Monday, November 30, 2009

Priming Part Two

A second day of priming and some good results. I decided to use gesso, first spraying with water to retard drying. I slapped on a lot and used a spreader at first, then when the layer was reasonably even used a sponge roller.

This was slow work. The paint was so thick and wet that the bubbles when rolled were quite large. This, I've discovered, can be fixed by rolling when slightly more dry. I continued to roll until smooth, then dried with a hairdryer. Then I sanded the surface. Winsor and Newton Gesso has a jelly-like consistency and it can be sanded quite well, a good balance between a plastic and hard feel I think, for an acrylic gesso.

After sanding I sprayed again and applied a second coat, this time spreading with the sponge roller. Less paint needed. Then dry, then sand. The result was even although the texture of the canvas remains very visible and there are lots of tiny holes. That can't be helped. This is as good a job as I've done, and from the back when held up to the light there are no blotches or signs of lack of homogenuity.

Good! After that I rechecked the corners with a huge steel L, then traced the underdrawing using a fine embossing scribe. The painting is now ready for paint!

Key lessons:
1. Good light! Checking every bit for evenness while applying each layer.
2. Retarding drying with water spray, then drying with a hairdryer when even.
3. Practise. The lesson that every student hates to hear and loves to ignore.

This is "Now I've Tasted Love There Is No Going Back To A Loveless Life", the second in a series of three big square paintings. It's not a triptych, just three same sized paintings on a theme. I probably won't start painting until next year and should finish by this time next year.

1 comment :

Kathy said...

Thanks for continuing your explanation. This is an important step. We were taught to apply the gesso with a brush, and as few strokes as possible to avoid bubbles. That's one of the problems with using a roller ... especially if you go back and forth then bubbles will form. We would apply the first layer of gesso horizontally, (dry/lightly sand between each layer) the second layer on the diagonal, and the third layer on the vertical axis. The reason for this is because of the source of illumination for the painting after it's finished. Usually, the light hangs above the painting shining down on it. If the last coat of gesso is applied on the vertical, you won't see any accidental ridges. But, I guess if you use a roller you'd never have that problem!