Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Question about Gesso - Part 2

Question about Gesso - Part 2. In case you're interested . . . .

On May 23, 2009 I posted a question about storing gesso without it getting lumpy after being stored over time. MY "problem" is that LUMPS (great gooey globs of gesso, really) form in the gesso when I store the partly empty (partly full?) container. Then I have to deal with the clumpy, lumpy gesso the next time I want to gesso a support. I make my own Masonite panel supports and canvas supports so when I make a "batch" of supports, I use my gesso. I pour the gesso onto the new support then use a 6 inch foam "cabinet & door" paint roller to spread the gesso.

Suggested "solutions" were:
  • store the container upside down
  • put the gesso in progressively smaller containers expelling the air
  • use all of the gesso

After some "experimenting":
  • I found that the clumps still formed when storing the gesso container upside down. But now the clumps/lumps are at the bottom of the jar when the container is turned upright.
  • Putting the unused gesso in a soft-side plastic bottle (e.g. plastic soda pop bottle) was messy getting the gesso from a quart jar into a one or two liter plastic bottle - even using a funnel. Plus a great deal of gesso stays in the first container. AND small lumps still formed even when the air seems to be pretty much totally expelled.

So . . . . If (WHEN) I use gesso I have to take my lumps! :-) I'll only buy the quart sized containers of gesso although it's a bit more expensive than the larger sizes. AND when I make a bunch of supports I'll try to make enough so that I'll use most if not all of the container. Where's the savings when buying the larger container if I'm spending time unlumping a gessoed support ?

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)
Ken B.


  1. Hi there!
    Your gesso problem made me think about bechamel sauce (or any other sauce) kept in the fridge: when you don't want a crust or lumpy-surface to develop, sometimes it helps to cover the sauce with film paper (plastic wrap/what other name is there for cling paper?), but not as a lid but in total contact with the surface of the sauce (one has to adhere the film to the sauce). Next time you use the sauce, you take the film off and discard it (it'll be completely covered with sauce on one side), but the surface of the sauce will (most probably) be perfect.
    Hope this helps!
    Best regards,

    PS: I promise you this idea came up to my mind while reading THIS post, not the previous!

  2. Hi Carolina, thanks for your idea! I understand what you mean. Things might get a little messy putting the plastic cling - film (whatever) down into the gesso container then getting it out. But you're right - it works for puddings, sauces and etc. in the kitchen. Why not in the studio? I'll give it a try this week. I'll need to go get some gesso first however. :-|?

    I always use plastic gloves when I put down gesso - the stuff jumps up and gets all over my hands.

    Talk to you soon. . . .
    Ken B.

    PS: Thanks for letting me know you weren't born when I visited Lima. You and my two daughters are about the same age and seem to enjoy letting me know about such things. :-)


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