Gesso Presto !

Betsy wins the challenge today…

and thanks to the many who chimed in to help as well…

I decided to bring the panel into the kitchen to provide better light and warmth and set up a spot light at a raking angle, then started with a thin sanding sponge. Some grit on one side and sponge only on the other. Dipped in a little water it quickly brought up a slurry of gesso and in seconds had repaired an imperfection. The key turned out to be starting with the grit side and water…just a little bit…and then wiping in a broader circle with the sponge side which quickly smoothed it back down.                                                                                                                              

The panel is 32″ x 48″ which is a lot of real estate when you are bending over and squinting and it took almost 2 hours of work to reach a satisfactory surface. I was apparently gloating for just a moment and when I took it outside so I could clean up the studio kitchen the wind knocked it over onto Finnegan’s water dish. UGH. Another 15 minutes of repairing those dings and it was back in shape.

Now safely returned to the warmth of the studio I am going to let it dry overnight before proceeding with the oil out that I do as the next step. It will be interesting to see if the surface is not too smooth or if this gesso will provide enough tooth. I’d hate to have to take an abrasive back to it.

 So thanks again Betsy, the sponge wins !

2 thoughts on “Gesso Presto !

  1. Hi Heather….If you are talking about Gesso on Masonite, I just tried it the other day. I found it to be so slick! With it being so slick it shows every brush stroke, so I found my self layering the abrylic on. I don’t know how it would work with oil though. I’m going to try and texture it a bit next time. Thanks for the sponge hint, that’ll work.


  2. Hello there Deb,
    after researching for years I have come up with my ideal panel which is a Dibond board cut to size and wrapped with a portrait grade canvas. I use an acrylic gesso and then prime it with a coat of usually raw umber mixed with a tiny bit of liquin and thinned with turpenoid. That provides a neutral color on top of which I transfer a loose sketch with graphite paper.
    I’ll put a blog together soon with the info about the Dibond but I came across it first in an article by Ross Merrill. He said it was the most stable substrate known ( moves the least in any given direction). It is very thin and very strong and I get it in 4 x 8 ft sheets which cuts easily with a jigsaw. Aluminum on both sides with a poly something or other material sandwiched in the middle…it’s most often used for billboards. Much much more reliable as a surface than any wood. The canvas is adhered with a gel medium and I rough up the dibond first with some sandpaper to make a surer bond.
    I hate seeing canvas texture so thus the many coats of gesso and the effort to build it up to as smooth a surface as possible.
    What I really need is a young meticulous apprentice who can make up the panels for me…I keep dreaming.
    Thanks for writing and your web site looks interesting…I’ll check it out. H