Beginning The Process

These past few weeks I have been prepping paper and canvas for new work. I thought I would share how I do this.

Gessoed Paper Drying
On warm days I like to let things dry outside….

I use mostly Arches 140lb. cold-pressed paper because I know it best and I prefer the way it accepts paint and the processes I use.

The first thing I do is to stretch it onto a board and staple it down. After it dries I then tape an edge around it, usually the width of 1″ painters tape. I started doing this because I found out if you use gel or gesso much and cover the staples they are very hard to removed when the painting is finished.

I nearly always cover the dried paper with a  few coats of gesso or other texturing mediums and I do the same on canvas. I like having this under-texture to begin painting on, as well as the way it can still show through the layers of paint. It usually takes overnight to dry completely inside the studio. But if it is a sunny day it can go much faster outside although I usually take them back indoors for the night and paint on them the next day.

Anyone else use a similar process?


9 thoughts on “Beginning The Process

  1. Once upon a time when I had the time, I took the time to layer before hand. Nowadays my medium is crayola paints and construction paper – but still so much fun to share my artistic side with my kiddos.
    That’s a great idea with the painters tape. I’ll have to remember that.💜


  2. Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. I understand what you mean about not having time to paint! Are you a teacher, mom or both? There are only so many hours in the day and it can be difficult to find time for what we want to do. I hope you can get back to it soon. I learned about the tape after I damaged several paintings when prying them off the boards. It finally hit me to cover the edges with tape before starting and it really helped.


    1. I hope you do try it Vicki! I really love the way you can add texture letting it be either subtle or more defined depending on how you apply the gesso. It is fun to experiment with new techniques! You just need to let it dry completely before painting on it and when using paper thin layers work best to avoid cracking. Have fun with it!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I paint on cradles, deep wood panels that are sealed. I then use a limestone paste (basically joint compound) in a thin layer as a substrate. I can press in objects or create patterns and textures. Of course, it must always dry overnight. Then I must sand it, not completely smooth, but so it looks finished.


    1. Thanks for sharing Patricia! I have not tried limestone paste although I have heard many others use it. Do you apply more than one layer or is that needed? I haven’t used panels much yet, I need to.


  4. So enjoyed meeting you at Woodland Park last weekend! My husband wants me to work on Cold Press but I don’t have an area big enough! I use cradled board, gessoed, then the layering begins! Love your work!


    1. So sorry Patti, I just saw this comment! Thank you for coming to Woodland and stopping in my booth, I am happy you like my work. Please stay in touch, I would love to see your work too. I haven’t tried hard boards yet.


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