Sunday, February 3, 2013

New Canvas - aka - paint vampire

A New Canvas:
  1. Ever have colors on a painting turn dull shortly after drying?
  2. Or the surface is like the sahara desert even though you KNOW you laid on lots of paint?
  3. Do you struggle with a new canvas trying to get enough paint on it? the surface sucks in the paint like a paint-vampire?
WELL... you are not alone! A new canvas or canvas board actually needs 2 or even 3 more layers of gesso with a light sanding inbetween.

WHY gesso a new canvas? From the manufacturer, the canvas is only thinly coated with a gesso leaving much of the nap or roughness of the canvas.

Sometimes the tops of the weave are very thinly coated. When you start painting with your expensive paints, you first must fill the nooks and crannies with paint before it will lay across the surface. You also must lay on enough paint to make up for the absorbency of the thinly gesso'd areas.

Also, when you paint with a thin layer of paint or use thinned paint it will drop down into the nap of the canvas  and fill up the nooks before it lays across the surface and gives you the color and consistency you desire. (moisture and pigment will also be sucked into the dry thirsty canvas)
You have probably seen paintings where the upper nubs of the canvas nap show their white tops through the paint? Unless you want this look, you need to apply more gesso before painting to fill up these gaps before starting your painting.
Even if it appears that you have enough paint on the canvas, as it drys, the paint is slowly drawn into the canvas dulling the color or making it sink into the nap.
Solution: Apply 2 or 3 layers of gesso, dried and sanded between each layer, - or apply as many layers until you have the surface you want.

TIP: stop using your expensive pigments as gesso - prime the canvas before you begin!
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