Working with traditional gesso is a labor of love for myself, using traditional materials, rabbit skin glue, and French white chalk, to create a ground that is a luxury to work and paint on.


Every ground I create through this method will give varying finishes that have tiny imperfections on the surface, every ground is as individual and unique as the painting I create on top of it.

Working over several days heating the binder and slowly adding the chalk to create a thickened cream-like consistency, you are then ready to apply the mixture to the wooden panels. 


Building up several thinner layers and sanding each layer when it is dry, working up to fifteen layers in total. This process will give the smoothest finish just like porcelain to paint on. 

Once you have reached the desired amount of layers, I like to tone the wooden panel with an umber wash, for me this gives the wooden panel another layer before the painting, like a sealant layer, again sanding after.


You are then ready to paint into the board, using the umber wash as your umber layer as your imprimatura, providing you with a transparent, toned ground, which will allow light falling onto the painting to reflect through the paint layers.

Further reading: 

• Jacksons Art has a wonderfully detailed write-up about all types of gesso, modern and traditional here