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When to use Black Gesso? Save Money, Paint it Black


What is Black Gesso used for?

​Use black gesso for both oil and acrylic paintings.

What Is Black Gesso?

​"Black gesso is a type of primer or base coat used in painting. It is a water-based acrylic paint that contains pigment and a binder, typically made from a combination of acrylic polymer, calcium carbonate, and water.  It can be used to uncoat and prepare canvas and surfaces for both for Acrylic and Oils Paints.

Who invented Black Gesso paint?

​In 1955, Henry Levison developed a contemporary variant of gesso using calcium carbonate, pigment, and acrylic polymer, which he named Liquitex. He coined the phrase "a perfect blend of liquid and texture" to describe it. Liquitex has a thinner consistency than white acrylic paint and hardens as it dries.

Why use a Black Gesso?

Artists use Black Gesso to achieve a high contrast effect with a dark background, as well as to cover up imperfections that might not be visible on a lighter surface. The Black Gesso makes a strong visual impact on the surface it covers, making it a popular choice for creating moody and dark paintings.

​Moreover, Black Gesso is excellent for toning the canvas, providing a darker base for painting. This can produce stunning visual effects, offering artists a versatile tool for their creative expression.

Does the FAS Black Gesso offer the same protective properties?

The FAS Gesso formulation is the same for the Black and White, only the colour is different.  The Black Gesso still seals, undercoats and primes to protect your final artwork, just like the White Gesso. 

Paint in Black, use less paint and Save Money:

One significant point is when you are planning to paint a darker, moody painting over a white Gesso primed canvas.  You will end up using a lot more paint. Because you are starting on a stark white background, you will need to layer the canvas with coat after coat of paint to get the same effect. 

Save Money, Paint it Black.

Tint your White Gesso to the colour mood of your painting:

Also, remember, you can also tint the White Gesso with an acrylic colour like red or blue,  so you already have the mood on the canvas before you even apply any paint.  

Happy Painting:

I hope this helps you. 

Feel free to let me know in the comments if you have helpful tips and hints we can pass on to others.


Tony Parker

Ideas for Art Blog

by FAS | Fine Art Supplies NZ LTD


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