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Surface Preparation | Priming Canvas

Priming your canvas properly helps to tighten canvas, protect it from oil and gives you a bright even surface to work on. Especially with oils, it is important to prime the surface, or the oil can sink into the canvas and leave your painting dull. Here we are using Winsor & Newton Acrylic Gesso in three ways: white gesso, a clear formulation of gesso and clear gesso tinted with acrylic paint (never tint acrylic gesso with oil paint) to provide a coloured ground. Using a stiff, short bristled brush in a circular motion, with a small amount of water added to gesso to help it soak in, brush the gesso into the canvas firmly and let dry. Then sand this first layer and add another layer, and sand that as well until it is smooth again. To keep a natural look to your surface, you can use clear gesso in just the same way and, if you want a coloured ground you can tint the clear gesso with acrylic paint. You can also tint white gesso as well. All three techniques are presented here so you can see how to best apply your primer and three possibilities for your surface.