How to prime a canvas using Gesso for Acrylic painting

by Will Kemp

in acrylic painting

how to gesso a acrylic painting

What is gesso?

Gesso, pronounced ‘jesso‘, was traditionally used to prepare or prime a surface so Oil paint would adhere to it.

Gesso is the same as a primer, as in ‘pre-primed canvas’.

It is made from a combination of paint pigment, chalk and binder.

Traditional Oil ‘glue gesso’ was made with an animal glue binder, usually rabbit-skin glue, chalk, and white pigment, usually Titanium white.

Gesso is usually white or off white and is used after you have sealed the raw canvas with a coat of size (see: the Trouble with Oil)

It creates a surface that is both absorbent (particularly useful for ‘dead’ colouring with oils) and has a ‘tooth’ (texture) that allows paint to grab onto the surface…

So what is Acrylic Gesso?

Modern acrylic gesso is a combination of calcium carbonate (chalk) with an acrylic polymer medium (binder), a pigment (titanium white) and other chemicals that ensure flexibility, and ensure long archival life.

Why do I need to use a gesso primer for Acrylic painting?

Technically you don’t. But in practice painting directly onto a raw canvas is not an enjoyable experience. Unless you are interested in deep staining effects like Morris Louis
 who became fascinated with using diluted acrylic paint to stain the raw canvas, rather than apply with a brush.

Alpha-Pi

Alpha-Pi, 1960
Morris Louis (American, 1912–1962)
Acrylic on canvas

Can I use acrylic gesso under an oil painting?

Yes and no.

Yes for 90% of your paintings especially if your just beginning ‘acrylic gesso‘ will be fine if the raw canvas has been properly sized, thus protecting the canvas from the corrosive nature of oil.

However, if it was for a portrait or to produce a masterpiece for your painting legacy I would use an Oil gesso purely for the fact it has been time tested and the Oil will always adhere better to Oil than sitting on top of an Acrylic.

Pro tip: If you want the first layer of paint to dry quicker than it normally might, just add gesso. The gesso primer layer can soak up the oil from within the paint and leave a ‘dead’ flat under painting that won’t have any sheen to it. Imagine the difference between painting onto glass and painting onto blotting paper. All the oil from the paint would be absorbed into the primer layer.

Do I need to buy it?

Homemade or ready made?

Shop bought gesso comes pre-prepared in tubs or tubes and is pretty good, homemade gesso is cheaper to produce and can be adjusted to personal needs and tastes, however,  it’s not needed when you are first starting painting.

Artist or Student quality?

As with paints, the difference between the two is dependent on price. The artist quality having a higher price, more pigment and a higher opacity. The student quality will have a lower quantity of pigment and more filler. If you are painting onto a raw canvas the artist quality would be best due to the increased opacity. For adding a bit more absorbency to a pre-primed canvas student quality would be fine (you can always add a bit more white pigment to it).

Can I colour the gesso?

Yes, I am a big fan of working on a coloured ground and if you are pushed for time you can mix some paint into the gesso to tint it. You can also buy premixed black gesso, coloured gesso and clear gesso.

Pre-primed canvas boards

Pre-primed”  means “pre-gesso” It already has a gesso layer applied in the factory. On the cheaper ranges for some reason manufacturers often use a seal on top which creates a shiny surface which is completely ridiculous… defeating the object of gesso!
If you are using watered down paint or student quality paints the shiny surface can repel the paint. The more watery the paint the easily it will sit on the surface and not soak into the canvas as you would like.

If you apply a couple of coats of gesso it will form a more absorbent surface due to the chalk (calcium carbonate- known as ‘whiting’ in oil painting) found in the gesso.

Creating a super smooth finish

You can sand gesso between coats to create a lovely smooth finish, especially handy for photo-realistic paintings, just sand each layer with a fine sandpaper. Say a 240 grit. 3M’s make a good sandpaper. Just make sure you do it outside, or in a well ventilated area as it goes everywhere!

How to gesso a raw canvas for acrylic painting

What You Need:

  • Gesso
  • Decorators brush
  • Kitchen Roll
  • 240 grit sandpaper if you want to sand the layers in between each other.
  1. Buy a tub of premixed white gesso and give it a stir. Again, this really comes down to personal preference, I work from a tub so I can control the amount of gesso on my brush for each stroke but you can buy it in tubes.
  2. The first coat always needs to be diluted with a touch of water (sometimes people recommend adding a bit of acrylic medium to prevent cracking but the layer is so thin and soaks straight in, it would never crack).
  3. Allow to dry, then apply a second coat. This can be applied thinly and does not be watered down. If you want a more absorbent surface, add another layer.
  4. When applying the gesso turn the canvas 90 degrees between coats to insure an even coverage.
  5. Apply a final coat using the pure, undiluted gesso.
  6. Using a 3 inch decorators brush, apply the gesso directly to the stretched canvas in even strokes. Work from the top to the bottom of the canvas, in parallel strokes from one edge to the other.
  7. Wash your brush out immediately in running water then use a brush cleaner to thoroughly remove the gesso out. It’s worth cleaning it twice even if you think it’s clean.

Pro tip: Golden paints make a hard gesso that can be useful if you are working on a board. Due to the limited movement on a board compared with a canvas it can create a smoother finish.

You might also like:

How a prepared canvas can drastically improve your paintings

{ 132 comments… read them below or add one }

Donald kelsey October 19, 2011

You have been very helpful. I have been taking classes for about a year here in kettering ohio., from a teacher at sinclair college. in watercolor. I first started painting with acrylics about three years ago. mostly on glass panes. having a lot of fun so far.
thanks again.

Donald

Reply

Will Kemp October 19, 2011

Hi Donald,
The glass painting sounds really interesting, I’m glad you’ve found some useful info on my website.
You might be interested in the paintings by Richard Rowan who also paints on glass.
Keep experimenting!
Will

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Miranda May 14, 2013

Donald I am a student worj=king on my second portratit. The BACK of my canvas has picked up paint and just looks messy Can I put paint over it to cover the mess with out doing damage to the painting
on the other side I am using oil. on cotton About my website I am just working on it Not ready
I do have a link to the place I take classes at Hope it works for you
Please give me an answer if you can
Thank you

Reply

Will Kemp May 22, 2013

Hi Miranda,

I wouldn’t advise painting the back/reverse of the canvas because you’re working with oils.

The reverse of the canvas probably hasn’t been sized to protect it and you run the risk of not letting the air getting to the oil to dry it fully, as oil dries by oxidation,

I hope this helps,

Will

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Robert Stuart July 31, 2013

When preparing a support (canvas or board), there can be an argument for preparing the back at the same time, especially if you use traditional materials in your grounds .
Emphasise at the SAME time, don’t wait untill work has started, or has been finished – you’ll risk introducing new, un-planned effects.

With canvas, it will slow the drying as Will suggests, but will help with (archival) preservation of the support,
For boards, preparing the back will help reduce warping due to shrinkage of the ground (size & primer).

Reply

Will Kemp August 4, 2013

Cheers Robert, good advice for boards.

Cheers,

Will

Robert Morrow November 17, 2011

Hello Will
Very grateful for your reply.
I misled you using saying boards. What I have is linen preprimed 4 times and sealed. I will do what you propose with gesso and I think using a coloured ground is a good idea . I will let you know how this works out.

best wishes

Robert.

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Will Kemp November 17, 2011

Hi Robert,
You’re welcome.
The coloured gesso on the linen will work out well and give you that extra absorbency you were after. I have found those particular linen canvases to be very nice to work on especially for portraits (I used the same brand for a recent self portrait) looking forward to hearing how you get on with them,

Good luck,
Will

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Mathew November 29, 2011

So you are against pre-primed fabric canvases?
So what can I do, I don’t have and will time to prepare canvas in old techniques.
On the other side acrylic gesso is drying my oil colours!!

Reply

Will Kemp November 29, 2011

Hi Mathew,
I’m definitely not against pre-primed fabric canvas, in fact I use them in most of my work!
I do have reservations, however, with pre-primed canvas boards.
With the cheaper ranges manufacturers often use a seal on top which creates a resistant surface which is not as enjoyable to paint on.
Especially if you are using watered down paint or student quality paints.
Not many people do have the time to prepare canvas from scratch and I always recommend my students use pre-primed canvas’s, of a decent quality.
Acrylic Gesso shouldn’t dry your Oils, how much turpentine or thinners are you adding to your Oil paint? as this will rapidly increase drying time. Maybe experiment with a bit more Oil in your medium.

Hope this helps
Will

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joanna layla March 16, 2012

Hello Will

I need to prime some large canvases (at least 11 canvases, each 4 x 2m) – how far can I expect gesso to go? how much gesso do I need per metre? I am trying to estimate costs for the project

thank you so much
Jo

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Will Kemp March 16, 2012

Hi Jo,
That is a lot of gesso!! As a general rule of thumb coverage is about 100ml per metre squared. This can of course vary depending on the coverage you want.

Some artists prefer a thinner application others want a completely opaque finish.

For the number of canvases you are working on that would be:
88m sq x 100ml – 8,800ml
A UK gallon is 4545ml (a US gallon is 3785ml)
so 2 x gallon – 9,090ml
If you are still unsure you can always buy a smaller tester pot and just try it out until you find a coverage you are happy with.
Hope this helps,
Will

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Jenny Grant August 29, 2013

Great!!
I have been looking for this information! Thanks a lot. Am just about to start a 7mx3m acrylic on raw canvas project and it is hard to calculate the cost for the paint! Thanks again!
Jenny

Reply

Will Kemp August 29, 2013

Good one Jen, pleased it helped.
Will

Reply

anna April 10, 2012

Hi Will,

I came to Oil painting from Watercolour- and then Acrylic. I’ve got the hang of the painting ‘backwards’ (i.e. Dark to Light) but in my layering of paint I’ve had some trouble with sections drying and then shifting… leaving a horrible contrast, as I had primed the raw linen with white Gesso and was trying to get a warm yellow ochre-ish shadow.

The canvas is sized with Rabbit skin glue and only sections are covered by the ground as I want the objects/images to ‘hover’ on the linen surface. I wasn’t having this problem when I started and wondered whether it could be because the section I’m working on now has a thinner coat of gesso?

Do you have any suggestions/tips?

Many Thanks,

Anna

Reply

Will Kemp April 10, 2012

Hi Anna,
The problem could stem from the differences in your gesso ground. An over absorbent ground, or too much solvent used in your paint mixture will be the cause of this difference in colour.

As some sections of your gesso are thinner than others the absorbency will be different so the about of oil that the layer ‘soaks in’ will change, this will give you changes in colour shift.

This is called ‘sinking in‘ To overcome the contrast effect you have to “Oil out‘ the area, or apply a layer of varnish that will unify the sheen.

Hope this helps,

Will

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anna April 10, 2012

The nuances of the rules: dark-light and fat-over-lean were leading me astray. Now that I am reminded that lighter colours like white and yellow are lean – I know that my solution should be linseed oil in these top layers?! I’d still appreciate your reply though!

Reply

Will Kemp April 10, 2012

Hi Anna,
Flake white is a quick dryer but titanium whites are usually fatter pigments and are slower drying, a brief guide below.

Fast Drying [around Two days]:
Flake, Foundation and Cremnitz Whites [lead], Umbers,Prussian Blue, Raw Sienna,

Medium drying [around five days]:
Blues and Greens [phthalocyanines], Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Violet and Greens, Ultramarine Blues, Mars colours [synthetic iron oxides], Sap Green, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Ochres, Cadmiums, Titanium White, Zinc White, Lamp Black, Ivory Black, Pyrrols, Bismuth Yellow, Perylenes.

Slow drying [more than five days]:
Quinacridones, Alizarin Crimson.

Thanks,
Will

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Connie November 2, 2012

Thanks for this sum-up. Have been trying to piece it together from comments here and there, this helps.

Reply

Will Kemp November 2, 2012

Brilliant stuff Connie!

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Luella April 10, 2012

I have a beautiful painting, that is unfortunately oil on a thin, raw canvas. If I paint the back of the canvas with gesso or whatever, will it soak in and preserve the painting? Was done about 5 months ago by a friend in art school. They had no suggestions on how to preserve it now but it is too beautiful to just not try. Any suggestions are appreciated

Reply

Will Kemp April 10, 2012

Hi Luella,

What a shame such a beautiful painting has been done on raw canvas.
As far as I’m aware there isn’t much you can do to protect the canvas once the oil paint has been applied to an unprimed canvas as it would have already soaked into the fibres.
It may take years to deteriorate but a good conservator might have some good suggestions.
Good luck,

Will

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Laura July 8, 2012

Hi Will,

I am working on wood panel. Would gesso be necessary before painting with the acrylics or could I just start painting?

Thanks!

Laura

Reply

Will Kemp July 8, 2012

Hi Laura,

With acrylics you can just paint straight onto the panel, you don’t need to gesso the panel.

Thanks,

Will

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rod hulme July 9, 2012

Just a note Will, hoping you are well. I have been moving back to Canada after 50 years residence in the U.S. and busy as a cat covering left-behinds! Just did not want you thinking my interest is flagging. At my age this will be my final move, and although I will be painting in Southeast light instead of north, it will make no difference in the limited painterly knowledge I possess. My kind regards to you and yours. You are an awesome teacher, my man. rod

Reply

Will Kemp July 9, 2012

Hey Rod, great to hear from you!
I’m good, I’ve been really busy on a new collection of paintings and planning a new series on colour mixing.
Good luck with your move,
Speak soon,

Will

Reply

jj July 14, 2012

I plan to paint a large piece of canvas as a mural. Can I roll up the painting after using gesso or will it be to stiff?

Reply

Will Kemp July 14, 2012

Hi JJ,
Due to gesso having a flexible consistency it will be fine if you roll the murual after you have finished painting it. Especially if you are using acrylics which stay flexible once they have dried.

Thanks,
Will

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Jimmy Bolanos July 16, 2012

Hi Will
Just started painting with acrylics paints,and I’m not sure if I should prime my canvas first or just start painting. The canvas is a Winsor & Newton that is triple coated with acid free sizing and two coats of highly pigmented acrylic primer will this be good enough for painting on. By the way, great site.
JimmyB

Reply

Will Kemp July 16, 2012

Hi Jimmy,
Thanks for the comment, yes, the canvas your using is ready to go!
With acrylics you can paint onto practically any surface without priming or sizing as there is nothing in the paint that will damage the surface you are working on. However, a primed surface such as the one you are using just takes the paint of the brush that bit easier.

I always recommend a coloured ground to start on as it helps to take the fear out of starting the painting and takes away the glare of the white. It only has to be with a thin coat of paint. If you have a look at my video on it I’m using a winsor & newton canvas.

Good luck,
Will

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Verity September 27, 2012

Hi Will,

Great job on creating such an awesome site!

I’ve just started painting with acrylics with the aim to start selling them – Im pretty new to the world of materials, and stuck to linen canvas at first, then this week I bought a few Winsor and Newton deep edge cotton canvases (double primed weight is 8oz unprimed, 14oz primed)

My worry is that they might not be good enough as a surface for professional use – mainly from a longevity point of view. (I’m using Golden acrylics on them)

Do you have any advice on this one?

Thanks
V

Reply

Will Kemp September 27, 2012

Hi Verity,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Regarding the longevity of the cotton canvas, as you are painting with acrylics they will be fine, there is nothing in the paint that will damage the canvas over time. The only thing to look out for with those particular canvas is a warping of the actual stretcher bar.

If you are working quite small this will be fine, but I have found with some of the larger sizes ( 24 x 48 inch) there can be a warping due to the quality of wood used in the stretcher bars. As with all things, art material wise, usually the more expensive the better the quality, which of course can be tricky when you are first starting to sell your paintings!

I use cotton duck for most of my landscapes as they are on quite a large scale but switch to linen when painting a portrait.

Hope this helps,
Will

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Stevie December 27, 2012

Hi Will,
First off, thank you for having such a great site for us! I am a beginner at this. I just got an acrylics starter kit for Christmas and I’m going to give it a try soon.

I have two questions for now.
1) How long should it take each layer of gesso to dry?
I live in the state of New Mexico which has the very arid, dry climate of the desert and the thinner air of higher elevations from the Rocky Mountains.
2) Do you always use gesso?
I have a friend who is a painter here locally and she says that the one time she didn’t use it, her acrylics crackled and flaked off, but it didn’t seem like you used it in your demonstration video for how to apply a ground. I’m wondering if our climate or her painting methods might have influenced the situation.

Thank you so much for your time.
Sincerely,
~Stevie

Reply

Will Kemp December 28, 2012

Hi Stevie,

Welcome to the world of painting! The acrylic gesso will be touch dry in about 10 minutes, with the warmer climate you’re in, probably even quicker. You can then paint the next layer ontop. A few thin layers is better that one thick layer.

I always use gesso on my paintings. In the ‘How to apply a ground’ demo, the white gesso is already painted on to the canvas before I apply the coloured ground.

Hope this helps,

Will

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Samantha December 30, 2012

Hello!
I just wanted to drop in and just say thanks. I think this is the first time I’ve come across a place that explains things easily without thinking the reader an idiot.
Too be honest I’ve been a bit frantic on looking up on theories and methods on all forms of painting. I’ve just been put in charge of painting courses at a local craft store I work at for kids 5-16 on just the premise of ‘Well, you paint and kids like you so no choice.’
And yes I paint, have taken numerous classes but most of them consisted of ‘draw this, paint that and you need so many pieces done for your portfolio by this date.’ different technique was never covered unless the instructor didnt like what we did. And up till this point it was never a big deal as I just played with paint as a stress reliever or what have you.

I’m just glad I stumbled upon you, since I don’t want to disappoint these kids nor myself by turning a true learning experience ( for both parties! ) in a slap dash paint by number.

So really no point to this comment beyond thank you. That and the helpful sigh of relief when I do devel into oil I won’t be at a complete loss.

Sam

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Will Kemp December 31, 2012

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the kind comments and really pleased to hear the articles can help with planning your painting classes with the kids. Using the coloured ground is really helpful with kids because they always leave white canvas when they paint. You’ll achieve some fantastic results.

Good luck with the classes,

Cheers,
Will

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Kelly Felton January 6, 2013

Hello Will,
I am very happy I have run onto your site. I was looking for a large painting for above my bed, I wanted a mountain forest with water and a moose. I was unable to find one so I decided to learn to paint with acrylics and do my own! Will, I can not draw a convincing stick figure! However, I thought if I take my time to learn I will get to my painting someday!
I read three different books on acrylics, bought my supplies (I did invest in artist quality on some brushes and paints.) I have my studio organized and but brush in paint for the first time! Not a very good result! I decided to start on paper as I really have no art background and figured once I started to get down techniques and had some success, I would move to canvasses. I am putting gesso on my paper (140 lb. cold press.) I am putting 2 coats of gesso on each side to combat rippling. This seems to give me a good surface, but I am wondering if there is an easier way for me to start. I figured once I looked at a painting and said to myself, “I wish I would have put that on canvas!”, I would be ready for canvas. I have watched a few of your videos so far and will continue to do so, they are lovely and informative, I am glad I read the books I did, but seeing you wield the brush sure gives me a better feeling!
I have promised myself I would not give up or get discouraged, so any starting off info you can share would be great! I am truly excited about this and am looking forward to a beautiful painting hanging over my bed ………. someday!

Kelly

Reply

Will Kemp January 6, 2013

Hi Kelly,

You sound like your ready to take the leap into canvas now.

The gesso and paper situation is sounding like a lot of work before you’ve even started painting! If you want to work on paper, then I would double the thickness to a 300gsm and ditch the gesso, it isn’t necessary.

My advice is to buy a couple of cheap pre-primed canvasses and get wielding that brush on an actual picture. Follow one of my free step-by-step video lessons (there’s a landscape one) and don’t worry if you make mistakes, you can easily paint over them with acrylics.

The best way to learn is to actually paint, discover different brush-marks and get a feel for the materials.

Go for it and have fun, let me know how you get on,

Cheers,

Will

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patrick January 28, 2013

Hi Will, Here in S. Spain Gesso is very expensive and Black unheard of. There is a product called T-KROM, a transparent latex adhesive for sealing paper, wood, tiles etc. would this work to seal the canvas ok. thanks.

Reply

Will Kemp January 29, 2013

Hi Patrick, I’m not sure about the suitability of the latex, it won’t give you a good ground surface to work onto. You can buy white Gesso and just add black paint to it, or paint a coat of white Gesso and then a coloured ground of black with acrylics. It might be worth contacting a couple of the local art schools, they might be able to sell you some at a better price, or tell you whi they buy it from.

Cheers,
Will

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patrick January 29, 2013

Thanks Will for that info, there is also in a hardware store ,a powder gesso, which may be better. One more question please, what is liquid clear, and liquid white, these are mediums, so is there equivalent liquids in a hardware store for these items. many thanks for your assistance. Patrick.

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Will Kemp January 29, 2013

Hi Patrick,

Liquid white & liquid clear are brand names made famous by Bob Ross, who often applied a coat of ‘liquid white’ onto the canvas to work the paint wet into wet. Liquid white is a fluid paint, making it easy to apply and mix with other colours. Essentially, it is a thin mix of titanium white that has been made liquid by added oil and solvent thinner. Liquid clear is the medium without the titanium white.

Cheers,

Will

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patrick January 30, 2013

Thanks Will for that, so liquid white consists of mixing a quantity of Titanium White and adding what oil or solvent to achieve the thinner white for Acrylic painting., wet on wet. Patrick.

Irene stead February 12, 2013

Hello

I’ve been working with oil for eight years now ….and I wanted to try acrylic for a change ..I doesn’t flow the same on the canvas ….. I gesso it before I started ….. What do I mix with it to make it blend or flow better

Reply

Will Kemp February 13, 2013

Hi Irene,
You just need to add in some water to the paint. If the paint is still ‘beading’ on the gesso you can add a few drops of ‘acrylic flow release’ which will reduce the surface tension in the paint and create more of a stain effect.

Cheers,
Will

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Kerri-Jo Sharp March 6, 2013

I want to use gelatos on my canvas but I was told that they need to be gessoed first. My canvases say they have two coats of highly pigmented acrylic primer on them, they are made by Winsor & Newton, is this the same as gesso??

Reply

Will Kemp March 6, 2013

Hey Kerri, the ‘two coats of highly pigmented acrylic primer’ is the gesso, so you can paint straight ontop, you’re good to go!

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Kerri-Jo Sharp March 7, 2013

Thank you!!!

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Emily April 1, 2013

Thank you so much for this help, I am almost 70 years young, and am only starting to learn to paint, I am so grateful to people like you, who have taken the time to pass on tips, I appreciate this more than i can express.
Many thanks from a Silver surfer.
Emily

Reply

Will Kemp April 1, 2013

Hi Emily, thanks for dropping by, and great to hear you’ve discovered painting. Enjoy the tutorials,

Cheers,
Will

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Rosy April 10, 2013

The more I paint and try different grounds, the more I realize that you are absolutely right. lol
Not saying I doubted your professional opinion, never. But usually one tends to buy the cheaper things especially when one has just started. And it is so true, I am afraid to “waste” good quality stuff with my amateur skills. Today I was trying to paint the still life cherry again (last time I used acryllic paper) this time on a cheap canvas and my colours refused to stay on, no matter how much I took. I use the students palette of royal talens. But even my first touch with the canvas left the behind almost blank.
On the other hand I used a better quality canvas for my landscape picutre (still on the cheaper side though), even though I had similar problems they were not so severe like mentioned above. Maybe I should get over the fear to ruin canvasses.
Thanks a lot

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ChiChi Rodrigweez April 13, 2013

Hello,
I am having a bit of a dilema. I just started this great new painting (fortunately not too far into it, but I don’t have the means to keep running out buying paint). Anyway…I bought some ‘used’ canvases recently and have no idea what kind of paint is on them. I needed a big canvas for my new project, so I picked one of these assuming it was acrylic paint that was already on it. Sooo…I painted the entire thing over with a layer of black acrylic and let that dry overnight. This morning, I was working away drawing on my idea with a pastel pencil and I noticed that every now and then the black paint wants to peel off’. Have you any idea what could be causing this? Is it that the previous artist may have used oil rather than acrylic? If so…can I use these for acrylic paintings by gessoing? I need HELP! Please! :)

Thank you!
Jo

Reply

Will Kemp April 15, 2013

Hi Jo,

It sounds like the painting was an oil painting. As the oil paint surface contains oil the acrylic won’t adhere to it. That’s why you’ve had the flaking. You can paint oils ontop of acrylics, but not acrylics ontop of oils. Even if you gesso the surface you will still have a weak paint film and the acrylics won’t behave like normal.

Hope you can find some fresh canvas!

Will

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navya sharma April 20, 2013

hello,
I am in a bit problem as i am making a painting on a canvas for the first time….i am confused in getting a pre- primed canvas or a simple one which i have to prime. i dont know which is better….plz help me in this….plz

Reply

Will Kemp April 21, 2013

Hi Navya, the quickest way to start is with a pre-primed canvas. You only really need to prime your own canvas when you’re working with raw cotton duck.

Cheers,
Will

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Maddie Turney May 15, 2013

Hey!
Have you ever tried or seen detailed charcoal drawings done over a gesso coated canvas/board?
Does it work at all?
Thanks
Maddie

Reply

Will Kemp May 23, 2013

Hi Maddie, yes this would work, ideally you would work onto a board so you sand the gesso to get a super smooth finish. For very fine work you could also try using the Golden drawing ground, it’s designed for silverpoint but also works well with graphite and charcoal.

Hope this helps,
Will

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Diana June 13, 2013

Hi Will,
I need to glue paper onto a canvas, and then paint with on it. Is it possible to glue it with gesso? Thank you very much!

Diana

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Will Kemp June 14, 2013

Hi Diana, I would use a gel, such as soft gel gloss as a glue, then you can intermix the acrylics and it will adhere better to the canvas than using gesso.

Below is the process from the Golden Acrylic website:

Process

What follows is the basic process for “gluing” paper or canvas to a panel:

First prepare the back of the printed element, paper, canvas or other compatible flat collage element, with one or two thin coats of Soft Gel (Gloss). This can be accomplished most easily by brushing the gel on thinly with either a varnish brush or a soft bristle brush. The Soft Gel will seal the absorbency prior to actually attaching the piece to a panel or other surface.

For paper, this process could cause buckling, especially on thinner sheets, in which case this step my need to be eliminated, depending on the paper used.

The destination panel or surface should simultaneously be prepared. Apply a coat of Soft Gel (Gloss) to seal the absorbency of the destination surface.

By pre-coating both surfaces, less Soft Gel is needed for the actual gluing process, and in turn a better bond is created. This process also reduces the chance of edges curling and air pockets developing due to lack of gel between the two materials.

When ready to glue the two pieces together, evenly apply a thin coat of Soft Gel (Gloss) to the panel or other material you are gluing to. A useful tool for evenly spreading the gel is a notched trowel, typically used to apply flooring and wall coating glues, and found in any hardware store. This tool will “comb” the gel and effectively provide an even distribution. For some types of collage, a simple brush or palette knife application will work fine. Carefully lay the piece that you are adhering down onto the wet gel and gently position it.

Place a cut sheet of polyethylene plastic over the piece you are adhering to protect its surface, especially if it is delicate artwork. Starting in the center and either using a brayer ( rubber roller used in printmaking ) or a bunched up soft cloth, gently roll or rub outward with very even pressure to move any air pockets out towards the edges. Excess gel will ooze out at the edges so be ready to gently wipe it off with another piece of cloth. Allow the layers to dry.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

Reply

ann legere June 19, 2013

Hi,
I paint with acrylics, and I already had a painting on the canvas, and did 3 coats of gesso. When I try a new painting on the gesso canvas it started to Pitt on me. I did sand it down before I applied the gesso. What happened?

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Will Kemp June 20, 2013

Hi Ann, could you explain what’s happening on the canvas surface?

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Lee July 5, 2013

Hello Will,
I have a couple of questions. When painting acrylic paint on a canvas that has been primed with Gesso, does all of the Gesso have to be covered with acrylic paint? If I leave some of the areas unpainted (because I prefer the bright white of the Gesso) will those areas yellow over time? I intend to spray the painting with UV Archival varnish.

Thanks so much!
Lee

Reply

Will Kemp July 6, 2013

Hi Lee,

Thanks for dropping by, to answer your question:

No, you don’t have to cover all the gesso with paint, it shouldn’t yellow over time.

Yellowing of paintings happens most prominently in oil paints, and can come from the oil paints themselves or most likely from the traditional natural varnish that was used.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

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Michele King July 10, 2013

Hi Will,
I am copying a Japanese Woodblock of a Geisha using acrylic paints. I want the effect to be flat and smooth on the canvas. Do I draw on the canvas first, or do I prep the canvas with Gesso and then draw? I am a beginner. This is my second project. I would appreciate your help. Thanks.
Michele

Reply

Will Kemp July 11, 2013

Hi Michele,
To get a flat and smooth surface paint onto board such as MDF (Masonite). This would give you a very smooth surface.
Apply a couple of coats of acrylic Gesso and sand in-between layers to achieve the flattest surface.

Alternatively, use a fine, tight weave canvas, apply the Gesso first and then draw onto the canvas.

If the canvas is white, it will already have Gesso onto it so you can draw straight away.

Good luck with your painting,

Cheers,
Will

Reply

eugene bowden July 10, 2013

being 86 and not able to do much golfing or what ever i decided to take up painting to help pass a lot of my spare time..and so glad i did..i was born and lived in the small town of Castine, Maine for most of my young life so what i paint mostly is pictures of the old homes and sea and boat pictures which i have been able to sell in that town..But i was never really pleased with my paintings until i read in your paper about the use of Gessel to prime the canvas..and what a difference it made..i can even now use dry pastels on canvas as well as Acrylics…Then i seal my paintings with clear acrylic sealer….Thanks for the help and hope others will follow your advice….gene

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Will Kemp July 10, 2013

Hey Gene,

Really pleased you found the article helpful in your painting, you might also be interested in Golden Acrylics Absorbent Ground for pastels, you can paint this onto any surface to give you a good ground before using your pastels.

Cheers,

Will

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Lidia Desimone July 29, 2013

Muy claras las explicadiones. He usado Gesso como base en telas con lijado previo pero algunas veces la superficie se torna muy absorbente aún para los óleos, Esto provoca que se sequen muy rápido lo cual dificulta su trabajo. Pregunto: Esto se debe a la calidad del Gesso o a otra razón?

Reply

Will Kemp August 4, 2013

Hi Lidia,
la absorbencia del yeso está determinada por el contenido de tiza en el yeso. Puede variar de una marca a otra, por lo que valdría la pena experimentar con otra marca de gesso sólo para ver si eso hace la diferencia. También puede tratar de trabajar a bordo que será mucho menos absorbente que el lienzo. Espero que esto ayude,
Saludos,
Will

Hi Will,
Explanations very clear. I used Gesso fabrics based on preliminary sanding but sometimes becomes very absorbent surface even for oils, This causes them to dry quickly making it difficult to work. Question: This is due to the quality of Gesso or another reason?

Hi Lidia,
The absorbency of the gesso is determined by the chalk content in the gesso. It can vary from brand to brand, so it would be worth experimenting with a different brand of gesso just to see if that makes a difference. You can also try working on board which will be much less absorbent than canvas.

Hope this helps,
Cheers,
Will

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Helen Mendenhall July 30, 2013

Glad I found you,Thanks.

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Will Kemp July 31, 2013

Pleased to hear it Helen.
Cheers,
Will

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Johnny B August 6, 2013

First, your awesome. I JUST (2 days ago) decided I wanted to paint. I didn’t know what the differnce between oils and acrylics were so I googled it while standing at walmart ready to grab my first set (and make my first mistake!…. a walmart set /slaps forehead) Your site came up so I booked marked it after deciding to go with acrylics. Since then I have made non stop trips to a real are suply store and have pretty much bought everything I’ve seen in your videos. Anyway all that to say what a freakin great resource best out there for me! (I started with acrylics for dummies but since I have NEVER painted before I had no clue what the crap I was supposed to be doing)…. On to the question at hand:

Do I dip my brush into water, then into my tub of gesso?

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Will Kemp August 7, 2013

Hey Johnny, great to hear from you, and glad you’ll finding the site useful.

It is more than likey that you have bought a canvas that is white.

If it is, it has already had Gesso applied in the factory.

So has been ‘pre-primed’ with Gesso, sometimes the say, ‘triple primed canvas’ which means ‘triple primed with Gesso canvas’

So you don’t need to add your own layer of gesso, you’re good to go.

If the canvas is raw (looks like natural canvas or linen) then dip the brush in water to bring all the bristles together, and dilute the first application of gesso with water so it’s the consistency of single cream and paint it on.

Wait for it to dry, and then paint on a slightly thicker coat.

Hope this helps and good luck with your first painting!

Cheers,

Will

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Sebastian August 16, 2013

Hi Will, great article, thank you!

I have a question regarding brands of gesso. I’ve never used gesso so not sure what to choose and which brand to go for. Is there a brand you use a lot? I mostly use acrylic.

At the moment I work on illustration board, so it has a hard and smooth surface which allows me to erase the paint away for textures, highlights etc.. Will this same erasing technique work on gesso?

Thanks in advance. :)

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Will Kemp August 17, 2013

Hi Sebastian,

Pleased to hear you enjoyed the article. I usually use Golden brand gesso and they have a couple of options you might find helpful.

Standard acrylic gesso and they also have a hard sand-able gesso, which will give you a smoother surface to work on to, closer to the illustration board.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,

Will

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Leaira August 27, 2013

Hi Will,
I found your website when I was finding out how to apply gesso on a canvas and more, I have a few questions.
1.) I looked at some of the comments on this page, and a person said something about a traditional canvas, that the store people apply the gesso on the canvas, so you don’t have to. My question is I don’t know the difference, I buy my canvas on Amazon (8×10), and I wondering if you could tell me if I need to apply gesso.
2.) Also when you are thinking of painting, do you need to prepare a day before, so you can let the gesso dry, because I looked at other websites and they say that you need to add 2 layers of gesso and it takes a long time to dry, so you have to wait.
3.) My last question is, when you are applying gesso, does it matter what brush you use, or can you just use any brush?
Thank you Will for sharing the information. :)

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Will Kemp August 27, 2013

Hi Leaira,

To answer your questions:

1.) I looked at some of the comments on this page, and a person said something about a traditional canvas, that the store people apply the gesso on the canvas, so you don’t have to. My question is I don’t know the difference, I buy my canvas on Amazon (8×10), and I wondering if you could tell me if I need to apply gesso.

If the canvas is white, it has gesso painted onto it.
If the canvas looks like fabric (dull cream colour) it doesn’t have gesso applied.

2.) Also when you are thinking of painting, do you need to prepare a day before, so you can let the gesso dry, because I looked at other websites and they say that you need to add 2 layers of gesso and it takes a long time to dry, so you have to wait.

Oil primer(gesso)used specifically for oil painting takes longer to dry.
Acrylic gesso is quicker to dry, you can usually apply two coats in the day, but ideally a 24hr wait before painting ontop.

3.) My last question is, when you are applying gesso, does it matter what brush you use, or can you just use any brush?

I’ve found a decorators brush works best, try to buy a good quality one or you’ll spend your time picking out hairs! An old pair of tweezers can can be handy for picking out any rough brush hairs.

Hope this helps,

Will

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Leaira August 28, 2013

Thanks Will,
I’ve started to notice that a lot of my brushes, when I paint, hair start coming out and I have pick them off my canvas. How do you know what good quality brushes are, I usually buy mine from Micheals.

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Will Kemp August 29, 2013

You’re welcome Leaira,

It’s often best to flick the end of a brush before buying it just to check that none of the hairs come out, you usually always get a few stray ones though.

Have a look at this video, to see my ‘flick-ability test’

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Guz August 27, 2013

Hey,

is it a problem to apply the gesso before stretching the canvas?
I was afraid of that it might crack when I finally stretch it.

Cheers.

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Will Kemp August 27, 2013

Hi Guz, it’s a better approach to stretch the raw canvas first onto the stretcher bars before adding gesso as you will get a tighter stretch on your canvas.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Jessica Valdes September 5, 2013

Hello Mr. Kemp,
I just received my very first piece of canvas and I am so excited to create an abstract.
As I am no artist I have no idea what to do first except to use the gesso, do I stretch the canvas first or wait?
What all should I purchase? Is there any preference on paint and brushes for the first timer?
I would actually like to do a self body painting on this canvas, any suggestions as to what I should do?
Thank you for your time,

Jessica

Reply

Will Kemp September 19, 2013

Hi Jessica, pleased your excited to get painting with abstracts, usually you work with the canvas having already been stretched when you’re first starting, and as you get more experienced can learn to stretch your own canvas.

I always recommend starting with an artist quality white and then building up your paints from their.

Have a look at this article on a beginners paint palette.

Enjoy your painting,

Cheers,

Will

Reply

Mairin Jerome September 13, 2013

Hi Will,

Your work is great.

What are your thoughts on using an acrylic medium in the place of gesso for priming a canvas? I am experimenting with leaving a raw appearance to the canvas, while maintaining a proper seal. My concern is that the medium is not of adequate strength to provide a solid, long-term base for the paint (ie might flake because not fully binding to canvas fibers). I am using acrylics with the occasional oil stick currently (to be used over the acrylic medium).

Thanks!
Mairin

Reply

Will Kemp September 14, 2013

Hi Mairin,

I’ve used acrylic mediums before on raw canvas and they can work quite well, rabbit skin glue always seems to give the canvas a bit more tightness when working with oils, but if you’re mostly using acrylics and just using a touch of oil bar they should work fine.

This is from the Golden acrylic website on replacing Rabbit skin glue with acrylic mediums:

Replacing Rabbitskin Glue:

Traditionally, rabbitskin glue (also known as hide glue) was used to reduce the flexibility of canvas before painting. Although the rabbitskin glue does reduce flexibility, it is extremely brittle. It is hygroscopic, which means that it will always be water-soluble. Even when the glue is completely dry, high humidity will re-introduce water into the film, causing it to soften or swell up. Over time, this constant swelling and drying of the film can cause severe paint-film cracking and delamination.

GAC 400 can be used in a similar fashion for stiffening canvas. Although the GAC 400 will not quite achieve the stiffness of the rabbitskin glue, it does not remain water-soluble. Apply one or two coats directly into the raw canvas, coating both front and back for maximum stiffness. It is imperative that it be applied directly to the raw canvas. I

t is ineffective over any other medium, and most likely will flake off and cause delamination of subsequent paint layers.

Since it is an acrylic polymer, it is not hygroscopic. However, neither rabbitskin glue nor GAC 400 is completely effective against oil penetration, and the use of GAC 100 over GAC 400 is recommended for oil painters.

Note: Since GAC 400 is brittle, it is important that it not be rolled tightly, or bent back upon itself. This will cause cracking of the polymer film and may transfer cracks into additional paint layers. This is especially a risk with cured oil paints.”

Hope this helps Mairin,

Cheers,
Will

Reply

susie coverson October 16, 2013

Im a total newbie. I want to paint both oil and acrylic, but doing acrylic for now.but the paint dries quickly and gets sticky. What can I use to keep the paint moist enough to work on for a lengthy time.is it gesso?

Reply

Will Kemp October 16, 2013

Hi Susie,

Gesso won’t help with the drying times of acrylic, for keeping paints wet on the palette try a stay-wet palette. For on your painting you can add a touch of acrylic retarder, which helps to stop the paints dry quite so quickly.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

James Holden December 20, 2013

Hi Will,
I’m using acrylic paints in block form on bare canvas,I’ve noticed transparency in the colours,i.e,uneven brushstrokes and light breaking through from the back of the canvas.
Do i need to prepare the canvas beforehand or apply more coats?
I need to keep bright vibrant colours,so opaques are out of the question.

Kind regards James.

Reply

Will Kemp December 20, 2013

Hi James,

It depends on the effect you are after with your painting, have a solid gesso ground will make it easier to apply paints to the surface. If you are using student quality paints these can often need more coats for the same coverage you would achieve with artist quality paints.

Hope this helps,

Will

Reply

Swathi January 8, 2014

Hi will,
This site was very useful and i mean it.i actually started painting as a hobbie on just a normal paper first with water colours and now i am using acrylic.Many people after seeing my painting want me to sell them but i am afraid that it wont be nice to give them such an unprofessional painting and i dont even know how long it will last.so now i want to start painting on canvas and i understood the use of gesso but i don’t know anything about canvas and i wanted to know how can fix a canvas before applying gesso like how to hold the canvas in place and after painting with acrylic does the paint go on the back side of the canvas?I am very new to canvas so wanted your suggestions.and as i stay in India there is less awereness about canvas and stuff
Thank you
Swathi

Reply

Will Kemp January 9, 2014

Hi Swathi,

Really pleased to hear you’ve been finding the articles helpful,

“how can fix a canvas before applying gesso like how to hold the canvas in place”

You usually apply gesso when the canvas is horizontal, so on a table is just fine.
To hold the canvas in place most artist use an easel – either a tabletop easel or stand up easel.

“After painting with acrylic does the paint go on the back side of the canvas?

No, you leave the back side of the canvas ‘raw’

Hope this helps,

Will

Reply

Lina January 25, 2014

Hello,
I will paint with geomatrical shape by using arcylic.So,it is should have toned ground for it background because it does not landscape drawing but just geomatrical pattern.

Reply

Will Kemp January 26, 2014

Hi Lina, if you’re going to be painting solid blocks of colour then you don’t need to add a colored ground.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Selina February 6, 2014

Hi Will,
Thank you so much for the website. It has been so helpful and resourceful. I am reading it everyday and try to learn more about my favorite old master and impressionist painting techniques. You have helped a lot! Thank you and please keep doing what you are doing for this online art school. It is indeed wonderful.
Selina

Reply

Will Kemp February 6, 2014

Hi Selina,

Thanks for your lovely comments, so pleased you’ve been finding the articles helpful.

Cheers,

Will

Reply

Lindsey February 7, 2014

Hi Will
Thanks for all the tips! I was wondering if you could give me some advice please? I have made a few of my own stretchers which I have painted on and I am now wondering how to finish off the edges on the back. I have been left with raw, fraying edges and staples on the cotton canvas. Could you recommend a high-tack tape or something like that please? I an trying to achieve a professorial finish. Thanks.

Reply

Will Kemp February 7, 2014

Hi Lindsey, the best thing to do is get a roll of brown framers tape, you can run this over the back of the frame and it will look sweet. Have a look at these frame sealing tapes. I always go for the self adhesive rather than the gummed version.

Hope it helps,

Will

Reply

Lindsey February 8, 2014

It certainly does help Will, thanks for the link too.
Lindsey.

Reply

Will Kemp February 8, 2014

You’re welcome Lindsey,
Will

Reply

gmb February 13, 2014

I am looking to paint a large canvas; 4 feet by 8 feet. If I buy a canvas painters drop cloth and size it and put on three coats of gesso and then stretch it on a frame, would that work for painting with acrylics.

Reply

Will Kemp February 13, 2014

Hi Gmb,

If you get the canvas, then stretch it onto the stretcher bar, then apply gesso (you don’t need to size the canvas for acrylics) you’ll be golden!

Cheers,

Will

Reply

gmb February 14, 2014

awesome. thank you so very much.

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N COOMBS March 8, 2014

When painting on paper with acrylics do you use a primer?

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Will Kemp March 8, 2014

You don’t have to prime the paper to work with acrylic, but some artists add a coat of gesso as they prefer the surface.

Cheers,

Will

Reply

Colie Roberts April 19, 2014

I have a bit of a predicament, and I’m wondering if you could help me out. I’m currently working on a painting, but I bought cheap canvasboard, and a sizeable part of it has nearly no tooth to it. I’m attempting to gesso over it without ruining what I already have painted (using professional grade acrylics), and I’m still getting a smooth surface. I’ve been using 150 grit sandpaper, but it’s not doing much. Any advice on creating a bit more of a rough surface?

Reply

Will Kemp April 19, 2014

Hi Colie, to get a more textured surface I wouldn’t use sandpaper as this will smooth the surface. If you’re painting with acrylic you can mix in textured gels with your paints (here’s an example of a glass bead gel) or just apply the gesso more thickly using a stiff brush.

Hope this helps,
Will

Reply

Colie Roberts April 20, 2014

Thanks for the reply! Sadly, I don’t have money or time to go get any kind of textured gels, as the nearest store that would supply something like this is about 45 minutes to an hour’s drive away from me. I don’t have any really stiff brushes in the size I need at my disposal, but I have one that’s about medium stiffness. Do you think this could work, if I go horizontal one layer, vertical the other, and use light pressure to create the brushstrokes/ridges necessary to achieve texture?

I will never be using cheap canvasboards again, haha! This is such a terrible drain of time!

Reply

Colie Roberts April 20, 2014

Another question, could I mix something like sand or something into the gesso to give it texture? Something like beach sand? I have a little bit from Redondo Beach, California in small mason jars in the bathroom, and could use a little bit from that mixed into the gesso, if this could work.

Reply

Will Kemp April 22, 2014

Hi Colie, yes you can mix in sand with your acrylic, gesso or a standard gel.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Lisa Ellis May 17, 2014

I just happened across this site (which is fantastic) and I am interested in painting across a map of Wash ington DC as part of a wedding gift. What should I do to prepare the map to take acrylic paint? Any thoughts? Lisa

Reply

Will Kemp May 18, 2014

Hi Lisa,
You don’t need to prepare the map at all you can just paint the acrylic straight on top.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Sherena June 6, 2014

I applied my first coat of gesso on 12oz cotton canvas. I forgot to dilute the gesso with water on the first coat. In your experience do you think it will crack over time? Thanks for help.

Cheers,

Reply

Will Kemp June 7, 2014

Hi Sherena, no the gesso won’t crack over time, it will be fine.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Chris June 12, 2014

How many oz of gesso do I need for 3 foot by5 foot surface

Reply

Will Kemp June 12, 2014

Hi Chris,

As a general rule of thumb coverage is about 100ml per metre squared.

So 3ft x 5ft = 1.39 metre squared

So 150ml should do it.

Most small pots come in 225ml

Cheers,
Will

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scott June 12, 2014

I never tried the single sheet canvas that is tear away like drawing pages. So I started to paint on a sheet of canvas and found it was very difficult painting.I was using acrylics and my color and detail became lost soon after applying. After completing half of my subject blue jays I realized that i had painted the opposite side of the gesso. Is this the cause of my burden? I didn’t start over due to the fact of shipping date. It is to be a gift to my Father. The reason I used the tear out canvass to begin with was due to shipping. I have applied generous amounts of paint and it still seemed so grainy. Errrrrr

Reply

Will Kemp June 12, 2014

Yes that will be the issue scott, the raw canvas will make it harder for the painting to flow on the surface.
Cheers,
Will

Reply

Mary July 3, 2014

Hi… Let me say you thank for you kindly support, advice and shared experienced with us. Sometime I surf on your site for tips and trick, is a amazing island of wonder!

Well, I’m a watercolorist on paper. Could you suggest me some advice for using canvas instead paper for watercolor? My first proof were a stunning disaster (color creates stains on the canvas and spreads everywhere). Then I’ve used golden absorbent ground on primed canvas, and the paint don’t soak; but when I try to add new layer of color (still wet), the underlying color slips away while brush… Could you suggest me anything? Grazie!

Reply

Will Kemp July 4, 2014

Hi Mary,

My first, albeit not very helpful advice, would be to stick with watercolours on paper for the best result. If you want a harder surface to work onto you can mount watercolour paper onto a wooden board. You can use soft-gel gloss or spray mount to attach the paper to board.

When you try to paint onto canvas, even with an absorbent ground (the Golden is a good choice) you’ll still have issues with:

    The paint can be ‘lifted off’ very easily when you paint a new layer ontop.
    The paint will stay wetter ontop of the canvas
    The paint can ‘pool’ is the surface doesn’t absorb as much of the paint liquid.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

ella July 9, 2014

hi will.

firstly – thanks heaps for your kind and informative website. Its very generous of you to share your amazing knowledge and skill like this. Second off all, do I need to size MDF board before applying gesso?

Thanks

Ella

Reply

Will Kemp July 12, 2014

Hi Ella, if you’re using acrylics, no, if you’re using oils, yes.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Brandy Emerick July 18, 2014

I don’t know if this question fits here, but I am a beginning acrylic painter but I paint on cedar. I have been using a sealer mixed (as recommended) with my base coat but the paint absorbs VERY fast! It makes it very difficult to and time consuming to produce anything. Is there any other way to prepare wood for painting?

Reply

Will Kemp July 19, 2014

Hi Brandy, what sealer and/or gesso are you using?

Will

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Brandy Emerick July 20, 2014

I’m truly showing what a beginner I am! I didn’t know you could use gesso on wood! After your response I googled all kinds of gesso and there are a lot! What are some good kinds for wood? I am on a small budget so am looking for the best bang for my buck. For my drawing supplies I shop at Dick Blick online. I noticed they have a line of artist acrylic paint and gesso and a variety of other things. I’m assuming brands like Golden would be better, but to start would using something like the Blick brand artist quality paints, mediums and gessos work?

Reply

Will Kemp July 21, 2014

Hi Brandy,

The Blick brand gesso’s would be fine, I’ve found the Golden brand Titanium white has a really good opacity so is worth the investment, but many artist quality brands have a good feel to them. I haven’t personally used the Blick artist quality paints but have heard good things about many of their own brand products such as the Blick Studio pencils.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Pauline August 6, 2014

hi Will I’m a agedcare woman just started to paint in acirylics need a pastime as I’m in agedcare bedroom most of the day I’ve started painting sea scapes and been told I have talent will look forward to all your advice in the near future i wS very interested in the painting the canvas different colours I’m going to try it thank you so much Pauline

Reply

Will Kemp August 8, 2014

Hi Pauline, great to hear from you and so pleased you’re feeling inspired to paint. Hope you find the tutorials helpful.
Cheers,
Will

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Aashish Bhatt August 26, 2014

Hi Will!
Your blog, indeed is very informative and encouraging, am passionate about drawing and i know that i have good skill, have worked with pencil colors and soft pastels and the out come is really good, people have told me why dont i pursue this sill on professional basis.

The problem is that am not sucessful with either water colors or acrylic paints, as soon as i have brush in hand, am not able to create a painting…i have bought pre-primed canvas Titanium Fine Art trade mark canvas and want to pursue and pidilitte paints…please can you guide

Reply

Will Kemp September 2, 2014

Hi Aashish,

Nice to hear from you, so pleased you’ve been enjoying the lessons, the transition from drawing to painting can at first seem a bit tricky as the skills you have with a pencil can at first seem alien to painting. The best place to start is with a simple two colour painting, get used to holding the brush and making brushstrokes, and then you can introduce more colours as you progress.

Hope this helps,

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Kristy August 27, 2014

Hello. I stretched a canvas myself for the first time and I’ve never applied gesso before. I’ve applied about three or 4 layers already and it doesn’t seem to be covering very good. When i look at it at a different angle, it looks patchy, but straight on it looks normal. Should I be unable to see any light through the back of the painting? Or can I just start painting?

Thanks!

Reply

Will Kemp September 2, 2014

Hi Kristy,

It sounds like you’ll be able to just start painting, as depending on the weave of the canvas you can often hold it up to the light and still be able to see the weave even when it’s ready to paint.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

Will Kemp January 31, 2013

Hi Patrick, liquid white is a thinned oil paint, it is not used with Acrylic paint. You can paint acrylic under oils but you can’t paint oils under acrylics.

Cheers,
Will

Reply

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