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Artist's Gesso

Introduction

The Casein or Hide Glue provide the binder, the Whiting Chalk provides the filler and the white pigment provides its brilliance. In addition to creating a ground for painting, gesso can be carved, molded or built up.

Casein Gesso

Ingredients

Casein Gesso creates a very white, tough surface. Prepare the casein paint. Stir together the Whiting and Pigment being careful not to create excess dust. A dust mask is recommended. Slowly pour the dry powder into the casein solution and thoroughly mix, then strain this mixture through cheesecloth into a clean container. Stir frequently while applying, brushing on in thin coats and sand in between. Use four to five coats.
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Chalk Ground for Panels

Ingredients

A brilliant white gesso, ivory smooth and ideal for egg tempera and oil. For the hide glue solution, see our Hide Glue Paint recipe. (Rabbit Skin Glue is the traditional glue of gessoes.) Using an enamel pan, stir together the Whiting and Pigment being careful not to create excess dust. A dust mask is recommended. Add the warm glue solution a small amount at a time, working smooth before adding more. Keep the gesso warm but not hot, as this will create bubbles. Let stand warm for 15 minutes then apply. Traditionally, seven coats are applied, using alternate directions for your brush strokes with each layer. Allow each layer to dry in between coats.
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