Thread: Gesso problems
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Old 26-11-17, 10:41 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Long Island, NY
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Rob and Koo,

Thanks so much for your replies! I think your paintings are beautiful, so to have such experienced painters help me with my dilemma is awesome!

Since reading your post Koo, I sanded a bit of the panel in question with 400 sandpaper and painted on it. The paint did respond much better than it did before. The marks seemed to hold and not lift too easily. I understand the principles of mechanical bonding but always thought of it as something you need for a thicker paint or finish that would soak into the sanding marks and lock onto the substrate better. It does make sense that it would make the gesso more porous and absorbant also. So lesson learned.


As far as the slightly yellowed tone of the panel. There was one other thing i did differently than normal. Instead of using an Ampersand hardboard panel, I used some leftover MDF from Home Depot. When compared to another gessoed Ampersand panel, the HD panel (with about the same number of coats) looks yellowish. Whether this is from SID or from that last bit of wet polishing that redistributed the RSG, I dont know. It was so hard an shiny that I could barely get a pencil to take on it.

It seems like ill be moving in the direction of making my own gesso, starting with a basic recipe like you guys have suggested. I do have one other question that's along the same lines though. Having read a bunch of books on tempera and gesso, what's thw difference between Cennino's slaked plaster of paris recipe and the modern RSG + whiting recioe for gesso? Is there some bonding or chemical advantage to using slaked plaster or does it just act as a whiting. Again, Im just curious and will probably be spending my time improving my painting rather than slaking plaster.

The other thing I brought up was the layering of colors. If i had to guess what I did wrong, i may have painted too thickly or with too much white in my scumbles. I suppose next time ill experiment with the layering of colors on a scrap panel so I can concentrate on my handling instead of forcing the color through.

Thanks again,
Chris
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