PDA

View Full Version : Gesso - looking for advice


craigchivers
03-04-2012, 09:15 AM
Hi all,
I'm not sure which channel is best to post this but here we go.
I've for a long time wanted a little return to natural materials and to get away from using petro-chemical industry processed products in my painting. I studied historical techniques way back when, but most of it was theoretical. Now i'm finally attempting to put that knowledge to use and trying to prepare painting surfaces with traditional gesso. I've cross-indexed my books and pretty much all agree that the gelatin size should be mixed at 1:10 rabbit skin to water (double-boiled of course!) and that the gesso should be 1:1:1 glue:zinc:calcium.
I'm wondering if I should be using a mortar / pestle or a muller / slab to get a really consistent gesso? Right now i've just been using a large palette knife and palette for mixing. Even my 8 year old students know what happens when you mix 1 part liquid to 2 parts solid and that is a really thick paste, so there is no way you're applying that stuff with a brush! I think it was Doerner who said to use a spatula, and yes this is much more like mudding drywall than anything else.
I'm still not satisfied with the results but i'm determined. If anyone has any experience in making "real" gesso and preparing painting surfaces I would be much obliged.
Cheers,
Craig

azulparsnip
03-07-2012, 07:26 AM
Hi Craig - I've posted a copy of your thread in the Classical forum - there is more activity there. I hope you get some response.

craigchivers
03-07-2012, 07:40 AM
Thanks for that. I did put it up over in the classical forum when i put it up here. the experiments with gesso are going alright, but getting some tips would certainly be helpful.
Cheers,
Craig

craigchivers
03-07-2012, 07:45 AM
oh i see maybe this isn't the "forum"
Cheers and thanks again,
Craig

Painting Bas
03-15-2012, 07:47 PM
oh i see maybe this isn't the "forum"
Cheers and thanks again,
Craig

Hi Craig,

You could try this for gesso, a traditional recipe of chalk and glue that worked well for me.

I have glued and gessoed panels and canvases right after each other, re-warming leftover rabbitskin glue au bain marie in the pan and adding that to an amount of champagne-chalk (I had chalk from France I guess, but any chalk will probably do ok) powder as 1:2.

First make the chalk somewhat liquid by stirring in a little water to help it mix with the glue and gradually add the warm glue to it. Stir with a solid spoon to thoroughly mix the glue and chalk until you get a thick greyish sauce that gives real resistence when you move a spoon through it (it will almost make the spoon bend), though it looks like a thick liquid.

Then apply that on top of the dried glue on the panel or canvas in several thin layers, letting each dry first, until the surface is fully covered. you can use a large square brush or a small paintroller. After the last layer has dried the gesso is really hard and can be sanded to really smooth if you want.

Cheers.:wave: