Priming Linen Canvas With Acrylic Gesso & Oil Primer

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on 28 Feb 2014 2:50 PM

Hello everyone!

I'm new to the forum. I just started painting so I am inexperienced and nervous about making mistakes when it comes to priming my canvas.

I am starting a painting on a linen canvas and I have sized it with one coat of GAC 400 and two coats of GAC 100. This was recommended on a website I went to. I have with me right now Fredrix Acrylic Gesso, but I also ordered a Gamblin Oil Primer and I am waiting for it to be delivered in the mail.

My question has to do with using both forms of primer. I was wondering if it would be okay to do a few coats of the acrylic gesso, sanding in between, and then applying about two coats of the oil primer when it arrives.

Is it okay to apply oil primer over acrylic gesso?

On a side note, this idea to use the acrylic gesso before the oil primer came when I noticed that my canvas, with the GAC 400 and 100 coats applied, is very smooth now but still contains very very minuscule holes in some places that are natural to the linen canvas. I have applied 3 coats of these GAC sizings and I am wondering if it is okay that these tiny tiny holes are there. If it isn't okay, I'm wondering if I can make it better with coats of acrylic gesso and then coats of oil primer. I don't want to apply any more sizing to the canvas than has been recommended in what I read on the Golden website.

If someone can help me or point me in the right direction, I would appreciate that greatly! Thank you!

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Jay Babina wrote
on 1 Mar 2014 7:10 AM

What size painting? and why are you doing all of this? Are you from somewhere where primed canvas and linen are not available?

Two reasons to use linen are the fine texture and color. If you are filling the weave to the point of smoothness then why use it? Great painting panels are available everywhere or use Masonite (hardboard) or MDF. It the canvas is very large then sometimes fabric is a good choice.

You can coat any fabric with Gesso alone. That's why it was invented. You are over-complicating something that's fairly simple. You can prime a linen with hardware store Zin water based primer or Zin alachol based primer too and just start painting. I have art school paintings done in the 60s, primed with two coats of Gesso and they are perfect. We all used canvas and linen was just not used, maybe because it was expensive? 

I would start your painting and on the next one if you have linen already bought, just use gesso or hardware store primer. Oil paint is not this dangerous evil thing waiting to destroy paintings. For the most part it dries and does nothing more than just sits there. 

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