Career Options For The Fine Artist

Artists who wish to pursue a living in as a fine artist or in a related profession will find this bit of information to be helpful.

Fine Artist Job Description

Fine Artists, or sometimes referred to as Studio Artists, create original works of art either for sale or exhibition. This field includes artists who create their art using a variety of methods such as drawing, painting, printmaking or sculpture. Fine artists may be commissioned to produce a piece of work for a client or they can create their own pieces which they then sell directly to the public or rely on galleries and art dealers to help them find buyers for their work. Their art creations may be displayed in places such as museums, commercial or non-profit art galleries, outdoors, corporate collections, or private homes.


river side painting“Along The ICW”
Marine art by Teresa Bernard
12″ x 9″
Oils on canvas panel board

>> More info


While most fine artists are self-employed, some find employment working for museums and galleries, educational and art institutions (as instructors) or work in private studios on special commissions.

List of Related Fine Artist Positions

These positions, while not actual fine artist positions, are related positions and most require the same skills and knowledge of a fine artist. This list contains some possible positions that can be applied for. The list is not comprehensive.

Art Auctioneers supervise and administers the bidding and selling process of artwork during an auction. They also provide appraisals of antiques, fine art and valuable items by assessing quality, condition, age and origin.

Art Consultants advise art buyers and clients on the purchase of fine art. They are hired by corporations, hotels, health care facilities, interior designers and private collectors to provide assistance in looking for a piece of art to give spaces a specific look and feel.

Art Critics fill the role of reporter for the art field. They write articles in which they evaluate and critique an artist’s work giving their opinions of its significance and aesthetic value as a work of art. Art critics may work for professional art organizations and the print media.

Art Dealers are responsible for displaying and selling visual works of art to their clients and general customers. They seek out new talent and commission artists looking to sell their works through an art gallery. They may also serve as intermediary connecting artists and buyers.

Art Historians, also known as Art Conservators, evaluate, restore and preserve a wide variety of historical artifacts, in addition to, works of art. They work at art galleries, historical societies, museums and other nonprofit institutions.

Art Instructors help students understand, interpret and develop their artistic skills. In addition, they instruct their students in art history, art appreciation, art theory and in various methods of creating artworks.

Art Museum/Gallery Curators organize, inventory and work with artwork, artifacts or anything of historical or artistic importance. They are involved with the acquisition of new artistic or historical pieces to the collection. They also organize art exhibitions and encourage the public and financiers to attend.

Artist Illustrators research and create drawings or illustrations for the purpose of communicating a story, message or idea. The illustrations may be prepared for advertisements, brochures, galleries, annual reports, medical textbooks, magazines, storybooks or private sale.

Background Artists, sometimes called Background Stylists or Background Painters, are responsible for creating backgrounds for video games, animated and live-action films, or other forms of media. Their involvement includes establishing the color, style and mood of the scene, as described by the writer, artistic director, or animation layout artist. The methods used can either be through traditional painting or by digital media such as Adobe Photoshop.

Book Illustrators create drawings that accompany the narrative of a story in a book, such as a children’s book. They may use traditional drawing methods or computer applications to produce illustrations. Most book illustrators work as freelance artists for book publishers on a per book basis.

Courtroom Artists illustrate scenes from courtroom trials and other judicial proceedings. They create sketches of the parties involved in the case as well as the emotions and atmosphere of particular moments.

Gallery Directors are responsible for running and managing the day-to-day operations of an art gallery and ensuring its profitability. They also take on the responsibility of organizing and marketing art exhibitions, as well as the sales from those exhibitions. A good director builds the reputation of a gallery by collecting or exhibiting work by important artists and creating high levels of interest among the art community and the public.

Gallery Owners are the proprietors of for-profit businesses that exhibit and sell works of art in the local community, nationally, or worldwide. Their involvement extends into many areas of the galleries they operate.

Greeting Card Artists, also called Greeting Card Designers or Greeting Card Illustrators, are responsible for decorating greeting cards with drawings, illustrations, pictures and graphics that are applicable to the celebration or topic. Greeting card illustrators use their artistic skills and experience to help create concepts for cards with writers, and sketch rough illustrations for cards. Card artists may work as freelancers or be employed by large greeting card companies.


east coast lighthouse painting“Currituck Beach Lighthouse”
Marine landscape by Teresa Bernard
11″ x 14″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


Medical Illustrators are professional artists with specialized training and advanced education in medicine, science, art, design, visual technology, media techniques, and in theories related to communication and learning. They  prepare medical illustrations for use in textbooks, informational pamphlets and other publications that are used by patients, students and medical professionals. They also create images of surgical procedures that doctors can follow when they’re learning how to perform a particular type of surgery.

Mural Artists apply paint on a grand-scale to create larger-than life paintings on exteriors of buildings or interior walls. Their paintings tend to be much larger than traditional paintings that hang in homes. Most muralists work as freelancers.

Painter Artists use media like watercolor, acrylic, and/or oil paints to create works of art on canvas. Many choose an area of focus within their genre, for example, landscapes, portraits or abstract. Painters often specialize in different artistic styles, spanning anywhere from realism to abstract art.

Police Artists (a.k.a. Police Sketch Artists, Criminal Sketch Artists, Forensic Artists or Composite Artists) aid law enforcement by sketching likenesses of suspects and missing persons using witness descriptions. Additionally, artists in this field will sometimes create age-progressed illustrations of missing persons. They will use mediums such as charcoal, pencil and pastels to create their drawings.

Scientific Illustrators are responsible for creating accurate and detailed renderings of specimens that visually communicate information and ideas to a diverse audience. Their work is vital in helping others understand people, animals, and other things from an anatomically correct perspective. Their drawings appear in text books, academic journals, popular magazines, museums exhibits, websites and many other sources of scientific information.

Sculpture Artists use various materials (both traditional and non-traditional) and techniques to mold and create aesthetically pleasing three-dimensional works of art, including carving, shaping clay, whittling, or chiseling. Materials used in sculpting include stone, concrete, marble, bronze, gold, plaster, ice, wax, fired ceramics, various metals and wood. Sculptors may work on public art installations, however, they are typically self-employed artists, working in their own studios and selling their art to collectors and galleries.

Technical Illustrators create detailed and precise renderings of products and services offered. Their drawings are used in technical publications, instruction manuals, reference books, textbooks and various other publications where accurate illustrations are required to help others understand complex scientific or technical information.

Index of Art Articles

Jump to articles about:

Art Glossary  |  Art Lessons  |  Art Resources  |  Art Supplies  |  Art Tips  |  Artist Blog  |  Business of Art

• Art Appreciation

5 Tips on Choosing an Oil Painting for Your Home or Office

A Practical Guide To Caring For Your Oil Paintings

Becoming an Artist of Space Paintings

Classification Of Fine Art Paintings By Genre

Evening Sky Captured in a Sunset Oil Painting, The

Everyone Loves Wildlife Art

Floral Canvas Art In Your Home

Flower Art Through The Ages

Flower Paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, The

Flower Paintings of Vincent van Gogh, The

For The Love of Flower Oil Paintings

From Flower Gardens to Flower Paintings

Importance of Varnishing Oil Paintings, The

Know Your Art Painting Styles: 7 Most Popular

Many Types of Oil Painting Surfaces, The

Notes on Becoming an Artist of Flower Oil Paintings

Paintings of Sunsets by Claude Monet

Proper Care of Your Sunset Oil Paintings

Some Things To Consider When Buying Oil Paintings For Your Home

Speaking the “Lingo” of Oil Painting Artists

What Are The Classifications of Art?

What is Art Appreciation?

What is Fine Art?

Why Space Paintings Are Loved By So Many


Auvers, France church painting“Van Gogh’s Church at Auvers, France”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 24″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


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Art Glossary

Glossary of common art terms and their definitions.
A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z


yellow rose flower painting“Yellow Rose of Texas”
Flower Art by Teresa Bernard
18″ x 18″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


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• Art Lessons

Basic Elements of Art, The

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 1

Basic Art Element — Color, Part 2

Basic Art Element — Line

Basic Art Element — Space

Basic Art Element — Texture

Basic Art Element — Value

Can You Name These Famous Paintings From History?

Good Design Principle: An Introduction

Good Design Principle: Balance

Good Design Principle: Contrast

Good Design Principle: Emphasis

Good Design Principle: Movement

Good Design Principle: Proportion

Good Design Principle: Space

Good Design Principle: Visual Economy

Good Design Principle: Unity

Test Your Knowledge of Art Appreciation

Test Your Knowledge of COLOR Theory

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Elements and Principles of Design

Test Your Knowledge of Fine Art: Painting


western sunset oil painting“Cowboy Sunset”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


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• Art Resources

Art Movements From A – Z

Bible Scripture and Visual Art

Blog and Article Topics for Fine Artists

Career Options For The Fine Artist

More Places To Sell Your Art Online

Some Famous Places Around The World That Would Make A Great Sunset Painting

Some Popular Beaches Around The World That Would Make Fabulous Oil Paintings

Some Unearthly Landscapes Around The World That Would Make Extraordinary Space Art Paintings

Where To Sell Your Art Online


painting with covered wagon“Covered Wagon on the Prairie”
Western landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 16″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


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• Art Supplies

About Artist Stretcher Bar Frames

All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some — Part 1

All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some — Part 2

All You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Artist Brushes and Then Some — Part 3

Anatomy of The Artist Paint Brush

Artist Grade or Student Grade Oil Paint, Making a Choice

Common Paint Media Used By Artists

Complete List of Art Supplies for The Beginning Oil Painter

There Are Palette Knives and Then There Are Painting Knives

Taking The Mystery Out of Mahl Sticks

Types of Artist Brushes for Oil Painting

Types of Canvas Available for Painting

Types of Bristles for Oil Painting Brushes

What Every Oil Painter Needs to Know About Artist Oils, Part 1

What Every Oil Painter Needs to Know About Artist Oils, Part 2

What to Know About an Artist’s Oil Painting Palette — Part 1

What to Know About an Artist’s Oil Painting Palette — Part 2

What to Know About Gesso


national park wall painting“Monument Valley”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
16″ x 12″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


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• Art Tips

10 Tips for Painting Mountains

10 Tips for Photographing Your Own Paintings

10 Tips for Taking Artist Reference Photos

Creating Better Compositions In All Your Paintings

Creating Depth On A Flat Surface

Creating Depth in Your Paintings via Atmospheric Perspective

Flower Oil Paintings From Reference Photos

Is It Really Okay For Artists To Use Reference Photos? Part 1

Is It Really Okay For Artists To Use Reference Photos? Part 2

Making and Using a Viewfinder to Compose Better Paintings

Naming Your Artwork — Tips for the Fine Artist

Photographing the Setting Sun for Your Sunset Paintings

Rules of Perspective, The

Tips For Creating Stunning Sunset Paintings

Two Composition Techniques to Use in Your Paintings

Using a Grid to Enlarge and Transfer an Image to Canvas

Using Linear Perspective to Create Depth in Your Paintings

Using Photographs As Reference Material to Paint Flower Oil Paintings


bonnie and clyde car painting“Forgotten Roads of Bygone Days”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


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Artist Blog

A Painting In The Making

Bible Lands Collection

Christian Art Collection

Developing An Art Style of Your Own

Feedback From Across The U.S.

Feedback From Around The World

Feedback From Art Teachers and Art Students

Feedback From Fellow Artists and Art Galleries

Life In Texas Collection

My Oil Paintings Index

Oil Paintings of Texas Sunsets

Paintings of Sunsets Collection

Peggy’s Cove Collection

Space Art Collection

Why I love Sunset Oil Paintings


dancer painting“The Ballerina”
Dancer painting by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


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• Business of Art

Marketing Your Space Paintings Online

Pricing Your Artwork — Taking A Two Step Approach

Ways To Market Your Artwork


What is Fine Art?

Auvers, France church painting
Van Gogh’s Church At Auvers, France

Fine art is a visual expression or application of human creativity involving both technical know-how (skill) and the ability to think of new things (imagination). Artists who create fine works of art do so primarily for aesthetic reasons and they usually specialize in a specific type of art, such as painting or sculpture.

It is helpful to note the word “fine” does not indicate the quality of the artwork, but rather, the purity of the discipline. In other words, creations considered as fine art include calligraphy, drawings, paintings, printmaking and sculpture. It excludes applied art, decorative arts, and crafts. (See What are the Classifications of Art? for more information.)

Types of Fine Art

  • Drawings—chalk, charcoal, color wax pencil, crayon, graphite pencil, inked brush, marker, pen and ink, pastel, stylus, or various metals like silverpoint
  • Paintings—acrylic, aerosol paint, enamel, fresco, gouache, hot wax, inks, oils, pastel, tempera, or watercolor (For more information on the various styles of paintings see Know Your Art Painting Styles: 7 Most Popular)
  • Printmaking—engraving, etching, foil imaging, Giclée print, lithography, monoprint, monotype, screenprinting, stencil, or woodcut
  • Sculpture—clay, glass, metal, plastic, stone or wood
  • Calligraphy—the art of beautiful handwriting or fancy lettering (See Calligraphy for more information.)

Holy Lands wall art“Sea of Galilee at Capernaum”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 16″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


Fine Art Skills

The creation of fine artworks requires knowledge in art theory, design techniques and adequate usage of the tools of the trade that is necessary for composition, design and the creation of fine works of art. The skills necessary can be developed in a variety of ways. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Apprenticeships under other accomplished fine artists
  • Attending college courses at all levels
  • Attending workshops and classes conducted by other artists
  • Joining artists’ collectives
  • Studying the Old Masters and other works of art by modern day artists

Creative Imagination

Creative thinking is the ability to form a mental image of new ideas or something that has not yet been thought of or beforehand experienced. It involves:
1) picturing within one’s mind familiar objects or concepts in a new light,
2) digging down beneath the surface to find previously unnoticed patterns, and
3) finding connections between seemingly unrelated attributes.

Bible Scripture And Visual Art

Biblical Art

What does the Holy Bible reveal about the visual arts?

Let’s see what the Bible tells us about this topic. It is always best to study scripture in context. If possible, you might want to read the verses that come before and after the verses listed to establish its context. From Scripture we learn:


Holy Lands wall art“Sea of Galilee at Capernaum”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
20″ x 16″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


  1. Artistic ability is God-given
    • Exodus 28:3 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      You shall speak to all the skillful, whom I have filled with a spirit of skill, that they make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him for my priesthood.
    • Exodus 31:1-11 – The Message (MSG)
      1-5God spoke to Moses: “See what I’ve done; I’ve personally chosen Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to cut and set gemstones; to carve wood—he’s an all-around craftsman.6-11“Not only that, but I’ve given him Oholiab, son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, to work with him. And to all who have an aptitude for crafts I’ve given the skills to make all the things I’ve commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the Chest of The Testimony and its Atonement-Cover, all the implements for the Tent, the Table and its implements, the pure Lampstand and all its implements, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering and all its implements, the Washbasin and its base, the official vestments, the holy vestments for Aaron the priest and his sons in their priestly duties, the anointing oil, and the aromatic incense for the Holy Place—they’ll make everything just the way I’ve commanded you.”
    • Exodus 35:30-35 – The Message (MSG)
      30-35Moses told the Israelites, “See, God has selected Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He’s filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and know-how for making all sorts of things, to design and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to carve stones and set them; to carve wood, working in every kind of skilled craft. And he’s also made him a teacher, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He’s gifted them with the know-how needed for carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering in blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, and in fine linen. They can make anything and design anything.”
  2. Art is a skill
    • 2 Samuel 5:11 – New International Version (NIV)
      Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David.
    • 1 Chronicles 22:15 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      You have an abundance of workmen: stonecutters, masons, carpenters, and all kinds of craftsmen without number, skilled in working
    • 2 Chronicles 2:14 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      the son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre. He is trained to work in gold, silver, bronze, iron, stone, and wood, and in purple, blue, and crimson fabrics and fine linen, and to do all sorts of engraving and execute any design that may be assigned him, with your craftsmen, the craftsmen of my lord, David your father.
    • 2 Chronicles 24:12 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of the Lord; and they hired masons and carpenters to restore the house of the Lord, and also workers in iron and bronze to repair the house of the Lord.
    • Proverbs 31:24 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies belts to the tradesmen.
    • Jeremiah 18:1-6 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      1The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2“Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
      5Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6“O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”
  3. Art is beautiful
    • 1 Kings 6 – As you read through this particular passage, you should note that God goes into great bit of detail on how He wants his temple to be constructed. Some of the instructions even require craftsmen and artisans to complete. From reading these verses, it is clear that God wants a beautiful place of worship for his people.
    • 1 Kings 7:13-51 – In addition to specific instructions regarding the temple construction, God also goes into detail about how he wants the furnishings for the temple constructed.
    • Song of Solomon 7:1 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      How beautiful are your feet in sandals, O prince’s daughter! The curves of your hips are like jewels, The work of the hands of an artist.
    • Philippians 4:8 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
  4. Art glorifies God
    • Psalm 50:2 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
    • 1 Corinthians 10:31 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
    • Colossians 3:23 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,
  5. God is the original Artist, the prime Master Craftsman

    Garden Tomb, Jerusalem painting“The Garden Tomb at Sunset”
    Landscape by Teresa Bernard
    12″ x 9″
    Oils on stretched canvas

    >> More info


    • Genesis 1:1, 27 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      1In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
      27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
    • Genesis 2:7 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
    • Job 10:8-9 – New International Version (NIV)
      8Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? 9Remember that you molded me like clay. Will you now turn me to dust again?
    • Job 38:4 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.”
    • Psalm 139:13-16 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      13For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them
    • Isaiah 29:16 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      You turn things upside down! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, “He did not make me”; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, “He has no understanding”?
    • Isaiah 45:9, 18 – New International Version (NIV)
      9“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?
      18For this is what the Lord says—he who created the heavens, he is God; he who fashioned and made the earth, he founded it; he did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited—he says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other.
    • Isaiah 64:8 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand.
    • Zachariah 12:1 – New International Version (NIV)
      A prophecy: The word of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the human spirit within a person, declares:
    • Romans 9:20-21 – New International Version (NIV)
      20But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
    • Ephesians 2:10 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
    • Colossians 1:16 – New American Standard Bible (NASB)
      For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.
    • Hebrews 1:10 – New International Version (NIV)
      He also says, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundations of the earth,
      and the heavens are the work of your hands.
    • Revelation 4:11 – English Standard Version (ESV)
      “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

About Artist Stretcher Bar Frames

What are stretcher bar frames?

stretcher bar frameA stretcher bar is a support frame used by artists to mount canvas material on for their canvases. They are so named because canvas is usually stretched across the frame and then fastened on the bars with staples, tacks, metal spline or some other fastener. Stretcher frames are typically rectangle shapes, however, many artists enjoy painting on square, oval and even round stretched canvases.

What is their construction?

Most stretcher frames are constructed of soft, light colored wood, metal or a combination of the two. They can be purchased pre-manufactured from art supply retailers or many artists prefer to construct the canvas supports themselves. Stretcher bars come in a variety of weights and sizes to suit the specifications of different types of canvases. These include:

  • Lightweight — (5/8″) — ideal for smaller paintings
  • Standard (3/4″–7/8″) — most widely used stretcher bar and best if the artwork is going to be framed
  • Gallery (1-1/2″) —  thicker stretcher that makes it more difficult for framing
  • Museum (2″ and thicker) — usually hung on the wall unframed

nautical still life oil on canvas“Still Life with Coral and Lantern”
Still life by Teresa Bernard
14″ x 11″
Oils on stretched canvas

>> More info


Most stretcher bar frames are attached together at the corner on an angle. This is called a miter. A mitered corner is the most common type for modern day paintings of the 1900s or later. Small wooden shims, called keys, are then used in the corners to help keep the canvas stretched tight on the bars and to prevent the bars from warping.

Types of Canvas Available for Painting

stretch canvasWhen an artist paints on canvas there are several different types of canvas available for painting. The term canvas is actually a generic term used by many artists for the various types of surfaces that can be used as a support for paint. These range from fabric to hardboard to paper to wood. However for the purpose of this article, we will only discuss the fabric which is the type that is most often used.

Canvas Types

Fabric for painting surfaces can be cotton duck, linen, or a synthetic fiber. When dealing with canvas for painting, there are three things to consider:

  1. Type of fabric — cotton duck, linen or synthetic
  2. Weight — the thickness of the fabric
  3. Weave — how tight the individual threads are woven

western sunset oil painting“Cowboy Sunset”
Landscape by Teresa Bernard
24″ x 18″
Oils on gallery wrap stretched canvas

>> More info


Cotton Duck Canvas
Canvases made with cotton duck fabric is the most common type of painting surface and the most economical. It comes in various weights and weaves.

Linen Canvas
Linen canvas is a more expensive type and is often regarded as superior to cotton canvas because the threads are finer and the weave tighter. In other words, it has a smoother finish than cotton and is more suitable for portraits. Belgian linen is considered the best of all linens.

Synthetic Fiber Canvas
Synthetic fiber canvas is not a traditional type of surface for painting and therefore is less commonly used. Some artists oppose the use of synthetic fiber canvas as they have not been around long enough for artists to really gauge their durability.