Oils on Gessobord

Blue Crab

Blue Crab by Meg Lyman

6×8″ oil on cradled Gessobord

$85 – e-mail to purchase or visit Etsy

I’ve painted with oils on Gessobord only a handful of times before. It seemed to work fine. This time, however, was challenging.

I slathered some thinned paint on it a couple years ago to create the basic shape, and promptly forgot about it. When I pulled it out of the closet to finish it, the thinned paint was obviously dry as a bone. I sized it with walnut oil to help the new paint stick – I’d heard that was a good tool to get new paint to stick to old paint – and laid in the background grey. I let that dry a few days and went in with the colors. I had my hand resting on the dry background paint while working, and eventually noticed this:

Great. I must have rubbed it too much or something. I’ll fix it later. Moved on to another area and found a cat hair buried in the grey paint, which is not surprising considering the fuzzy menagerie that lives here. It’s happened often before and I’ve become quite adept at pulling hairs out of wet and dry paint with a palette knife. I went to remove this one, and with one delicate touch, the knife did this:

Now, I admittedly wasn’t this rough on my previous Gessobord oil paintings, but I am becoming wary of the surface nonetheless. It could be any of the following:

1. The years-old underpainting

2. The sizing

3. The Gessobord’s surface

After stories from Larry and personal experience, I have a fear of inferior gesso, and am considering re-gessoing all the prepared panels I buy. Anyone have experience with these things?

3 thoughts on “Oils on Gessobord”

  1. Hi Meg,
    Just happened across your blog and saw your comments about the Gessobord we manufacture at Ampersand. From first glance, my inclination is that this might be our Aquabord or Claybord Textured depending on how old the panel is, based on the surface texture. Can you check the back and tell me if it’s stamped Gessobord? Also, we use archival quality gesso on our panels. An old underpainting in oil can be challenging if almost impossible to revive on any surface – perhaps sanding it down and then oiling out as you’ve done might be the best way to go. Feel free to contact us with any other questions or comments. Thanks so much for your support!

  2. Andrea,

    Thanks for taking the time to write! Yes, I verified it has the Gessobord stamp on the back, although very faded, and some of the glue is visible. The front looks just like an identical piece of unused cradled Gessobord I have.

    I’ll have to try sanding and oiling out if I ever come across this “old underpainting” situation again.

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