Hi Susan, if it’s a larger canvas that you are extensively sanding then it can be a good idea to sand the canvas outside, but often it’s just a very light sand to take down any bobbles from the paint application. Many thanks, Rose. I hope you can help me please. I work with oils on wood. Often these experiments can end up with an unexpected path that you hadn’t first imagined that can help to guide your style and work. Please! Will multiple coats of gesso work? Cheers, Will. You have helped a lot! Anyway…I bought some ‘used’ canvases recently and have no idea what kind of paint is on them. Hi Will. And which color shall I use? If you are using student quality paints these can often need more coats for the same coverage you would achieve with artist quality paints. This is important because you don’t want to gesso a canvas that has wrinkles in it because it may make them permanent.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'drawandpaintforfun_com-banner-1','ezslot_11',109,'0','0'])); I don’t recommend washing the canvas in a washing machine. So, climate here is one of the biggest issues. 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. I am trying to follow your 5 step oil portrait and i just got a canvas from the market which says ACRYLIC DOUBLE PRIMED …. When i look at it at a different angle, it looks patchy, but straight on it looks normal. :). Am also interested in your thoughts on this. Repeat steps 1-4 one more time for a bright white surface. Hello Will, I have a couple of questions. Technically speaking, gesso isn’t necessary when painting with acrylics. How to easily tighten a canvas for painting let me show you Canvas Tip Save Money Acrylic Painting clive5artBecome a patron and get some awesome rewards. a walmart set /slaps forehead) Your site came up so I booked marked it after deciding to go with acrylics. I need to prime some large canvases (at least 11 canvases, each 4 x 2m) – how far can I expect gesso to go? Apply water to the back of the canvas if it has already been primed and worked on, and make sure to avoid touching to wood to prevent any warping of the stretcher bar frame. Something like beach sand? Are there another alternatives to that? 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. A good house painting brush can take a lot of abuse, and they’re relatively inexpensive in comparison to your art brushes. Doug, Hi Doug, under those conditions I think it would be fine to use, you could check directly with Liquitex just to be doubly sure. Emphasise at the SAME time, don’t wait untill work has started, or has been finished – you’ll risk introducing new, un-planned effects. Cheers, Will. 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. 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. I have a couple of questions for you regarding gessoing and painting my ground. THE CANVAS. Can I use this canvas for this project? Now. PVA glue is not used in a traditional gesso. It just sounds like there wasn’t enough layers of gesso painted onto the canvas and this is why you can see the T, tightening the back by dampening it won’t help with the see-through nature of the canvas, but you could apply a coat of gesso to the back to create a more opaque canvas finish. 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, Hi Pauline, great to hear from you and so pleased you’re feeling inspired to paint. Thank you for the great website. You can see this effect in the photo below.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'drawandpaintforfun_com-box-4','ezslot_10',108,'0','0'])); Washing the canvas makes it more receptive to the gesso which is water-based. Default. This seems to give me a good surface, but I am wondering if there is an easier way for me to start. I am looking to paint a large canvas; 4 feet by 8 feet. 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. At the art supplies shop I’ve seen some gorgeous brown fabrics. Do you prefer painting before of after stretching the canvas? If you want to work on paper, then I would double the thickness to a 300gsm and ditch the gesso, it isn’t necessary. I have my studio organized and but brush in paint for the first time! Do I need to prime it again with gesso to ensure that the paint that I paint on it does not crack when it is rolled up, stored and unrolled again? Stretching paper is an in depth process which I’ll only cover briefly here. If you are using watered down paint or student quality paints the shiny surface can repel the paint. I get what’s involved for stretching and I more interested in the – Do I have to stretch – can I paint and roll up and stretch at the end – those questions above. Thanks, love your site and articles. If the surface is too uneven you’ll have different absorbency rates. Cheers, Will. I was unable to find one so I decided to learn to paint with acrylics and do my own! It’s made by Liquitex which is a reputable company.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'drawandpaintforfun_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_5',106,'0','0'])); You want to avoid the generic brands because they may sacrifice quality in order to offer it at a lower price. The plan is to make two painting with this using acrylic paints. Thanks for the kind comments and really pleased to hear the articles can help with planning your painting classes with the kids. i know i need to prime it. For on your painting you can add a touch of acrylic retarder, which helps to stop the paints dry quite so quickly. I have down it before not have the tools yet. 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. 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. Thanks again for your insightful website and comments. 3.) Sep 21, 2017 at 7:24 am. My preferred brand is Fredrix. The mountains are a bit grayish, blue waters and lots of green trees. You can use any acrylic color that you have to tint gesso. 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. Gesso contains Titanium White as the pigment because it’s the most opaque pigment available. Here I’m applying Gray gesso to a canvas that already has one coat of white gesso. It provides you with a nice, slightly more absorbent surface to work on, especially if your working on board or raw canvas, but for a pre-primed canvas it’s unnecessary. It also has a fair amount of chalk in it. Sooo…I painted the entire thing over with a layer of black acrylic and let that dry overnight. This movement of the size layer can cause aged oil paintings to crack according to the Smithsonian Conservation Lab. I have managed to remove most of the oils across the sky with turpentine. Hello, sir. p.s if you’re after a very absorbent surface you might be interested in trying the absorbent ground medium from Golden Paints, which is designed for more staining watercolour type effects. You might be interested in the paintings by Richard Rowan who also paints on glass. In a large scale project like this, i will definitely need lots of paint and a finished project with no shine or light reflection. yes you will be able to dilute the gesso down to a thinner consistency. Doing so will result in unwanted ripples or waves. Yes, sometimes the first layers of gesso will drip through if it is a loose weave on the canvas, you can then just apply another coat on top. You can see me do this in the video. Putting it on canvas is asking for trouble as it really is brittle. 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. I will be moving forward with painting canvas backdrops 6ftx9ft and upwards. You say it is not recommended to paint over an acrylic gesso with oil…what would you suggest to prime a canvas with to paint the first layers with acrylic and then overpaint with oil, for a professional result? Have a look at this article on a beginners paint palette. You can work onto raw canvas or straight onto white depending on the style and effect you’re trying to achieve with the finished painting. Is there any way I can fix these paintings or do they have to be framed behind glass to protect them? Please remember that PVA size or acrylic medium does not tighten fabric like rabbit skin ... Did I understand correctly that I can paint on a panel primed only with pva sizing and no gesso? The holes in the edges of the paper are distracting, so you’ll probably want to trim off the edges of the paper. Are you diluting the gesso with water? I understand its purpose now, but wonder why would one tint it. 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). The flow release seems to work nice as it makes the paint soak into the canvas. You can use any type of acrylic paint to tint gesso, but I recommend using fluid acrylics. Hi Emily, thanks for dropping by, and great to hear you’ve discovered painting. Allow to dry, then apply a second coat. First, you want to wet the paper which will make the fibers expand. The reason I used the tear out canvass to begin with was due to shipping. I will let you know how this works out. 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. What kind of paint should I be using? My stretcher is a “T” configuration and it crosses in the middle of my canvas. You have been very helpful. Depending on how thick the gesso is, you may have to dilute it to get it to roll on smoothly. To hold the canvas in place most artist use an easel – either a tabletop easel or stand up easel. I know there are plenty of ‘youtube’ videos showing how to do this. Have you any idea what could be causing this? I asked if I could use a KILZ oil-based primer, which I could and did, but now the surface is starting to crack. I am going to paint a landscape with trees, waters and mountains. Patrick. Required materials . I built it this way : first I have put acrylic matte medium gel on both sides of some raw linen canvas, then I stretched the canvas and later I put several layers of acrylic white gesso (I lightly sanded every layer). Thanks for sharing so much information. You can buy a gallon of student grade gesso on Amazon if you’re trying to save money. I primarily use golden gesso which can be diluted with water and they recommend not going over 25% water. Thanks so much! Tightening an already stretched canvas is easy: I use a mister or a spray bottle with plain water (cold or hot). Hi Will, Explanations very clear. hi,i just found out your very informative site,and thanks a lot for helping us out here,duly appreciated your help.i would like to know could i prime my 48′ x 60′ pre-primed canvas with a normal wall paint roller?or must i get any special kind of roller?this is a very big canvas,i intended to paint a geometrical abstract color painting,4 colors using diluted yellow as background color.the reason i want to use roller to prime my canvas is i think it should be faster and without the brush stroke with using a brush.i am new to acrylic painting.hope you could help me out here.thanks! Hi There, Great informative article. 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. And which color shall i use? 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 am painting in acrylics. How to easily tighten a canvas for painting let me show you Canvas Tip Save Money Acrylic Painting clive5artBecome a patron and get some awesome rewards. (use water and only if necessary) Roll gesso on evenly, while flat on a table. Today, most painters use acrylic gesso to prime their canvases. I noticed they have a line of artist acrylic paint and gesso and a variety of other things. I’d still appreciate your reply though! 0. Im very new of this painting things. Feeling very tensed but I really want to do it with all my efforts. This in turn causes the entire canvas to tighten and slacken as the Relative Humidity (RH) rises and falls. I am truly excited about this and am looking forward to a beautiful painting hanging over my bed ………. Will. 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. Thanks very much. Thank you very much. how to make your paint brushes last longer, gesso necessary when painting with acrylics, Sharpie Poster Paint Markers: Black, Red, and Blue, Heavy Body Acrylics: Pyrrole Red & Ultramarine Blue, Fluid Acrylics: Quinacridone Magenta, Phthalo Blue, and Vat Orange, High Flow Acrylics: Quinacridone Nickel Azo Gold. Sincerely, ~Stevie. I’ve applied about three or 4 layers already and it doesn’t seem to be covering very good. In the context of this article, “unstretched” canvas does not mean raw canvas, but, canvas that has been pre-primed with gesso. 2.) Cheers, Will. Thanks!! The surface right now is uneven and i will sand it tomorrow. Sincerely, Mari. Thanks for help. Since it is an acrylic polymer, it is not hygroscopic. A few thin layers is better that one thick layer. This will help arrest the mold growth, and you may need to repeat this a few times. My kind regards to you and yours. So I bought a roll of 2.5m x10m raw cotton canvas. For example, when the air becomes dry and sinks below 30% RH, the hide glue will contract with considerable force, while above 70% RH, the hide glue will soften and lose strength, and by 80% will quite literally become gelatinous and fail completely. So if I get a a tripped primed canvas I do not need to gesso right? Applying t wo coats of GAC 100 before the primer/Gesso layer will reduce linseed oil penetrating into the canvas fibres. Buy a tub of premixed white gesso and give it a stir. if so what size do you recommend? Hi Erin, you don’t need to use gesso or a toned background when working with acrylics, it’s just a classical approach to building up a painting that can work well. Any thoughts? May I ask you a question : I made a stretch linen canvas for painting with acrylic. Additional Tips on How to Gesso a Canvas. 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. Kind regards from sunny England [ I wish] Colin Eccles, Hi Colin, thanks for dropping by and for your kind comments, hope the Lowry copy goes well and you find the site helpful. If so, I wouldn’t need a background colour, am I right? It mostly for a large set design using oil paints. But find the lecturers/tutors aren’t giving us the ‘juicy stuff’ that I want and need to know. how much gesso do I need per metre? Cheers, Will. I recommend buying a house painting brush for applying gesso. Thanks Will for that info, there is also in a hardware store ,a powder gesso, which may be better. House painting brushes can be used for applying gesso. 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. If you want a more absorbent surface, add another layer. And yes you still want to see some weave as this will drag the paint from the brush. My drawings aren’t bad but, sadly, painting is still a major challenge. You sound like your ready to take the leap into canvas now. Using a clean, wide brush or roller apply the gesso directly to the stretched canvas in even strokes. Thank you sir, best of the holidays, and I may try to concoct some of those whiskey macs you mentioned! If you were to start painting directly in acrylics before the paint is thoroughly dry, you may pick up some of the white and lighten your color mix. That’s why you’ve had the flaking. For smaller canvases you can use an inexpensive nylon brush from a craft store. 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. My first proof were a stunning disaster (color creates stains on the canvas and spreads everywhere). The slightly abrasive surface worked great with all of the drawing pencils. Even when the glue is completely dry, high humidity will re-introduce water into the film, causing it to soften or swell up. Thank you. It has no center wood support. This is from the Golden acrylic website on replacing Rabbit skin glue with acrylic mediums: Traditionally, rabbitskin glue (also known as hide glue) was used to reduce the flexibility of canvas before painting. If you prefer a thinner consistency, you can thin it with water. What do you suggest? 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. Gesso won’t help with the drying times of acrylic, for keeping paints wet on the palette try a stay-wet palette. I would apply a tonal ground for an oil primed canvas using quick-drying oils or quick-drying white mixed with an earth colour rather than acrylics. It is imperative that it be applied directly to the raw canvas. 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. 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. I’ve just started to paint with acrylics after using watercolour and I’m so glad I came across your site, it’s so informative. Hi Will, I used the prepared Gesso on my canvas and when I poured it and started to brush in the Gesso, there seemed to be a lot of little and large lumps on the canvas (like skin on boiled milk). I use it on ready made stretched canvas to make the surface smoother to paint on. I read three different books on acrylics, but it won ’ t Ika, as it ’ perfect! Palette try a stay-wet palette with it to make the layer more smooth so opaques are out of canvas... The occasional oil stick currently ( to be gessoed first fine art week... To thin the first time I ’ ve found some useful info on my canvas the! Be accomplished most easily by brushing the gel and gently position it pencil... 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