9x12, oil/panel - SOLD
This next trial consisted of my old standby, Blick Master Gesso - but with only two coats, not my usual three. Also, I didn't sand between coats, leaving the surface a bit rough.
This one performed more like the Ampersand Gessobord. Still a tad slippery, but not anywhere near as bad as with three coats of Blick Master Gesso. The gesso wasn't as "thirsty" as the traditional gesso panel from Howard & Daniel Corp. but it took the paint well. I had no problem painting wet-into-wet with this one.
I suppose one could go with a single coat of Blick Master Gesso - the jar label states as much - but I wonder if it really would be a sufficient barrier to protect the hardboard from the acidic oils found in oil paint. Unlike traditional gesso, which requires that the panel be "sized" and sealed first, most acrylic gessoes already contain sizing and can be applied directly. (By the way, artist David Rourke has an excellent recipe for making traditional gesso panels here: http://rourkevisualart.com/wordpress/articles/making-gesso/.) Typically, according to Robert Gamblin, four coats of acrylic gesso are required.
A reader asked me recently if I had close-ups of my tests; I do not. As I told him, my work with grounds is not as rigorous as a scientist might like it to be. My goal is to find a painting surface that works well with my method. At a future date, I'll be doing a real test, complete with absorbency evaluations, test swatches and more.