Preparing paper supports
By Joseph Weinzettle
When I use paper for silverpoint drawing or oil painting, the paper needs prepared with a ground. First this requires glue sizing, which seals the support (paper, canvas or wooden panel) from the gesso ground and/or oil media.
First, glue size is heated in a double boiler (a glass jar on seashells and pebbles within a pot):
The glue is then mixed with dry pigment powders:
This mixture forms gesso. Traditional chalk gesso is brushed on the support while still hot. Layers of gesso form a durable drawing or painting ground on the support.
A gesso ground may be white or tinted. The first layer is typically transparent. Additional layers increase opacity.
These sheets of gesso-prepared papers (below, 2nd image) have yellow-ochre and ultramarine blue as added pigments (below). Tinted grounds provide a mid-tone for drawing and painting value studies.
Next week: Making oil paint