The eight panels that I ordered have arrived and are in need of gesso. Normally I work on canvas but the last several paintings I did were on panels. I found that I enjoyed working on the smooth surface. So I thought I’d begin again with panels.
Gessoing is not my favorite thing. Though I am particular about the surface, and do put in the time applying the many coats of gesso and then sanding each one down, I find the process laborious.
Out of curiosity, I decided to search online to see if I might find anything new on the subject. I am continually amazed at the incredible amount of information available at our fingertips. So I should not have been surprised to come across an incredible discovery: a new way to gesso. Okay so apparently it is not entirely new, the article was published in 2004. But it was new to me. And it was a JOY to discover.
In an article entitled: Creating the Perfect Ultra-Smooth Canvas for Airbrush, A.D. Cook describes his process. Basically, he uses a squeegee to apply the gesso to the canvas. He applies many thin layers and does NOT sand between layers. This is a key time-saver.
But the really unique discovery was that he uses a wet-sand technique, wetting the sandpaper to achieve a glass-like surface. When I tried this, I was overjoyed with the process and the result. Not only is the process simpler but the surface is exquisite. At least for my purposes.
What a thrill to discover that a process as traditional as gessoing a canvas can be updated not only with modern materials but also with some creative thinking and a willingness to experiment. It got me to thinking about how many things we do automatically. Is it only the innovator or creative that questions the norm? And how would daily life be different if, from time-to-time, we took a look at where we could experience the joy of bringing something new to something old.