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Product Review: Liquitex Surface Prep Gesso

September 2, 2011

I have been using this product for a while, and I have to say that it wins out as my favorite gesso to date.  It has some excellent features:

  • A little goes a long way.  I have gotten a lot of use out of each bottle.
  • Wonderfully white, solid and opaque.  There is no washy or watery characteristics.
  • It is sticky, sticky, sticky.  It sticks to your surface so your paint sticks to the gesso.  It is kind of hard to wash off of your hands.

I have used Liquitex Surface Prep Gesso to smooth the tooth on pre-made, gesso sealed canvas surfaces; more gesso layers makes the canvas smoother.  This involved multiple coats and sanding between; if you want a smoother surface it would be easier to gesso wood panel [sanding between coats] or buy a smooth surface, ready-to-use pre-primed Masonite / art board panel.

I mainly use this gesso as a good way to recycle scrap wood as painting surfaces.  I like to use GOLDEN GAC-100 acrylic medium in one or two coats then at least two coats of the Liquitex, to seal wood or wood panel.  I mostly use these to paint in oils, but you can use any paint that you want to or mixed media.  You can use the gesso alone; I like the extra step of sealing the wood with GAC-100 before using the gesso, which may seal oils in the wood preventing them from causing discoloration.  If you have a handy source of wood scraps, a bottle of this gesso will give you an ongoing source of painting surfaces.  I loaded up on wood scraps from the discards in a recycle bin for my college wood shop, which was usually pretty full at the end of each class semester.  I use a 2” wide hardware store house painting brush with very fine synthetic bristles to apply the gesso. This gesso also washes out very well; clean up right after use.

I found a useful description online for this gesso. 

“This surface protector seals; stiffens and provides surface ‘tooth’ for painting surfaces. It is permanent; non- yellowing; flexible; and water resistant when dry. For use with oil; acrylic; pastels; and other paint media. Apply it to raw canvas; hardboard; paper; wood; and other non-oily porous surfaces. Sand hard; shiny surfaces before applying. Can be tinted with acrylic colors but is not to be mixed with oil paints.” [source]

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