Craig Fournier writes: Hello. My question is this when using white to do highlights or blending do you recommend using white gesso or titanium white? I am a decoy(duck) carver I do decorative decoys and detailed paint but I was always told to use the white gesso I just find that it is kinda chalky. I do use the liquitex heavy body acrylics.. And I want to say that to watch you paint is truly inspiring you are a fantastic artist and I can’t thank you enough for all that you share.. Thank you so much

I only use gesso for my base layer. For me I use it on canvas so that I can sand it down and get a smoother texture to the canvas. Gesso by itself adds a lot of tooth so I never ever choose to use it in the painting itself. I agree, it’s also chalky. I stick to my titanium white once I start the actual painting.

I generally use the liquitex basics titanium white, and really I don’t find the gesso to be any more opaque than the titanium white. If I need more opacity, I add a second layer of the titanium white, and still manage to maintain the texture of the paint that I want. If I used Gesso, my paintings would be a hot mess when it came to parts being rough and parts smooth. This would make blending wet into wet a nightmare as well.

Years ago I picked up some clear gesso. Now this stuff is awesome if you want to paint on wood, but want the wood grain to show through. Not paying attention one day I grabbed the clear gesso instead of my clear matte medium to seal off an area I had used masking tape on for a hard edge technique. OH wow, was this a pain. You could always see the rougher texture of where the gesso was and wasn’t, no matter how many layers I added. I ended up having to sand the area down and repaint it.