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An Artist’s Guide to Gesso Primers

Art Tree Creations is a leading supplier of primers in Australia. Whether you’re new to this crafty essential or you’re looking to kick your creative game up a notch, we have everything you need to move your look from ‘just finished’ to ‘absolutely flawless’. 

What is Atelier Gesso Liquid Primer Used For?

Preparing your surface before you begin is crucial to ensure your finished piece can be enjoyed for years to come.

If you’re looking for a smooth surface and flawless finish, we recommend Liquid Primer. With a more diluted consistency than traditional primers on the market, this product allows the paint to stick to the surface, allowing a lengthier working time whilst preserving the quality after everything has dried. For a more matte surface finish, we recommend Pebeo Artist Acrylics, which is transparent and quick drying.

Is Priming Really Necessary?

If you want your finished work to look flawless, without bubbles and raised canvas grains, then this process is absolutely necessary.

Priming creates a more absorbent surface by permeating the base layer and drying it first, smoothing out any uneven areas or inconsistencies before you get to work with the brush. We always recommend doing this, especially if you’re working with wood, canvas or other porous materials.

Suitable Materials for Priming

We understand that while canvas and wood are typically used, there is a whole world of other unique materials out there that our customers love to create with.

For this reason, we’ve put a list together that outlines materials suitable for use with transparent artist gesso:

  • Wood
  • Stone
  • Clay
  • Plastic
  • Fabric
  • Glass
  • Canvas
  • Burlap
  • Metal
  • Vinyl

In regard to different mediums, we recommend using gesso with marker pens, acrylics, inks, distress and spray paints.

Is Gesso the same as Diluted Glue?

No. These two have different properties and are used for different things – although they do support increased adhesivity.

Gesso is dissimilar to glue in the way it contains an opaque, milky colour, while glue is clear. Whilst you can still use it to stick the paper to other substrates, the colour will remain and won’t dry transparently as glue does.

Is Liquid White the Same?

In the same way as glue, gesso is also dissimilar to liquid white. Made famous by artists like Bob Ross, liquid white is a wet aid that supports oil painting on dampened canvas. This allows easier blending of colours to create dreamy, blended scenes. Imagine painting over a thin white layer – the sleekness is increased and the ability to blend becomes easier.

Gesso, on the other hand, has an acrylic base, which needs to be totally dry first. Using this whilst wet will mix into your wet colours and lighten them since it’s slightly cloudy-white in colour.