I did a stock-take on all the art materials I’ve purchased over the years and discovered that what Imelda Marcos was to shoes, I am to sketch books, paints, pencils, cans of spray adhesive and blank canvases. SO MANY blank canvases.
The good thing about all this is that I can get started on ‘Getting my Art Into Gear’ straight away – while I’m still pumped and naiively enthusiastic – no trips to the art supply store needed.
That’s right: In 12 months, I’m aiming to have all these babies primed and painted on.
They say they’re pre-primed canvases on their packaging, but I suspect this is like buying a supermarket pizza with the toppings already in place: Laughably inadequate.
So. HURDLE #1: How do you prime a Canvas?
You get onto YouTube.
Ah, the joys of Internetland and all those enthusiastic painters out there willing to dumb it down a bit for the likes of me. Thank you Tammy Schlosser and Don Stewart and Clive with the great UK accent.
I now know what to look for in a canvas (better late than never, I suppose), and that to prime one, it’ll need 3-4 coats of gesso, with a very light sand in between.
Very importantly, I learn that it’s pronounced “jess-oh”. Don’t pretend you weren’t wondering.
After a first attempt at priming one of the multitude, I was once again online, checking what the correct consistency of gesso should be. I doubt I have the best quality stuff on the market, but I don’t have the budget of a Filipino dictator’s wife either.
Online artist forums are another goldmine of information. Gesso, it seems, can be thinned with a little water and so now all my priming problems are sorted.
A primed canvas needs at least 2 days drying time before being painted on. Perfect procrastination fuel: I could use this wait time to watch Netflix and not attempt any art whatsoever!
But then I realised that that would place me one step closer to having my storage boxes filled with blank canvases again – only these ones would be properly primed.
Time to enter into the nitty-gritty of this experiment of mine. It’s time to do some drawing.
Far better to save my storage boxes for other things. Like shoes perhaps.