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Thread: Gesso or...?

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    Gesso or...?

    Hey guys,

    I was discussing with a fellow artist in an art store my situation about using gesso to prime big canvases say 60 x 40. I was talking with him trying to decide if its worth paying the bucks for a brand name of gesso or just stick with a lower quality one. Anyways he brought up that at his school they were using the regular white paint/primer from a hardware store, you get tons of it and pay way less, i am now wondering has anyone done this before, would it be ok to use for priming canvases or will it react with acrylic/oils somehow...or even screw up your painting in the long run!

    Thanks.

    ~JB


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    well you gotta remember that wall paints arn't formulated to be perminate.

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    How about it will screw up your painting in the SHORT run? regular wall paint is not anything like artists acrylics, most of which are co-polymers. Wall paint is basically more filler than anything else, with a latex-type binder and some pigment. So...basically what you're painting with is talcum powder soaked in liquid bubble gum and cheap plastic.

    Any latex ground on a more or less flexible surface will powder and peel off in 1 to two years, especially if the painting is bumped (pressured) or rolled.

    I ound this on Wilkp as an additional note (my bold)...

    "Using house-hold latex based paint as a primer for acrylic causes cracking after only a few years, especially if the painting is rolled for storage. Only use a proper, artist grade acrylic gesso to prime your canvas for use with acrylic. Acrylic will not form a stable paint film if it has been thinned with too much water (more than 50% is too much). However, the viscosity of acrylic can successfully be reduced by using suitable extenders that maintain the integrity the paint film (e.g. Golden Acrylic Glazing Medium, Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish)."
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinBeckett
    or even screw up your painting in the long run!
    Most likely, yes, it's just a matter of how long a run you're talking. Are you planning on painting something that deserves to last 20/50/200/500 years?
    Also, it's almost always easier to work with good quality materials than crappy ones.

    Tristan Elwell
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    That answer's all of my questions about that...Thanks guys, Ilaekae, big thanks, more then enough info there mate!

    Now i am wondering..." Elwell" You say go for good quality over bad quality for materials...indeed, i do for all of my supplies, this is why i was iffy about switching.

    Although what would you say would be the better option to choose even know one is cheaper then the other. I am using Liquitex acrylics, professional grade. I have been using Stevenson artist gesso for some time now. Seems good. I need more gesso, lots of it, so i was thinking between Liquitex Gesso, or Deserres gesso. Supposively the Deserres is just as good as the Stevenson all though it is student grade. The Liquitex one for a 1 gal i think was around 67 with taxes included and the Deserres one was the same size for around 40 dollars. Should i choose the cheaper one or not...That is the other thing i was pondering about...is the student grade one "Deserres" going to turn to shit down the road...my guess is yes...??

    Thanks again!

    ~JB

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    I'm just guessing here, but I'd think the student grade would do its job at least moderately well. I'm thinking that the difference is in the solids used and the fineness of the finished product, not a difference that would make one fall apart in 5 years vs 200 years. You may have to use additional coats, or it may not lay as opaquely or as evenly...something like that. If the production cost were reduced by cutting back on the acrylic binder though, THEN you may have a bigger problem. I've used Liquitex Gesso AND Dick Blick's gesso for yeras, and haven't noticed any problems, even though there's a price difference of roughly 35%±.
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    Deserres being the store brand it COULD be as good while being cheaper.

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    Although it's pretty much been covered already... It's worth mentioning that wall paint you find at Home Depot has all sorts of chemicals in it that I would imagine aren't entirely good for your painting in the long run. (Fungicides, anyone?) This stuff is also formulated to be painted on rigid drywall, and not flexible canvas.

    When it does come down to it however acrylic gesso sucks anyway. (I like the oil ground that Gamblin makes)

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