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ldallen
05-28-2001, 07:41 PM
I've been using WN gesso for preparing masonite panels and I get a nice smooth finish with it. But I want to use the good old fashioned gesso (marbel dust, hide glue and white pigment?) but can't seem to find it. In past forums it has been discussed and there seems to be skepticism as to whether acrylic gesso is long lasting. I don't think I'll be here in a hundred years from now but maybe my kids kids will be. Does anyone have any suggestions about this? Or thoughts?

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Les

"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

Leopoldo1
05-28-2001, 08:49 PM
Originally posted by ldallen:
I've been using WN gesso for preparing masonite panels and I get a nice smooth finish with it. But I want to use the good old fashioned gesso (marbel dust, hide glue and white pigment?) but can't seem to find it. Does anyone have any suggestions about this? Or thoughts?

Hello Les,
Bri the panel man is the expert on the real thing! I am sure he will jump in. You are going to have to make it. I just completed 24 panels from a 4X8 sheet of Duron last month. What a trip that was! There is a labor envolved but well worth your effort with the final results. It is the first time I painted on this type of grounds. Each panel I believe had 4 to 6 coats of gesso. The nice thing about the real thing you can leave it as textured or as smooth as you desire. One panel I finished out to the smoothness of a formica top. Others I left with more tooth. It is incredible beautiful stuff to paint on. Within the past couple of years I have put much more effort in what I choose for my supports rather in just accepting what is commercially sold in art supply outlets. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL



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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

JeffG
05-28-2001, 10:48 PM
Les, the main selling point of "real" gesso over Acrylic gesso is, from my opinion, not so much on longevity, but on the absorbancy and "feel". Of course, that's a very personal preference. Personally, I feel that acrylic gesso is just too slippery and I have to agree with those who also fault it for being very abrasive on brushes.

The only pre-made "real" gesso I know of is made by Fredrix: Gesso Ground Dry Mix, in a 2 lbs can. "Contains Crushed marble, titanium white & animal glue". I've found it at Pearl, and I think DanielSmith.Com carries it as well. However, you can also buy the 3 main ingredient components on your own through most major art supply stores. The cooking of the gesso mix & the sanding of the panels is what's time consuming... mixing the 3 components (once you've got them) is trivial.

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Jeff G.

*****
"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot." S. Wright
*****

Curious
05-29-2001, 01:11 AM
Leopoldo,

What is Duron? I've never heard of it.

ldallen
05-29-2001, 08:48 AM
Leo, I finally found Masoniteís Duron! We had it cut into three strips and my husband is cutting it down into panels for me. Iím getting around 20 panels, plus a bunch of small ones that I want to play with for miniatures. I donít want to use it for anything over 14 x 18. Itís very easy to sand the edges, compared to the untempered masonite. Iím pretty much following Robís directions for preparing the panels (sanding, alcohol, etc). It is a lot of work, but I think when all is said and done, it will be worth it. In the particular directions that I printed of Robís, he doesnít say whether to gesso the back and sides. How are you doing it?

Jeff, Iím sitting here with the Pearl Catalog open in front of me and while they talk about "powdered gesso" they donít list the contents of the individual brands. Fredrix sounds like the best bet - now that I know what it is. Iím assuming (and hope) since it already has animal glue in it, itís not necessary to use the rabbit skin glue as the initial application?

Brian???

Curious - look through "search" and youíll find some interesting and informative discussions re: Masonite Duron.


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Les

"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

Leopoldo1
05-29-2001, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by ldallen:
In the particular directions that I printed of Robís, he doesnít say whether to gesso the back and sides. How are you doing it?

Yes Duron is incredible stuff and makes a wonderful support. I do the fronts only, of course the edges incidently get some. To prevent the slight cupping of the panels I make a X pattern on the back.

Other hints that might work for you are: buy a cheap crock pot ($9.95) to keep the solution warm in, not to excced 135 degrees. There is never really any need to sand once you apply all of your coats. Take a damp finely woven cloth(silk would work)make a tight flat bundle and rub briskly. The surface will smooth out and shine as desired. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL


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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

Leopoldo1
05-29-2001, 10:27 AM
Originally posted by Curious:
Leopoldo,

What is Duron? I've never heard of it.

Duron is the trade name given to this hardboard. I prefer it over untempered masonite because of the damage that was endured to the soft edges with the untempered. It is a very durable support and presents a good adhesion to the gesso. Scuff the surface a bit with 320 grit sandpaper to create a tooth and wash lightly with de-natured alcohol and you are ready to go. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL



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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

ldallen
05-29-2001, 01:26 PM
I thought the "X's" on the back was an old wives tale. It seems I just read about that recently, but can't remember where. Taubes?

I've used silk cloth on my miniatures and it works very well.

When you say "crock pot" do you mean a little electric one?

You didn't say what the gesso you are using is?

------------------
Les

"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

[This message has been edited by ldallen (edited May 29, 2001).]

Leopoldo1
05-29-2001, 02:15 PM
Originally posted by ldallen:
When you say "crock pot" do you mean a little electric one?
You didn't say what the gesso you are using is?

Yes, a cheap electric crock pot or a baby bottle warmer, the first being much cheaper than the latter.

It is easy to make fresh and much cheaper than ready mix. Real simple to do.

Recipe: (1) part Rabbit Skin glue to (12) parts water. Let sit to gel overnight. Warm it up the next day, being carefull not to exceed 135F(over that tends to weaken bunny's strength. Slowly add 85% Whiting(calicum carbonate), 10% Titaniun Oxide and 5% Sugar and allow the ingredients to fully saturate themselves overnight before reheating, stirring and applying to panels. If not fully used on your panels it keeps well in sterilized jars kept refrigerated. I've use old food quart jars and place Saran Wrap over the jar mouths to prevent bacteria from old lids contaminating the gesso. Remember hide glue can spoil rather quickly if not stored properly. Also I like to spray a cooled solution of Alum (1 teaspoon Alum to a pint of boiling water)to the finished panels to harden the proteins. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL



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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

Scott Methvin
05-29-2001, 10:13 PM
Originally posted by Leopoldo:
Yes, a cheap electric crock pot or a baby bottle warmer, the first being much cheaper than the latter.

It is easy to make fresh and much cheaper than ready mix. Real simple to do.

Recipe: (1) part Rabbit Skin glue to (12) parts water. Let sit to gel overnight. Warm it up the next day, being carefull not to exceed 135F(over that tends to weaken bunny's strength. Slowly add 85% Whiting(calicum carbonate), 10% Titaniun Oxide and 5% Sugar and allow the ingredients to fully saturate themselves overnight before reheating, stirring and applying to panels. If not fully used on your panels it keeps well in sterilized jars kept refrigerated. I've use old food quart jars and place Saran Wrap over the jar mouths to prevent bacteria from old lids contaminating the gesso. Remember hide glue can spoil rather quickly if not stored properly. Also I like to spray a cooled solution of Alum (1 teaspoon Alum to a pint of boiling water)to the finished panels to harden the proteins. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL



A good recipe. It can be confusing as to how much dry to add. I always use the exact same volume of dry as glue.

For example, 1 cup rabbit glue powder+12 cups water. You have 13 cups of glue now.

Make 13 cups of dry and mix together.
The glue needs to age a bit to get really good. Remember to make a separate ammount of glue for pre sizing before the gesso.

I use 10 cups powdered marble, 2 cups titanium pigment and 1 cup fine powdered sugar. Wetting the dry mix with cheap vodka is a great little secret I learned from Rob Howard. Use about 1 cup, mix the dry into a clay-like mass and gradually introduce it to the warmed glue. It will evaporate after a while. I use 2 large metal bowls. The glue and gesso can be warmed safely in these and the rounded bowl edge is good for low bubbles when applying. Tap water gets around 130o in my house, so it works fine. It stays warm long enough to do most jobs, reheat in the sink or a larger container with hot water in it. I work in the kitchen, when my wife is gone.

Here's the best tip of all. Buy a good Escoda gesso brush from
sinopia.com
It is worth it's price!

I store all the leftovers in the refridgerator in rubbermaid plastic containers. It lasts about 10 days and starts to mold after that.

Good gesso is worth all the effort.
Don't buy Fredricks, It is cheapo and has grit in it (bad)Windsor-Newton is better but $30 if you can find it. The raw materials are cheap and now you know how to make it.

(Looking around for Bri, the panel man...)

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"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

[This message has been edited by Scott Methvin (edited May 29, 2001).]

Pen
05-30-2001, 01:23 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Scott Methvin:
[I store all the leftovers in the refridgerator in rubbermaid plastic containers. It lasts about 10 days and starts to mold after that.

If you mistakenly make up more than you can use in 10 days, can you freeze it?

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Pen

Leopoldo1
05-30-2001, 03:59 PM
Ladies and Gentlemen,

The bottom line is when it shows mold it is better to toss it. I have some in the frig that is going on 40 plus days and just began yesterday to show a bit of mold. You know, why not experiment a little, scrap off the mold and reheat and use or maybe try the freezing method. It could work, it is going to dry anyway(that inhibits the growth of mold to a certain extent)on your panels, unless you live in the tropics where moisture is a problem and then you could spray a little alum on it and wa-la, inhibit the protein growth. It is kind of a pain to make anyway and I know how anxious we all are in just painting. The Art outlets are a testimony, selling like mad to consumers ready to paint on pre-primed supports. As they say "you never know for sure unless you just do it!" Nike reminded us of that, even though I never supported their business tactics once they went over seas, but that solgan is a killer! http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

Scott Methvin
05-30-2001, 09:26 PM
I did have some bunny rabbit glue that had mold on it. It also had a layer of water, which isn't normal. But I wanted to size a canvas, so I washed all the mold off with hot water. The whole weak top layer was washed away. I used it, and it worked like a champ.
Freezing, I don't know...

------------------
"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

Leopoldo1
05-30-2001, 10:20 PM
Originally posted by Scott Methvin:
But I wanted to size a canvas, so I washed all the mold off with hot water......


Senior Table did I hear your right? Gesso on a canvas support! Or did you mean a panel?
http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

JeffG
05-30-2001, 11:00 PM
Originally posted by Leopoldo:
Senior Table did I hear your right? ...


Nope, I heard that he used Glue, not Gesso, to merely size a canvas. I'll assume he did an oil ground over the sizing.

That does bring up a good point... like you, Leopoldo, I assumed you should never gesso a stretched canvas. However, on the directions of my old Fredrix mix, while it says "This mix recommended for use on rigid substrates.", it also has directions for applying to canvas. This requires mixing 4 parts of the gesso mix with 1 part linseed oil. Anyone ever use "real" gesso on a stretched canvas?

Re: freezing... I can't see where that'd be a good idea, since you'd have to thaw it AND heat it some to apply. Freezing is known to rupture delicate cellular structures, which is why frozen foods go bad quickly if they are thawed, heated, and then stored in a fridge again. I'd worry the glue would be compromised.

Re: Les's earlier question on whether she'd need to apply bunny glue to a panel along with Fredrix mix.... the Fredrix instructions say "For best results first apply a thin coat of glue sizing." My 7 year old panels which just have the Fredrix gesso haven't flaked away yet, but what can I say.... YMMV. Use it with some glue if you wanna be safe.

------------------
Jeff G.

*****
"There's a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore like an idiot." S. Wright
*****

Leopoldo1
05-30-2001, 11:33 PM
JeffG, you are right. I read Senor Mesas post too quickly and consequently I didn't hear it right. Just bunny, no gesso mix. Thanks for pointing that out. I am assuming that Fredrix is saying that it is ok on canvas supports with the addition of linseed oil, the oil aiding in flexibility. That still worries me though. I prefer to put a very diluted bunny glue size on first for better penetration into the weave and then come back with a additional coat of regular strength glue and then prime with lead. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

[This message has been edited by Leopoldo (edited May 30, 2001).]

Scott Methvin
05-31-2001, 12:26 AM
If you mistakenly make up more than you can use in 10 days, can you freeze it?

[/B][/QUOTE]

Good question. I don't know.
I have never tried it.

I would not think it would be worth the risk, personally. Better to start over with a new batch and feel good about it.



------------------
"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

Scott Methvin
05-31-2001, 01:20 AM
Good, I agree with both of you!

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"The patience of ants and the industry of saints."

Linda Ciallelo
06-03-2001, 06:35 PM
I have masonite panels that are coated with bunny glue gesso. Will I need to coat them with bunny glue before I apply a coating of lead primer?
And, I have canvas that has acrylic gesso on it, can I put bunny glue on the back of the canvas and the prime it with lead primer, and paint on the "back" of this canvas? (I would have to "stretch" it "backwords" before starting)

bri
06-03-2001, 07:27 PM
Originally posted by Linda Ciallelo:
I have masonite panels that are coated with bunny glue gesso. Will I need to coat them with bunny glue before I apply a coating of lead primer?

*************************************

Linda,

I'd say no. Applying the lead primer to the rabbitskin glue gesso panel is much like painting with oil paint on the same which is cool. Whether or not that bunny glue did any good then is debatable. If you have a mirror shine on the RSG gesso then at least it serves to reflect.

******************************************

And, I have canvas that has acrylic gesso on it, can I put bunny glue on the back of the canvas and the prime it with lead primer, and paint on the "back" of this canvas? (I would have to "stretch" it "backwords" before starting)

*************************************

I'll say yes to that. If the polymer gesso layer is not glooped on the canvas, you might even try roughing that side up and laying the lead atop that. If it were me and that was the only canvas that I had laying around I'd probably rip it off and restretch it but I always feel better starting fresh. I have been experimenting with doing some paintings on 8 x 10" Fredrix acrylic-primed canvas. I've scuffed it a bit with sandpaper, the proceeded to paint on it with oils and have used a good bit of lead in the first coats as the backgrounds have been just off-whites. Everything's going nice and I actually like those smaller canv....canvii?

The best is getting some really nasty, gnarly, knotty, rough fabric and painting strong simple pieces on them....'kin' fun! like, say a 8 x 12" and no smaller than 1/2" brush.



---bri

Leopoldo1
06-03-2001, 07:56 PM
Originally posted by Linda Ciallelo:
I have canvas that has acrylic gesso on it, can I put bunny glue on the back of the canvas and the prime it with lead primer, and paint on the "back" of this canvas? (I would have to "stretch" it "backwords" before starting)

Linda I did precisely that with this one painting below. I wanted to leave exposed linen as experiment so I stretched the already primed canvas in reverse, bunny glued it twice and then knifed on lead in the areas I wanted to paint, leaving some areas transparent to the linen below the glue. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL

<IMG SRC="http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/03-Jun-2001/nudedone.jpg" border=0>



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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

bri
06-04-2001, 12:14 AM
Hi Les,

Just got your email and this...

....sorry I'm so late....email me anytime in next month or so if you still need any words from my perspective......may be sans-'puter here soon... slap that stuff on and paint! I started really getting quck and to the point with my gessoing and found that a 2" synthetic PURDY can just be used to trowel the stuff on quick and using figure eight strokes but brush only makin g contact in form of X in middle of eight I can more easily conquer the larger panels. Slappy-sloppy style, build up plenty then I can sand the hell out of it when the time comes if needed.

maybe more later...email me anytime....

---bri

*********just remember, after all the ingredients are mixed and have been warmed and gelled two or three times in two days or so, the gesso assumes a quality even beyond what the first day held...qualities that link gesso to unknown erogenous zones. It's just plain sweet stuff and it's not that complicated. I set out to find a system that worked for me. I didn't want to spend the majority or the rest of my days researching hardboards or making king of all gessos. After making the gesso a couple times you get the hang of it and no big deal as far as procedure. BIG DEAL as far as result, but no big mystery or alchemy.

......blah blah blah

ldallen
06-04-2001, 09:03 AM
Hi Bri - thanks for the info. I've been using a knife to spread the gesso, but I think I made it too smooth. It made it a lot easier to apply but it does seem a bit slick. Jeff, you're right about that. I should have gone over it with a bristle brush. I'll try putting another coat on.

Got a note from Rob yesterday. They're working on adding a dry gesso to their catalog that you only have to ad water to. Should be available in a few weeks. Sounds like the least complicated way to go (and yes I know easiest way is not always the best way - but until I become famous ....). Rob's standards are so high that I have no doubt it will be a good product.

Leo - I'd say that was a successful experiment. The effects of the background are tremendous.



------------------
Les

"It takes two people to do a painting - one to do the painting - the other to kill him before he ruins it!! (source unknown)

Linda Ciallelo
06-04-2001, 11:41 AM
Leopoldo, great painting. I like the unusual flesh color, and I noticed the canvas in the back that is visible with just bunny glue.
I have the Velasquez book and in it , it is apparent from reading the text and looking at the xrays of his paintings, that he would use a pallette knife to apply lead primer under his paintings. BUT.... it is very apparent that he would apply the lead primer in a very random way. Often times in large arcs across the canvas, leaving large areas of canvas bare. The texture of his paintings is very rough, even though he used the paint very thin. It looks as if he just skimmed the paint over the top of this rough surface. It's definitely worth trying.
I have been using rabbit skin glue gesso made by Fredrix, that comes as a powder, that you add water to. I used the same thing many years ago for eggtempera, but it was made by Grumbacher. I bought this at Daniel Smith's on line cataloque. It arrived four days after I ordered it. I live in NY and Daniel Smith is located on the west coast.
If Rob carries it , I will buy it from him. But I am very pleased with it. I put three coats on a masonite board and sanded the last coat with my little cordless sander. It leaves a little bit of a texture which I find pleasing. When you apply the gesso do it first horizontally , then vertically, then horizontally. It will leave a weave like appearance , even after you have sanded it. After that I rubbed in a coat of yellow ochre, a little black, and a little lead white. The paint filled the indentations in the texture and accentuated it further. It seems to be a pleasing surface to paint on.

Leopoldo1
06-04-2001, 09:30 PM
Originally posted by Linda Ciallelo:
It leaves a little bit of a texture which I find pleasing.The paint filled the indentations in the texture and accentuated it further. It seems to be a pleasing surface to paint on.

Arte....., I am also exploring with texture in my grounds, it can leave some pleasing results. I know Bri the Panel Man has been exploring as well. I thought of layering some material on the wet gesso and then remove to leave its imprint. Lace would work or anything with a interesting pattern. Gesso can afford one to experiment with this impasto surface to paint on as opposed to lead which has different handling qualities that dry slowly and obviously can be dangerous to work with if sanding is necessary. Tradional gesso is a interesting surface that I find has many possiblities. http://www.wetcanvas.com/ubb/redface.gifL



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"Art is ever changing. I too find myself in that momentum of change, exploring my successes and failures. Rather remaining stagnant and uninspired, I am complelled to continue to re-invent myself."....L

bri
06-05-2001, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by Leopoldo:
Bri the Panel Man

****************************************

How did this happen???!!!???

Is this an open panel discussion?

I have also been making some steel scrapers for not only smoothing gesso but woodwork as well. It's something I havent done in a while and sometimes I forget how ultra-smooth you can get a piece of wood with a scraper. It's like a mirror almost without even applying a finish. The wood can actually reflect colors prior to finishing! When it comes to gesso and priming now, smooth is the furthest thing from my mind.

I'm all about steel and stone and dirt. Dirt. It just so happens the steel today is a shovel, the stone is flagstone and stone dust, and the dirt is under my nails. If you have to try to elevate or ennoble work in your head, you've already lost.

---bri

Linda Ciallelo
06-05-2001, 06:04 PM
Leopoldo, I have been thinking about what you said about putting things in the wet gesso and thought of a few. I thought maybe linen, or cheese cloth, or a fine window screen. Actually what we are working with now is the imprint of the brush. Even a fine nylon mesh would work. Very intriguing possibilities here. Linen would produce a backwards weave. I don't think that it would be good. I also am toying with the idea that I might try some of the new watercolor papers. I am curious about the texture that they are calling "soft". I don't know what it would be like after I put two coats of bunny glue on it. Might be very interesting.
Part of the reason that Velasquez's lead primer was so good is because you could see the weave of his roughly woven linen through the primer.

[This message has been edited by Linda Ciallelo (edited June 05, 2001).]