Differences between a thick gesso, and a runny gesso?

gesso types, canvas preparation

gesso types, canvas preparation

I purchased your lesson yesterday and have a question regarding the gesso/modeling paste combination.

I have used this formula on a canvas board and the finished surface is amazing.

My question though, when applied to a traditional canvas and built up to the smooth egg shell surface for work, if down the line, if someone were to choose to do so, could they remove the canvas from its support and roll it up for transport in a tube carrier and then placed back on another frame as they do with oil paintings of old?

As long as you minimize the thickness of the gesso. I've never use more than 3 coats to medium duck canvas, and sanding smooth helps keep it thin. The acrylic is a plastic and is flexible. I've rolled a few of mine without harm. (no less than a 4 inch tightness roll diameter) anything smaller may put micro fine cracks that can't be seen.

Also, I am curious about something else;

Some gesso comes more liquid than others.

I have a liquitex one and another that are more paste like and then there is one I saw today that is more fluid.


Now the more fluid one does say that if I thin with water there is a chance of cracking, this is because they have already thinned it too much already. These tend to be the cheaper brands.
However the more paste versions that I have say nothing about cracking and I found that if I don't add a little water to thin them the dry becomes a problem before I'm finished spreading.

This is ok to add just enough to make it a mayonnaise consistency. You can also add an acrylic medium that slows drying, but I've never needed to do this. Work faster when smoothing, you can try different things i.e. squeegees, paint rollers. I've found that the cake knife works best for me.

I usually put several coats and have not run into a cracking problem yet.

Can you please tell me the difference there is in gesso's.


The main difference is quality. The better brands will be thick and pasty, the cheaper will be runny and thin.

Do I use water to thin some and not others, what is the process to follow?


Usually the manufacterer will have instructions on just how far you can thin the product, and water is usually ok to use.

I appreciate your advice and look forward to using your product.

Many Thanks,


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