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Old 06-18-2008, 01:26 PM
Joetta Joetta is offline
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Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

Hi, have lots of old paintings I don't care much for anymore. I learned on them, not much good for anything now and could be better put to use by re-using. Was going to restretch with new canvas, but thought it would be easier to gesso over the old painting and start with a white canvas again. Some texture comes through, but no biggie as most of my paintings are very painterly and often painted with a palette knife, anyway.

Worried about peeling or some other awful thing I don't want to find out the hard way. Anyone knof if this can be done?
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Old 06-18-2008, 02:01 PM
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snoball snoball is offline
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

Hi Joetta,
I know some people do this but if I were you I would only use canvases gessoed over oil for practice work. I'm afraid they wouldn't be archival at all and possibly the new paint would lift after a time. Even so I would sand the dried oil well before adding the gesso. If you are wanting to re-use them for better paintings you might want to sand them well and then give them a coat of titanium white or unbleached titanium in oil color. Why not post your query over in the oils forum and see if you can get some feedback there?
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Old 06-19-2008, 02:59 AM
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

I was curious so I did some looking online.

A few people recommended sanding before using gesso, and said you can use a power sander, but you have to be careful you don't destroy the canvas.


Several people recommended removing the old painting by spraying it with oven cleaner:
After approximately 20 minutes remove the oven cleaner with paper towels. Then go over it with dampened paper towels. After the canvas is dry coat it with white gesso.


Others recommended using using turpentine or paint thinner:
Do this outside away from any sources of flame, EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE FUMES.
Either fill a spray bottle with turpentine/paint thinner, or use an old brush. Lay the canvas flat and cover the paint heavily with the thinner. -If doing more than one canvas stack them criss cross.
Cover loosely with plastic.
After most of the thinner is absorbed, reapply until the paint gets soft enough to wipe off with a cloth.
You can scrape the paint off using a putty knife or wipe it off with many rags.
Dry the rags (if used) outdoors and then dispose of them. Do not throw them away wet, as they might spontaneously combust.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:19 PM
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

Finished reading this thread and an idea popped into my head. Rather than all that mess and bother, undo the staples, flip it over and restretch. Presto! Brand new canvas to gesso. And it's impervious to water on the back side as well.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:38 PM
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

Hi,

Well, you'll always have to sand lightly to get a better adhesion.
But you should not use acrylic primer (I don't like saying gesso).
Paint with a foundation white or titanium as mentioned before.
Or a lead based white that you may have (it goes without saying that lead is toxic).
I guess that you could use an oil based primer, but I'm not sure.

Kind regards,

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Old 06-27-2008, 09:29 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by id-art
Finished reading this thread and an idea popped into my head. Rather than all that mess and bother, undo the staples, flip it over and restretch. Presto! Brand new canvas to gesso. And it's impervious to water on the back side as well.
It is a good idea and I'll try it one day.

So far I have not stretched my own canvas. I am all right with the stapling, in a proper sequence. For stretching, perhaps I'd need to get myself a canvas stretching pliers.
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Last edited by Merlion : 06-27-2008 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:33 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dropkick
A few people recommended sanding before using gesso, and said you can use a power sander, but you have to be careful you don't destroy the canvas.
I understanding sanding is necessary over the old painting to get it smooth. But I think manual sanding, not power sanding.

By the way, shouldn't this thread come under 'Oil Painting', and not 'Cafe Guerbois'.
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Last edited by Merlion : 06-27-2008 at 09:44 PM.
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Old 06-30-2008, 08:49 AM
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Finnegan18 Finnegan18 is offline
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Re: Can you gesso over old dried oil painting?

One of the members of the art gallery that I am a member of just loves to paint over old oil paintings. He paints directly on them - even lets parts of them poke through. Hey, he swears by it.
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