Artist Gesso is a medium used as surface preparation or primer for painting, gilding, and sculpting. Gesso's origin is uncertain, but gesso is believed to have been developed in Italy, since the word gesso is Italian for 'chalk'. Preparation varies according to intended use, but usually consists of mixing glue with plaster, chalk, or gypsum. Acrylic gesso resembles paint, but is thinner and dries hard. Canvas gesso is applied with a brush and must dry before the surface can be painted. It was first created for use in painting, in order to give the surface the right properties to receive paint.
Pronounced "JEH-so," modern gesso retains the absorbent qualities of older gesso but is more flexible, and can be used on canvas. Acrylic painting gesso also be colored during the manufacturing process by replacing the titanium white with another pigment. Artists can also color the gesso using watercolor, acrylic paint, or another coloring agent, to tint the surface to be painted. See more information at the bottom of this page.
What Size Gesso Should I Buy?
It is generally accepted that one gallon will cover approximately 250-400 sq ft. How much coverage depends on:
- How many coats will be applied?
- How thick will each coat be applied?
- Material to which gesso is applied (absorbency, texture, etc.)