Over the years many of my students have asked me how to tone a canvas. Often I would verbally explain how to prepare the canvas but found it was simply better to actually physically take a canvas, prepare the tone and demonstrate the process. Today my student Kay was at the studio and had some canvas she wanted to tone. I took the opportunity to show her the process and thankfully I had my camera on hand to document the simple steps of toning a canvas.
Start with clean stretched canvas. Lay it on a flat steady surface be it a floor or a large table. Using your palette or taboret, mix up a batch of neutral color. The amount of paint mixed will depend on the size of your canvas or the quantity of canvas you are planning to prepare.
Taking your palette knife, scoop up some of the mixed paint and gently smear it across the canvas. Then taking a clean rag, pour some odorless turpenoid onto the rag and gently push the rag over the surface of the canvas making sure not to push too hard on the canvas.
If the paint is not thinning out enough, add a little bit of the turpenoid directly to the canvas surface. The paint should thin out quickly and will become very fluid. Continue to gently sweep across the canvas with your rag in circular motions paying mind to cover the white of the canvas with the tone. The final product will be a canvas that is "stained" with a wash of color. Allow it to dry and use as needed.