View Full Version : Can you paint watercolor on Gesso?

02-20-2000, 12:02 AM
I have a stack of MDF boards I would like to use for watercolors ,can anyone advise me if I can use them by coating with gesso or is it only suitable for oils?

Be True to Yourself !
from Sue in Oz.

Drew Davis
02-20-2000, 09:41 AM
Yes; watercolor sticks to acrylic gesso. Some people like to make it a smooth surface, sort of ultra hot press. Other people like the ability to texture the gesso before painting it. Either way can get you to more extremes than paper alone.

You'll probably still need to frame under glass to protect the paint against humidity and dust.

02-20-2000, 04:23 PM
I've painted watercolor on gessoed wood and the watercolor very very easily lifts. I sealed mine with an acrylic varnish to protect the surface. It is not framed under glass and hangs out doors on a covered patio. Has been hanging for over a year and still looks good.

02-21-2000, 03:49 AM
Thanks for the replies ,I will try both smooth and textured as I have a sixty pound bag of marble dust to use up too ...its inert and will mix in well ...I know you can use it under oils .I live remote and cannot always get paper when I need it (or afford large supplies!)

02-21-2000, 02:21 PM
Just one thing...Gesso creates a sealed surface so you won't get quite the same reactions as you would with watercolor on paper. I have used acrylics like watercolors over gessoed surfaces and this works great.
But then again..acrylics do not react quite like watercolors either.

02-23-2000, 10:02 PM
I have used watercolor over gesso - with good results usually. You will still need to be sure your painting doesn't touch the glass however - with either mats or spacers of acid free material.