Hey guys, have you ever wondered what to do with an old painting that you’re not too fond of anymore? Maybe it’s outdated, or the colors don’t match the theme you’re going for. Well, fear not! I’ve got just the solution for you – gesso! Yes, you heard that right. You can actually use gesso to cover an old painting and make it look brand new.
If you’re not familiar with gesso, it’s a primer used for preparing surfaces to be painted on, often used in acrylic and oil painting techniques. But did you know you can use it to cover an old painting too? It’s a great way to start fresh on a canvas without having to throw it away or buy a new one. Plus, it’s super fun to experiment with different textures and finishes using different types of gesso.
Using gesso to cover an old painting is a totally doable project, even if you’re not an experienced artist. The best part is, you can tailor it to your own style and preferences. Do you want a smooth surface? Then use a fine-grain gesso. Do you want a more textured, organic finish? Then use a coarse-grain gesso. The possibilities are endless. So go ahead, give it a try and let your inner artist shine!
Gesso as a Painting Primer
Gesso is a primer that can be used on various surfaces, including canvas, wood, paper, and even old paintings. As a painting primer, gesso provides a smooth and consistent surface for your paint to adhere to. Many artists use gesso as a base layer for their paintings to make sure that their paint applies evenly, and to create a better adhesion to the painting surface. Here is what you need to know about using gesso as a painting primer:
- Sealing Old Paintings: Gesso can be used to cover an old painting on a canvas or wooden surface that you want to reuse. However, it’s crucial to note that gesso won’t entirely cover up the previous painting’s texture or marks. Therefore, before you apply gesso to your old painting, make sure you’re satisfied with the texture and marks because they’ll still be visible after gesso is applied.
- Creating a Smooth Surface: If you’re painting on a textured surface like canvas, gesso can help create a smoother surface. A few coats of gesso applied to the surface can fill in any bumps or ridges, providing a more even surface for painting.
- Preventing Absorption: Some painting surfaces, such as raw canvas or wood, absorb paint too quickly, making it difficult to create good effects. Applying gesso to these surfaces seals the surface and prevents it from absorbing too much paint, allowing you to create more layers and better texture.
If you’re using gesso as a primer for your painting, make sure to allow it to dry completely before you start painting. Gesso tends to dry quickly, so it won’t take too long. You can even sand the gessoed surface lightly to make it even smoother before painting.
Gesso is an excellent painting primer that can be used to cover old paintings, create a smooth surface, or prevent absorption of paint on surfaces like canvas or wood. Using gesso as a primer ensures that your painting will have better adhesion and longevity. With many artists using it to create better and more consistent results, gesso is an indispensable tool in a painter’s arsenal.
|Gesso Type||Texture||Dry Time|
|Acrylic Gesso||Smooth||30 minutes|
|Traditional Gesso||Gritty||24 hours|
The type of gesso you use will affect the texture and drying time, so make sure to choose your gesso wisely and read the label for manufacturer recommendations.
Preparing an Old Painting for Reuse
If you have an old painting that you want to reuse, there are certain preparations that you need to make to ensure that the new painting will adhere properly and look its best. Here are some steps that you can take before applying gesso to an old painting:
- Clean the surface: Before applying gesso, make sure that the surface of the old painting is clean and free of dust and debris. Wipe it down with a soft, damp cloth to remove any dirt or grime.
- Remove any loose paint: If there are areas where the paint is flaking or peeling, use a scraper or sandpaper to gently remove the loose paint. Be careful not to damage the surface of the painting in the process.
- Fill in any holes or gaps: If there are any holes or gaps in the surface of the painting, use a filler such as spackle or wood putty to fill them in. Allow the filler to dry completely before sanding it down to a smooth surface.
Types of Gesso to Use
Once you have prepared the old painting, you can apply gesso to create a new surface for your painting. There are different types of gesso that you can use, including:
- Traditional gesso: This is made with rabbit skin glue and marble dust, and is the most traditional form of gesso. It provides a textured surface that is ideal for oil paint.
- Arylic gesso: This is made with acrylic polymer and calcium carbonate, and dries quickly to a smooth, non-textured surface that is ideal for acrylic paint.
Applying Gesso to an Old Painting
When applying gesso to an old painting, it is important to use a smooth, even application to ensure that the surface is consistent. Here are some steps that you can follow:
- First, use a brush to apply a thin layer of gesso to the surface of the painting. Make sure to cover the entire surface and work the gesso into any crevices or textured areas.
- Allow the gesso to dry completely before applying a second coat. Depending on the type of gesso you are using, this may take several hours to overnight.
- Once the first coat is dry, use a sandpaper or sanding block to smooth the surface of the gesso. Be sure to sand evenly and gently to avoid damaging the surface of the painting.
- Apply a second coat of gesso and allow it to dry completely. Once this coat is dry, you can sand it again if needed before applying your new paint.
|Pros of using gesso to cover an old painting:||Cons of using gesso to cover an old painting:|
|Creates a new surface for painting||May not adhere well to all types of surfaces|
|Provides a consistent surface for painting||May not be suitable for all types of paints|
|Can be used to cover up mistakes or old paintings||Requires preparation of the old painting|
Using gesso to cover an old painting can be a great way to create a new surface for your art without having to start from scratch. By following the steps above, you can ensure that your new painting will adhere properly and look its best.
The Pros and Cons of Covering an Old Painting with Gesso
Using gesso to cover an old painting can be an effective solution, but it also comes with its pros and cons. Here we discuss what you need to know before applying gesso on an old painting.
- Improved surface: Gesso can provide a smooth and consistent surface on top of a previous painting. This can be especially useful if the previous painting had an uneven surface. Gesso can also provide a better surface for a new painting, ensuring that the colours look as intended and not impacted by the previous work.
- Hides previous paint: Gesso is an opaque white paint that can cover up any previous paint work making the canvas blank once again. This can be helpful if you no longer want the old painting to be visible, or if it doesn’t align with your vision.
- Adhesion: Gesso creates a surface that is more adhesive than an unprepared canvas. This can be helpful if you plan to work with a medium that has a tendency to slip on an unprimed surface, such as oil paints.
- Destruction of previous art: Applying gesso over a painting will permanently destroy the previous artwork. This means that any historical or sentimental value in the previous painting will be lost. You should also keep in mind the age of the painting, as older pieces may need conservation rather than re-purposing.
- Irreversibility: Once gesso has been applied and is dry, it cannot be removed without stripping the entire canvas back to the original fabric. Think carefully about whether you want to cover the artwork or not before proceeding with gesso.
- Can damage the canvas: Applying too many layers of gesso, or applying it to a canvas that is not strong enough to support the weight of the paint can create cracks or flakes in the paint layers and may eventually damage the fabric of the canvas itself.
Considerations before covering an old painting with gesso
When considering whether to cover an old painting with gesso, it is important to keep in mind the following:
- The value and importance of the previous painting – both to you and potentially to others, such as collectors of artist’s work.
- The condition of the canvas, as weak or brittle canvases may not be able to support the weight of a gesso layer.
- The desired result of applying gesso – is it worthwhile in terms of your final vision?
Gesso on specific surfaces
Gesso is commonly used on canvas, but it can also be used on a variety of other surfaces such as paper, wood, MDF, and metal. However, the type and number of layers of gesso required may vary based on the surface. Below is a table outlining some of the common surfaces and their gesso application preferences:
|Canvas||2-4 layers of gesso|
|Paper||1-2 layers of gesso|
|Wood||2-3 layers of gesso|
|MDF||2-3 layers of gesso|
|Metal||2-3 layers of gesso|
It is always advisable to do a small test patch before applying gesso to a large area of any surface.
How Many Layers of Gesso Do You Need?
When it comes to covering an old painting with gesso, the number of layers required largely depends on the condition of the painting and the desired end result. Here are some factors to consider when deciding how many layers of gesso you should apply:
- The condition of the old painting: If the old painting has a lot of texture or cracks, you may need to apply more layers of gesso to smooth it out and create a new surface.
- The color of the old painting: If the old painting has a dark or vibrant color, you may need to apply more layers to fully cover it up and create a white surface that’s suitable for a new painting.
- The desired level of texture: If you want to create a highly textured surface, you may need to apply more layers of gesso to build up the surface and create more depth and dimension.
Generally speaking, most artists will apply between 2-4 layers of gesso to cover an old painting. This should be enough to create a smooth, even surface that’s suitable for a new painting. However, you may need to apply more layers if you have a particularly textured or colorful old painting, or if you want to create a highly textured surface.
Here is a table summarizing some typical approaches to using gesso on an old painting, based on the factors mentioned above:
|Condition of Old Painting||Color of Old Painting||Desired Texture||Number of Gesso Layers|
|Very Textured/Cracked||Very Dark/Vibrant||High||4+|
Remember, the number of layers of gesso you apply is just one factor in creating a successful new painting. It’s important to consider other factors like the quality of your materials and your technique as well. With careful attention to detail, you can create a beautiful new painting on top of an old one with the help of gesso.
Other Uses for Gesso in Art Projects
You might think that the only use for gesso is to prepare a canvas for painting, but this versatile art supply can actually be used for a variety of purposes. Here are just a few examples.
- Creating texture: Gesso can be mixed with other materials such as sand, sawdust, or modeling paste to create a textured surface on your canvas or other substrate. This can add visual interest to your artwork and give it a three-dimensional quality.
- Masking mistakes: Made a mistake in your painting? Gesso can serve as a white-out for small errors. Simply paint over the mistake with gesso and start again.
- Making a tinted ground: A tinted ground can add depth and atmosphere to your painting. Mix gesso with a small amount of pigment to create a colored ground that will influence the overall tone of your painting.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even use gesso to create mixed media pieces. Here are a few ways you can incorporate gesso into your mixed media artwork:
Collage: Use gesso as a glue to adhere paper or other media to your substrate. The gesso will dry clear, so you won’t have to worry about it affecting the final appearance of your piece.
Image transfer: Gesso can also be used to transfer images onto a substrate. Simply paint a layer of gesso onto your substrate, place your image face down onto the wet surface, and smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles. Allow the gesso to dry completely, then carefully rub away the paper to reveal your transferred image.
|Relatively cheap art supply||The texture of gesso can be difficult to control|
|You can create a variety of textures and effects with gesso||It can be difficult to rework a painting once gesso has been applied|
|Gesso can be used for a variety of purposes beyond just priming canvas||Gesso can dry out quickly if not stored properly|
|Matte Medium||-Creates a seal on an old painting||-Can be difficult to build up multiple layers|
|Acrylic Retarder||-Slows down drying time||-May alter the consistency of the paint|
|Oil-Based Primer||-Creates a solid base for additional layers||-Takes longer to dry|
It’s important to note that covering an old painting with any material may not completely hide the original artwork. Be sure to consider your intentions and the ethical implications of altering an existing artwork before proceeding.
FAQs: Can I Use Gesso to Cover an Old Painting?
1. Can gesso completely cover an old painting?
Yes, gesso can cover an old painting completely. However, it is important to note that the texture of the original painting may still be visible beneath the gesso layer.
2. Will gesso adhere to the old painting surface?
Yes, gesso should adhere well to the old painting surface, especially if the surface is smooth and free of debris.
3. Does it matter what kind of paint was used on the old painting?
No, it does not matter what kind of paint was used on the old painting. Gesso can be used to cover oil, acrylic, or any other type of paint.
4. Should the old painting be cleaned before applying gesso?
Yes, it is best to clean the old painting surface before applying gesso. This will ensure that the gesso adheres properly.
5. Can gesso be painted over once it is applied?
Yes, gesso can be painted over once it is applied. In fact, many artists use gesso as a primer before applying paint.
6. Are there any disadvantages to using gesso to cover an old painting?
One potential disadvantage is that the texture of the original painting may still be visible beneath the gesso layer. Additionally, using gesso to cover an old painting may impact the value of the original painting if it is an antique or valuable piece of art.
Closing: Thanks for reading!
We hope this article has been helpful in answering your questions about using gesso to cover an old painting. Remember to always clean the old painting surface before applying gesso and be aware of any potential impacts on the value of the original painting. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. Thanks for reading and please visit again soon for more helpful articles.