View Full Version : medium instead of gesso?

09-09-2006, 01:45 AM
I did an experiment. I primed my stretched paper with acrylic gloss medium instead of gesso (which I usually use). It was pretty slippery when I started painting over it, but I thought it would be ok, because you're supposed to be able to glaze a million layers with gloss medium, right? And it's all the same chemically, so I assumed that all the layers would sort of meld into one. Then I thought, "Maybe I should ask..."

So I searched this forum yesterday for discussions of using acrylic medium instead of gesso to prime paper, and came up empty. Golden's website, on the other hand, says you can use matte medium instead of gesso because it will provide enough tooth. Does this mean that gloss medium will not provide enough tooth, and my paint will start flaking off next week, month, or year? What about all those glazing layers? Does anyone know about this?


Lady Carol
09-09-2006, 08:51 AM
Heidi, it won't flake off. The tooth gives texture to the painting. Some like that. Personally I don't. But still I gesso my canvases to remove the tooth from the weave and then paint with glazes and other layers. They turn out pretty smooth at the end of the day. I haven't lost a layer yet to age. I don't think you need to worry about your unconventional priming of the paper. Hey if you like the effect, then keep at it. If not, keep experimenting.

09-09-2006, 12:23 PM
You should be fine - it's just a more slick surface to work over, which is okay. I find it a bit annoying to work over but that's just because of my method not the medium being insufficient. (I like the bit of tooth.) My main comment would be 'why'? Since gesso is generally much cheaper than medium. If it's just to get the colour of paper coming through or something then I can understand that. I have bought clear gesso in the past, but it was probably comparable in price to medium since it's a 'special' gesso.


09-13-2006, 06:38 AM
Carol and Tina, thank you for your replies. The reason is that I'm running out of gesso, and I thought of this short term solution until I can get some more. But I think I might like working on the really smooth surface. I have to play with it some more.