Out to Dry

Q. While in class today, I asked my teacher about mixing gesso with water-soluble oils. I was told not to do it because the different drying times would cause the paint to crack. Is this true? If so, what would be the best medium to use to gain more texture in my paintings?

A. I don’t know whether the differing drying times of the acrylic dispersion primer and the water-miscible oil paints would cause cracking, but I agree with your teacher that this plan doesn’t seem sound. In my opinion, you shouldn’t try to make a primer perform like a paint&$151;it doesn’t have the same film-forming capabilities as a paint, and isn’t intended to be used in the way you describe.

I don’t know which brand of water-miscible oils you’re using, but several have developed mediums that can be mixed with paint to manipulate its textural qualities (Grumbacher’s line of Max mediums offers one). I encourage you to experiment with a medium specifically made for your purposes.

Jason A. Aquilino, Esq., is an associate in the law firm of Venable LLP in Washington, D.C. He practices art law, copyright, trademark, unfair competition, and entertainment and Internet law.

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