07-13-2011, 11:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
7/13/11 Product Info's Tip of the Week: Encaustic Gesso
Encaustic painting has become a hot topic of painting mediums lately. It unifies 2D and 3D art as well as incorporating found items for collage effects into the imagery. It would seem the possibilities are endless what can be done with them. To get started, you need to work from the ground up. Using the right primers and substrates will have lasting effects on the finished painting.
Call it consumer demand…creative perspective….or simply the need to utilize what materials are on hand, many artists make-shift supplies to work for them, including what ground to use. Acrylic gesso has been a popular alternative ground for encaustics. Due to its flexibility, and acceptance of a number of media, it’s a favorite staple in most studios. The question lies in knowing if it’s the right primer for the job. Simply stated, it’s still debatable. What we can say is that formulas that offer enough solids (those ingredients that give some toothy bite to the texture) seem to fair well as a ground for encaustics. The concern lies in the long term relationship of the two, if they’re compatible for the long haul. To error on the side of caution, we would focus on using gessoes formulated for encaustics, especially if the work is to be sold. Encaustic gesso offer higher proportions of solids to binder, giving them more bite to hold the wax based paints for a long-term union.
Do all substrates need to be primed before painting with encaustics?
Not always. Many toothy surfaces that have enough texture to the surface do not require priming. Surfaces, such as birch plywood, watercolor board, bisque ware, and raw canvas panels, work well as substrates for direct applications. The key is to work with an absorbent, rigid, and heat-resistant surface.
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