gesso application techniques

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–   –   Acrylic painters– how do you gesso? (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=779511)

 

Onewithwings 11-16-2010 05:20 PM

Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I always used a brush, but the other day I saw something about using your hands! I didn’t know this was done, and haven’t tried it yet. Do you use your hands or your brush or something else?

 

idylbrush 11-16-2010 05:27 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
roller

sponges

trim brush pads

piece of cloth

hands, but only with gloves as protection

sprayer

spray canned gesso

 

Einion 11-17-2010 08:12 AM

You can try applying ‘gesso’ with your hands, but this is definitely one of those things where you might ask yourself, I can, but should I? 😎

Acrylic paint is safe enough in its intended use but it’s not made for skin contact so it can’t be considered safe to apply ‘gesso’ with your bare hands, certainly not as a regular thing. The odd contact here or there is unlikely to cause any harm to most people, but individuals vary of course. If you try this and like how it goes I’d recommend wearing vinyl or nitrile gloves to do it.

I don’t like to apply ‘gesso’ with a brush, mainly because I don’t want visible brushstrokes in the primer usually; cleaning the brush thoroughly afterwards wouldn’t be my favourite thing either. Normally I apply primer with a foam roller as I quite like the texture that’s naturally formed (this if for boards) and it seems much easier to apply an even coat too, plus the roller is much faster to clean than a brush. If I want a totally flat surface I wet-sand at the end, and this goes a lot faster when you don’t have to cut through brush texture.

One of the more unusual suggestions you’ll see for applying ‘gesso’ is to use an old credit card! On canvas in particular you can apply primer with a scraper of one kind or another, mainly to reduce the texture, and credit cards are a handy size for the job and already have rounded corners – if you use a putty knife or paint scraper in a similar way it’s a good idea to grind off the corners to prevent gouges or tears.

Einion

 

benchs 11-17-2010 08:54 AM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I’ve used a 6″ squeegee for larger works.

 

Onewithwings 11-17-2010 09:46 AM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
That’s cool, I usually work smaller (20 x 24 and under) though I have done a few larger works, and I do own a squeegee. It wouldn’t be the first time I have stolen something that was bought to be used for its intended use and turned it into an art tool. 😆

 

wdame 11-17-2010 10:12 AM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I apply it with an old credit card. I put on a couple of coats and lightly sand away any ridges that may be there. Almost like the surface of an egg shell.

 

Onewithwings 11-17-2010 11:46 AM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I’d like to do an experiment– maybe apply it a handful of ways on the same canvas and see which finish I like best?

 

Christer 11-17-2010 08:23 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
5 or 6 coats applied with a squeegee sand with 400 grit between coats, last coat I’ll spray then wet sand, canvas will be almost like clayboard.

 

OkeeKat 11-17-2010 09:42 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
Foam brush to spread gesso on hardboard or canvas going one way, lightly sand when dry and repeat going different direction and repeat 3-4 times or more until surface texture of your choice. I like it semi smoothe, less texture for more fine details.

 

Einion 11-18-2010 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onewithwings
I’d like to do an experiment– maybe apply it a handful of ways on the same canvas and see which finish I like best?

Definitely

Never know for sure what you might like if you don’t try it firsthand; I’m sure you’ll find that some things look good ‘on paper’ but aren’t pleasing to paint on, I know I did (primer sanded very very smooth is one of those).

Einion

 

Suvi 11-18-2010 02:02 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I’ve always applied with a brush but always had a fight to try and get a smooth finnish… I have recently found out you can get Gesso in a spray can (from krylon (sp?)) which I havnt tried yet but will as soon as I get my hands on one! Another idea is to use a sea spong, I am using one for the first time in applying a ‘fog’ to a painting and really like the smooth application.

 

Einion 11-19-2010 03:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Suvi
I’ve always applied with a brush but always had a fight to try and get a smooth finnish…

On board or canvas Deanna?

About ‘gesso’ in a can, I was going to say that stuff in a spraycan tends to cost more but I just did some sums and compared to a couple of name-brand alternatives it’s actually cheaper. So nice job Krylon 🙂

Einion

 

Onewithwings 11-19-2010 01:50 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I am in the process of preparing a somewhat large canvas, and am having luck using those sponge-brushes you get at hardware stores. It works better for me than the credit card or paintbrush.

 

Suvi 11-19-2010 04:10 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
I use canvas. ANd I thought it would be alot more expensve as well .. but not bad!!! athough i bought a big tub of gesso before finding this out so I will us this up first i think, the sea spong works quite nicely i find.

 

Einion 11-19-2010 04:56 PM

It’s tough getting a smooth surface on most canvas because there’s lots of texture to fill. For a totally flat painting surface I generally recommend not painting on canvas; go with paper, board or panel instead.

But if you really like some spring under the brush then it’s a good idea to go with the smoothest fabric you can and polyester is a good choice here. It has a very fine, uniform texture that is much easier to obliterate with ‘gesso’ than any standard cotton or linen canvas.

Einion

 

howyadoin 11-19-2010 10:48 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
Mostly with a brush, though I do occasionally use a knife. Depends on the surface, the type of gesso (Liquitex’s Super Heavy, for instance, is more like molding paste than regular gesso), and where I’m planning to go with a particular piece.

 

paulb 11-24-2010 05:06 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
Some fantastic ideas there, permit me for interrupting!

I’m new to the whole gesso thing (normally work in pastels) but am planning some new endevours with airbrush and either acrylic or oil on mesonite board. I tried gessoing with a brush, but it left ridges that I coudln’t sand off.

Can I use a foam brush or a credit card (genius:)!) for this, or should I just use some sort of softer bristle brush?

Also: the gesso is surprsingly thick, should it be thinned?

Thanks for your help!

P.

 

Einion 11-25-2010 04:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by paulb
I tried gessoing with a brush, but it left ridges that I coudln’t sand off.

If you need to sand acrylic primer flat use wet-and-dry paper – used wet – not regular sandpaper, because the latter can clog nearly instantly. It’s not absolutely necessary but it can be a good idea to start with coarser paper (lower numbers) and then move to a finer grit.

I would recommend you try a foam roller. You can either apply the ‘gesso’ broadly using a large brush, credit card, palette knife or whatever and then smooth it out with the roller or load the roller in primer on the palette or other flat surface (in somewhat like the way you load rollers for painting a wall).

Quote:

Originally Posted by paulb
Also: the gesso is surprsingly thick, should it be thinned?

If you need to yes. You’ll get faster buildup of coat thickness if you use it undiluted but if it’s too difficult to deal with (and some is quite gelatinous!) then by all means thin it a bit. Just to note, once diluted with water it would be better not to transfer any back into the container as this can make it go off.

BTW, it’s hardboard Paul. Masonite is only a generic term for hardboard in some markets and it’s not commonly heard this side of the pond.

Einion

 

awerth 11-26-2010 02:44 PM

Re: Acrylic painters– how do you gesso?
 
FWIW, I’ve found that the Liquitex Gesso product is much more fluid than many of the other acrylic gessos (you actually pour or squirt it out of the bottle). It goes on very easily and dries pretty flat so if you want to apply gesso without much brushstroke (even without sanding), you may want to give this product a try. (http://www.liquitex.com/Products/surfprepgesso.cfm)
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