Thread: Gesso problems
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Old 16-11-17, 02:31 AM
Chris Chris is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 4
Default Gesso problems

I've been learning about and practicing egg tempera for a little more than a year. I have a background in antique restoration and really enjoy the "craft" of egg tempera. Ive also always done detailed and rather elaborate ink drawings. So, the linear quality and opportunity for subtlety in egg tempera made it seem like the perfect medium for me. The area I'm trying to improve in right now is color. Trying to "arrive" at the right color after several layers. And also, keeping that delicate look of the first few initial layers after many layers. I somewhat ruined a painting of flowers by trying to get the right color. The petals after one or two layers were delicate and soft. After a few more layers, in an attempt to get the right color, they looked stiff and artificial.
So, my main reason for posting is a problem I had after making my own gessoed panel. I used gamblin gesso to gesso my panel and was careful to keep the temperature low. It looked really good after 6 coats. After a few days of drying, I decided to use a cabinet scraper instead of sandpaper, like I had done in the past, to level the surface. When I was done it looked great but maybe it was slightly shinier than normal. Then I tried to perfect it a bit more with my slightly damp fingers. It had a definite shine to it after that and almost looks a little yellow. I tried painting on it, but its too slick.
So, was it the scraper, the polishing with my fingers, a bad batch of gesso or maybe a combination? I really liked the way it came out after the cabinet scraper, so I'm hoping its not that. Maybe a different recipe of gesso would be more receptive to being scraped?
Thanks for any insight into my dilemna.

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