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March 19, 2011

I got a bad batch of gesso.

I tried Jerry's World's Greatest Gesso for the first and last time. It's not curing. I suspect it has no binder. It reactivates with water. Oh, not obviously so. If you're slapping on thick coats of acrylic paint or oil paint, you might not notice, but if you're working with thin puddles of transparent washes and trying to manipulate paint, you would notice a milky white substance mixing with the once-transparent pigment. You would notice a chalky muddiness to your once bright and beautiful washes. You would notice if you applied too much pressure, not only would you have a chalky muddiness, you would also notice your previously dried, once-transparent layer was no more, having been swiped milkywhiteclean back to the white of the gesso. You would scream. You would curse. You would sit in a corner racking your brain on all the time and money you've spent ordering frigging materials from exotic places such as Los Angeles, New Jersey, and Antioch, Tennessee. You would wonder if you were ever going to get the canvas to a place where you could put paint on it, and have it stay put. You would wonder why you moved from the land of reliable art supplies and trustworthy vendors.

I called Jerry's and tried to explain this phenomena, asking nicely why this was happening. I mentioned my once transparent paint washes becoming cloudy and milky. I was told that because the paint was transparent, I would be able to see the white of the canvas underneath the paint-that transparent paint had that quality. I said, no, you do not understand, the gesso is reactivating and making my pigment no longer transparent. It is making it milky and chalky. I know what transparent paint is. Do not fuck with me, dude. 
I did not actually say that last line.

Today was a bust in the studio. It has been almost 50 hours since I applied the gesso to the canvases at the studio and about 72 hours since I applied it to the canvases here at home.

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