first day – gesso on plywood

If you’ve ever wondered how to start a painting on wood, here is one way.
First you buy thin plywood and cut it to the size you want. As it is so thin you will need to reinforce this piece of plywood to keep it from warping. plywood can be reinforced on the back side in various ways. One way would be to cut out triangles from the same plywood and nail one triangle on each corner. Another is to build an actual frame out of one by fours and nail the ply wood onto the frame. After you have made sure everything is square, just Sand it a bit until its smooth. You can cover the nails or imperfections with spackle.
Next is the Acrylic Gesso layer, you can buy Gesso in any Art store. It comes in various sizes and the type I use is about as thick as sour creme. There are thinner Gessos but I prefer to put my gesso on very thick. Gesso will give you a wonderful semi absorbent ground and will also seal the wood. Its a great surface to paint on and is archival. You can add color to the white Gesso if you don’t like to paint on a white background or you can buy colored gesso.

I paint with rollers and paint brushes but if you like you can thin the gesso down with water and spray it on. If you like texture you can do all sorts of things to produce texture, various naps on rollers will produce different effects, also using a tissue and lightly blotting the surface also will give you a random like texture. There are so many ways to create texture and this is an individual preference thing, you may want to experiment with gesso and a small piece of plywood and get a feel for it.

If you want it really smooth you can wait till the gesso dries and sand the gesso. You will need to be careful not to remove too much of the gesso.
You can paint one layer of gesso at a time building up several layers and sand the dried gesso between the various layers.

If your lazy like me just paint one thick layer in one coat. In the enclosed photo you can see I’ve painted about 2/3 s of the plywood. Come back to see this work in progress (wip)


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