Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The best thing about art is that there are no rules.  You're free to experiment with everything, even how you prepare your painting surface.  My preferred surface is panel; specifically MDF (medium density fiberboard).  It's already smooth, sturdy, and won't warp.  I love the process of getting to know the materials before the actual work begins.  I love graining stones for traditional lithography.  There's something wonderful about the physical act of making.  Is there any wonder why I haven't gone digital?  The problem is that I like a very smooth surface, but I hate sanding.  It's dirty, it's tedious, I tend to scratch as much of me as whatever I'm trying to smooth...  It's just no fun.  So I did a little experimenting, and found a way to avoid it!

I take a big brush to apply just a little gesso at a time, working in a criss cross pattern until it won't spread out any more.  This is a really thin coat, and virtually eliminates brush marks.  Do this until you've covered the whole surface, blending all the while, like Bob Ross would use to lay in his background colors.

Photo from

Then start back at the section you first started.  It's probably a little tacky yet, but that's ok.  You'll buff it nice and smooth!  I did about 3 layers in this manner, and let it dry overnight.  It's minimally textured, almost soft to the touch.  I'm very pleased with the results!  Traditional methods be damned.

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