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Hi everyone, I was hoping to gain some clarification about tooth with regards to acrylic "gesso". I primed some canvases last week with Golden's acrylic gesso and am currently waiting a week for them to be fully dry. I have also been reading several commenters saying the surface is slick and not toothy enough for their liking with this brand (however most painter's I've asked swear by it, so I don't know if that's a common complaint).
On Justpaint they had this line that intrigued me: “A toothy surface has adequate micro-texture to allow a subsequent coating to physically conform to that texture.” Is that suggesting that tooth is on a microscopic level and not necessarily a tactile observation? Could a gesso be slick to the touch, but actually microscopically mechanically bind?
Or is it a little bit of both, like could a very textured-in-application but lower quality acrylic gesso make up somewhat for the lack of microscopic adhesion.
I hope what I'm asking makes sense!
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
>Is that suggesting that tooth is on a microscopic level and not
necessarily a tactile observation? Could a gesso be slick to the touch,
but actually microscopically mechanically bind?
This would be it I guess. Few years ago I asked Sarah Sands (Hi Sarah, if you're reading this) about this and she told me „When thinking about ‘tooth’ in a ground you do not need to think about it as meaning a surface is rough to the touch or even having a pronounced texture. It can often be as subtle and simple as a surface being matte, which – when magnified– usually shows a fairly toothy terrain. It’s just a matter of scale, and really it’s that micro-texture which is critical.“ As for me, I've used Golden Gesso for few years and never had any issue with it so far.
If you want to increase tooth, they recommend adding Coarse Molding Paste or Pumice gel (https://goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo/technicalinfo_gesso) - I've never done this, though. Also, I believe, that Golden Custom Lab could mix more toothy custom acrylic primer for you.
Or, if you want more tooth and it doesn't have to be Golden, try Lascaux Gesso - this is much more toothy, but also more absorbent.
Ivan already answered your question beautifully. I just want to add that in terms of adhesion even a glossy acrylic underpainting or clear primer will work fine for oils. Acrylic dispersions form relatively porous films and linseed oil can sink into the microscopic pores and anchor. The question of what type of acrylic or oil primer to use is really dependent on personal preference. My colleague Greg Watson wrote a nice article about working with oils over GOLDEN Gesso here: https://justpaint.org/differentiating-between-acrylic-gesso-and-williamsburg-oil-ground/
Mirjam Hintz (Golden Artist Colors)
Thank you so much Ivan and Mirjam! I actually love the feel of painting on acrylic "gesso" and the marks I'm able to make, so this all gives me confidence that the paint is adhering, especially now that I'm moving up to better quality materials like the Golden gesso.
I really appreciate your time,