Those of you who have used our Encaustic Gesso have no doubt come to love its soft, toothy, absorbent surface. But that surface also offers a range of possibilities beyond encaustic.
Lately in preparing panels for the talk I give on painting materials and the effects of different mediums, I used the Encaustic Gesso to paint egg and glue temperas on. It was fabulous. The paint absorbed into the ground with a bright velvety matte look.
In past times I had to rely on the traditional ground for temperas — rabbit skin glue and chalk gesso. Its history goes back to ancient times. It too has a beautiful chalky surface, and there’s the romance of the historical connection. But have any of you ever tried making it? That part’s not romantic. It’s slow, tedious, laborious, and VERY easy to screw up if you don’t lay it on just right and with the right balance of water, glue, and chalk.
But where the glue gesso can take an entire day (which is why one would make 20 panels at a time instead of just one), applying our Encaustic Gesso meant just opening the jar, brushing it on to the panel and letting it dry. The second coat could be applied at any time later. Plus, I didn’t need to sand. The gesso levels well enough with minimal brush marks.
Oil paint can also be used on the Encaustic Ground. The ground should be given a size coat of dilute acrylic medium so it won’t absorb too much of the oil. It gives the paint a lean matte look compared to its glossy wet look when applied on acrylic gesso.