.
If you’re pouring for the first time and would like more explanation on materials, processes, and terms, you can head on over to my Beginner’s Guide to Acrylic Pouring. You can also head over to my Comprehensive Guide to Acrylic Pouring Techniques for more information on all of the different techniques and my How to Thin Acrylic Paint for Acrylic Pouring post to learn all about pouring mediums!
What colors do you need to paint a black canvas painting?
As I talked about above, I wanted to focus on neon colors for this painting, and I also added white to help those neons become opaque so that they would actually show up on my black canvas.
You can choose any colors that you’d like, I would just recommend that they be opaque.
Anything with shine, metallics, or even color shifting paint would look AMAZING on a black canvas.
(If you’re curious about colors and color theory as it relates to acrylic pouring, head on over to my post about Choosing Colors for Acrylic Pouring and grab your FREE printable Color Wheel and Color Scheme Guides below!)
Materials You Will Need to Paint a Northern Lights Painting with Acrylic Pouring
This post contains affiliate links, which I earn a small comission from. These are provided for your convenience, and the price isn’t increased at all.
- Artist’s Loft Neon Orange
- Artist’s Loft Neon Green
- Artist’s Loft Neon Pink
- Artist’s Loft Neon Yellow
- Artist’s Loft Neon Blue
- Liquitex Basics Titanium White
- Master’s Touch Permanent Black
How to Paint a Neon Acrylic Painting Black Canvas Painting Video Tutorial
Step-by-step Neon Acrylic Painting Black Canvas Painting
Vinyl Negative Space Pattern Preparation
- Out of vinyl cut shapes that you want to remain black for the negative space of your painting. I used my cricut, but this could definitely be don eby hand.
- Place these shapes on the canvases.
- Use a popsicle stick to press the edges of the vinyl down firmly to the canvas. It may be helpful to place your hand on the opposite side of the canvas to have something to press down into so that your canvas doesn’t stretch out.
- Take a paintbrush and brush a thn layer of the medium that you’re thinning your paint with (I used Floetrol) outward from the center of your vinyl shapes toward their edges. This will help reduce the amount of paint that will leak under.
Neon Acrylic Pour
- For an open cup pour like the one I did in this case, layer your paints in your cup(s). The order in which I layered my paints was: white, yellow, orange, blue, green, pink, white, yellow, green, blue, orange, pink, white.
- Pour the paint out onto the canvas however you’d like.
- Tilt the canvas(es) until the paint coveres the entirety.
*NOTE: This did not end up being a traditional diptic where the picture is contiguous from one canvas to the other because I did not tilt them together, but that certainly is an option.
Final Touches on Negative Space Features
- Once your paint is dry, carefully loosen the edges of the vinyl with a palette knife or in my case, I used Cricut weeding tools.
- Go ahead and peel the vinyl up.
- There may be some leakage that happened beneath the vinyl, so go ahead and take a brush and black paint and touch that up.
Go Forth and Pour!
So there you have it, one idea for a black canvas painting. If you’re interested in more ideas for acrylic painting on black canvases, you could also use these for a northern lights painting or for a sunset painting. The sky’s the limit and these black canvases really can get you to look at things a little bit differently.
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