It’s okay Imelda, I understand.

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.

Blog_BlankCanvases   PaintTubes

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.


8 thoughts on “It’s okay Imelda, I understand.

    1. I’m not an authority on this, but doing some extra priming will ensure longevity. So if the kids want their work to become heirlooms, you could consider it! 😉 Wait till I get onto varnishing; then you’ll really have to step up!


  1. Thanks Fiona – I will follow your journey – looking forward to learn a thing or two. Today I sit in painting trackies looking at my conglomeration of painting stuff pondering how to be creative overwhelmed with what canvas – pad – paint- brush – medium – spatula … To begin with… I have alwaysed used pre primed canvas thinking it was all done for me. Now I’m second guessing!! too much googeling overwhelms as I get too concerned about technique rather than creating – I have a much more slap dash approach to my painting – looking fwd to it becoming a bit more refined through your blog !!


    1. Yikes! I’ll do my best 😁. I took classes for a while on and off and my teacher never had us worry about priming canvas – probably because it detracts from the whole idea of just getting stuck into things and creating. I suspect it’s not overly necessary (unless you’re intent on having a painting that will outlast your great great grandchildren), but I’m curious to see how the paint goes on. Good to have you along!


  2. Thank you for educating me on how to prime a canvas! Id always wondered! Can you believe that there is a generation not too far from ours who doesnt understand the reference ” Imelda”? I know, crazy!


    1. Perhaps once I get through this year’s blogging and painting I will embark upon a blog to educate the next generation in important political stuff like this ;-). Welcome aboard!


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