Do You Need To Gesso Canvas For Acrylic

Gesso, pronounced as “jes-oh”, has been a vital element for artists throughout history, serving as a foundation for their artwork. However, some may question the necessity of gessoing a canvas before using acrylic paint. In short, the answer is yes, but let’s explore this further.

What is Gesso?

Gesso is a primer that provides a suitable surface for both oil and acrylic paints. It helps to ensure that the paint adheres well to the canvas and prevents it from soaking into the canvas fibers. Gesso also provides a consistent base tone, making your colors pop and enhancing the overall vibrancy of your painting.

Why Use Gesso?

Without gesso, the paint might soak into the canvas, which can lead to premature damage, dull colors and an uneven texture. Gesso seals the canvas, making it less absorbent and allowing the paint to sit on top instead of soaking in. This means your colors will be more vibrant and your painting will last longer.

How to Apply Gesso

Gesso is easy to apply. You just need a brush or a roller, and make sure to apply it evenly across the entire canvas. Let it dry before you start painting. Some artists even prefer to apply two or three coats, sanding lightly between each for a super smooth surface.

Can I Paint Without Gesso?

Absolutely! Gesso is not strictly necessary for acrylic painting. You can paint directly onto a raw canvas if you prefer a more absorbent surface and don’t mind the canvas texture showing through your painting. However, keep in mind that without gesso, your painting may not last as long and the colors may not be as vibrant.

In conclusion, while gesso is not strictly necessary for acrylic painting, it is highly recommended. It provides a smoother surface, enhances the vibrancy of your colors, and increases the lifespan of your artwork. So next time you pick up that blank canvas, consider giving it a quick coat of gesso first. You might be surprised at the difference it makes!

Happy Painting!