View Full Version : Gesso question...

09-10-2006, 03:15 PM
What's your favorite brand of gesso? I've been watching Jerry Yarnell on PBS and visiting his website and I noticed that he uses Grumbacher Artist Acrylic Medium Gesso a lot. He likes it because it's thick and smooth. But Dick Blick doesn't seem to sell this brand of gesso. Is there that much difference between the brands? Which other brand(s) would be comparable to Grumbacher?

09-10-2006, 03:47 PM
I haven't found much difference in brands. I tend to go with the cheapest.

09-10-2006, 04:45 PM
I tend to buy 'Winsor & Newton' i have bought chesper brands also...Grumbacher Artist Acrylic Medium Gesso i have never used...but if i see it in future i'll give it a try...

chammi kaiser
09-10-2006, 05:35 PM
I use Lucas - it is nice and thick and covers well. Chammi.

09-10-2006, 06:56 PM
I buy whatever's reasonably priced. Been using Vallejo (I think that's the brand) from Jackson's lately. Tri Art is nice too. (and they do a nice neutral cream type colour too if you don't fancy white.)


09-10-2006, 10:27 PM
Is there that much difference between the brands?
Yes, there can be quite a difference between different brands of acrylic 'gesso'.

Which other brand(s) would be comparable to Grumbacher?
That's hard to say without actually having compared them directly but Golden's, Liquitex's, W&N's, D-R's and most of the other top brands' versions should all be good quality.

What's your favorite brand of gesso?
I don't have a favourite since I use what I have :) but I'm currently using Lefranc & Bourgeois, after many years of using Daler-Rowney, which I bought because it was on sale.


09-10-2006, 10:42 PM
I use an economy gesso by Tri-C, it feels almost like house paint and goes on nice and smooth with a slight chalky feel when dry

09-11-2006, 12:07 AM
I read on Golden's website that inferior gesso will have insufficient amounts of acrylic polymer (medium), which can lead to cracking. So I guess it does matter.

09-19-2006, 11:21 PM
Or perhaps is all propaganda.....


09-20-2006, 10:04 AM
i guess each company is going to say that theirs is the best. i was using Daler-Rowney but that was because my mom gave it to me. i liked it ok but i've never used anything different to compare it to. i only have a small amount left so i just bought some liquitex (from dickblick) but i haven't tried it yet. i hope to soon tho.

09-26-2006, 09:21 AM
In case this is of any potential interest to someone else I thought I'd add this here.

There are two ways I can think of to thicken a runny acrylic 'gesso'. The first is to add in additional powder components - more 'filler' primarily, as well as more titanium dioxide perhaps (this would help with opacity if it drops too much just using marble dust or similar). The second is to thicken the paint with a chemical thickener, which act by binding the long chains of acrylic polymers together, which form a network and thicken the solution, much like egg proteins do in custard when heated gently as it's being made.

I'm honestly not sure which method would be best to try if you want to go very thick. It's difficult to incorporate dry ingredients into made-up paint and make it stable anyway, plus you'd have to add in significant amounts which compounds the problem, however I don't know that the artificially-thickened version will exactly match the texture of a very thick commercial variety.

The easiest two thickeners to find are likely to be those offered by Golden and Liquitex. Golden make two, Liquid Thickener, Short Rheology is the one to use here; Liquitex's version is Liquithick. You can get generic equivalents from some of the speciality online artists' suppliers, one I've seen was a great deal cheaper than either of the two brand-name types as you'd expect but I can't remember where it was I'm afraid. If you're interested in this as an option you should be able to find a source using Google.

Here's how I think you'd go about this with any larger volumes: pour the 'gesso' into a large container, add a solution of the thickener in controlled amounts (drop by drop) or sift the filler/pigment into it a little at a time, while stirring/mixing well, preferably using something powered like a drill-mounted stirrer or kitchen mixer.


John H
09-26-2006, 04:28 PM
I paint with gesso instead of titanium white paint. I use Liquitex because it comes in pop-top squeeze bottles and you can squeeze it out onto your palette just like your other paints - you don't have to dip into it as you would if it came in a wide mouth jar.