When I use acrylics (mostly on paper or board) I do a base coat of white with a hint of colour and haven't used gesso.

Should I be using gesso , there seems to be mixed opinion about this generally.

I would appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks, Sue

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Usually not on paper. I am not quiet sure what you mean with board, though. Translation problem :-).

The Art instructor at the college primed the Masonite board... with house paint-- front and back to avoid warping.

I started applying gesso to my watercolor paper that I wanted to reuse from unsuccessful painting.  Then I can use acrylic over the gesso..... or heavy watercolor or even oil.

Then I started priming my Masonite board with house primer or paint....... let dry for days....... applied some gesso on some......dried for days...

It appears the ones with gesso... as I paint and repaint applying glaze (layers of thin paint) it appears some of the layers are lifting up.....

So now I must figure this out....... is the gesso lifting off with the thin water acrylic glaze.

I don't know if my gesso is acrylic....... it stated with acrylics one should be using acrylic gesso.

I looked up gesso today..... listed gesso  to be used with tempera paint or oils......

So now I wonder if I am doing the wrong thing...... placing gesso over the acrylic primer, then gypsum gesso, then acrylic....... wrong combination.  That is why lifting off... or if too wet. ... such as with glaze........ it lifts off?



If your using paper or paper board no you don't need the gesso. But on board, such as masonite or wood then I would recommend it. Gesso seals the support and lends tooth for you paint to adhere to. I paint on 100% cotton board so no need for the gesso but on the wood boards I use a coat of GAC, then I paint several coats of gesso, wet sanding lightly between each coat. Be sure to let each coat dry completely before sanding. You want to use acrylic gesso with acrylic and oil base with oils. I hope that this helps. 


You don't need gesso on paper. If you use canvas, you definitely do. It keeps your paint from soaking through the canvas and keeps the paint sticking to the canvas. I solve that problem by purchasing only already gesso'ed and stretched canvasses. It's pricier, but very convenient.

Thank you for your replies :)

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