Gesso 1: What Is Gesso

Gesso is used in artwork as a preparation for any number of substrates such as wood panels, canvas and sculpture as a base for paint and other materials that are applied over it.

  • In the past we used Rabbits skin glue or gypsum. Now we use calcium carbonate in a latex base. Works on a rigid or flexible surface.
  • Used to prime a surface, a canvas, hardboard or a wood surface.
  • Protection against Support Induced Discoloration. Support Induced Discoloration is an issue that can occur when you apply a gel or a medium on a surface such as masonite for example. The impurities in the masonite are wicked to the top of the surface where the gel then becomes discolored.
  • Prepares for reception of paint. Helps to seal and protect your surface.
  • Colored gesso now available.

Applications for Gesso

  • More coats of gesso = smoother surface.
  • Can thin gesso 25% percent with distilled water.
  • Can add fluid colors to tint.
  • Can create veils and textures.
  • Can mix gesso with gels with inclusions (Fiber Paste, Coarse Molding Paste, etc…)
  • Sanding gesso. – sand with wet sanding in a circular fashion and fine grit sanding paper.
  • Very smooth surface use sandable hard gesso.


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