View Full Version : Beginner Gesso Help Needed

07-14-2008, 06:11 AM
I'm new here, and, after living in Appalachia, took up my interpretation of "Primitive" painting, which amounts to bad abstract expressionism, but I digress . . .

I just started painting with Liquitex. I usually paint in oils, but started doing some paintings in acrylic so that I could paint inside without bothering others with the smell.

I am working on a painting with a stencil. I use the Fredrix archival Hardboard/Belgian Linen panels because I tend to paint impasto a lot. I acidentally took some of the gesso off of an unpainted part of the panel when I was scubbing off excess paint from a stencil edge with rubbing alcohol. I bought some gesso, and applied it over the exposed area. Thereafter, I sanded the gesso with a fine grade paper; however, I'm having a difficult time getting the surface even. I can't get rid of the knife strokes. What do I need to do to create an even, flat gesso surface over which to paint?

Thank you in advance.

07-14-2008, 06:40 AM
Welcome to WetCanvas!
How fine was your sandpaper that you used?
If it were me I would first of all use a coarser sandpaper (VERY carefully) to get rid of the knife strokes and then use finer and finer sandpaper until you get the surface you want. It works, I know because I have done that, but you do have to be very careful with the coarser sandpaper, so you don't end up with a hole!

07-14-2008, 06:42 AM
you might try applying the gesso with a knife, if not thick enough make a paste with marble dust and gesso, but, just enough to thicken it a bit. Another option might be to use some molding or modeling paste then a gesso layer, carefully and lightly sanding to blend in edges.

Another option would be to let the paint layer, if painting impasto, to fill the marks which it should do unless they are more like gouges instead of knife marks.

Just a thought.

07-16-2008, 05:49 PM
Thank you for all of the valuable responses thus far.

I am using 500 grade sandpaper in mostly a circular motion. My surface is slowly becoming smooth and shiny, but there are still pesky textures where the knife marks were (sort of looks like "brain matter" squiggles, rather than a flat, untextured surface).

What grade sanpaper should I be using? Are there any techniques for sanding which would result in a smoother surface?

07-16-2008, 08:48 PM
Have you tried the end of a very fine emery board?