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  • Let’s Get Back to Basics: Gesso

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    Jen Farooq

    Gesso is the foundation of nearly every mixed media project. It’s an excellent primer that can be used on a wide range of surfaces, such as canvas, wood, paper, metal, chipboard, fabric, and plastic. Finnabair’s Art Basics Gesso designed for Prima come in three different varieties: white, black and clear. The white and black Gesso are great for covering and preparing backgrounds for various art mediums and neutralizing colors on previously painted surfaces to create a fresh painting base. Once applied, Gesso offers a permanent, semi-resistant, and flexible surface, ensuring even application of paint. Beyond its foundational role, Gesso can be used with stencils, texture tools, and palette knives, facilitating the addition of texture and patterns to art projects.

    White Gesso shines when mixed with acrylic paint, enabling the creation of white-washed, colored gesso for enhanced artistic possibilities. Black gesso is an amazing background for opaque mediums like decor wax and really make colors pop. Try prepping a mould with black gesso and once dry, dry brush decor wax and watch as those details come to life. Clear gesso can be used almost as a glue for layering or collaging. Or mix in acrylic paint, mica powder or glitter to create your own custom mediums.

    Gesso is a versatile medium that can be used in a variety of ways. Don’t be afraid to use more then one kind in your next mixed media project. Mila’s beautiful project is a great example of this as she uses both black and white gesso. She peppered the surface with a layer of white gesso, followed by a layer of black. She then lightly buffed the surface to give it a distressed look and allow some of the white to peek out.

    Try this technique out for yourself and share with us how you use gesso into your projects. Is it simply your go to for create a foundation for your project or do you incorporate other techniques?


    I used a painter’s palette 🎨 as a base to create a black and yellow canvas. Gesso is one of the materials I use most often, as a primer for the porosity of surfaces, to homogenize color, to give texture, also as a relief paste.

    • 961459 Heavy gesso black. • 961442 Heavy gesso white.  • 664084 Ephemera – In the moment.  •  664053 Journaling notecards – In the moment. • 963705 Art ingredients – Art stone. • 969530 Finnabair moulds – Ornate Frame. • 969431 Finnabair moulds – Pocket. • 529550 Prima flowers – botanical mix.


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