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Painting on an absorbent ground

Have you ever noticed the way an absorbent canvas negatively affects a painting? I've noticed several times how a painting, although it may look pretty solid when you're done with it, can begin to look rather thin and weak after a day or so, the paint losing it's body. This tends to occur mostly with commercial canvases. I have attempted to deal with the problem by going over the canvas with a layer of acrylic gesso but haven't noticed much of an improvement in the quality of the finished work. Solidity of the paint is very important and it's frustrating to see when a good painting sinks into flatness. Have you every experienced this problem? And if so, how have you dealt with it? 


  • The problem I refer to happened with this still life I recently painted. The paint looked vibrant and somewhat thick at first, but sadly sunk into flatness after a day or so. It isn't really noticeable in the photo but the texture of the canvas is too apparent making the paint layer look poor and lacking body. 
  • Gesso contains chalk which is absorbent. Trying painting over the gesso with either acrylic titanium white, or acrylic clear matt medium.
  • Painting on an oil ground is preferable but you can also use a high quality acrylic gesso. Michael Harding makes a non absorbent acrylic ground that I’ve used and found to be very good:
  • I have noticed a tremendous ''sinking in'' with cheap canvases even when sold as pre-grounded. So bad that I observed the oil on the other side of the canvas in dark yellow spots. I have prepared a cheap canvas now with a thick layer of gesso and the effect becomes much less (but it is still there to some degree actually). I counter some of this effect by oiling out the piece in between. @Richard_P thanks for the suggestion, I guess I just make a first stain of my canvas next time with acrylic + white. 
    @Leo2015 I very much like the paining by the way, nice colors and brush strokes!

  • dencaldencal -
    edited February 17
    And if so, how have you dealt with it? 
    I choose to paint on aluminium composite material with Rustoleum primer or water based metal primer.


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