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This is the first of my encaustic blogs so, seeing as I have this wonderful new product ‘Encaustic gesso’ by Matisse, I thought it opportune to sing it’s glories !

9fdda58020c5c75f261b4da9b742054bSo why use a gesso ground ?

Gesso grounds allow us to:

  • create a fabulous bright white toothy surface to work on which allows for better adhesion of the wax medium
  • apply a huge variety of media directly to the gessoed surface before adding any wax e.g graphite, charcoal, soft pastel, watercolours, oils, gouache, coloured pencils, marker pens etc
  • omit the initial beeswax ‘primer’ layers
  • save money by priming our own substrates



What about using acrylic gesso with encaustic?

It is not advised to use acrylic gesso underneath your wax painting as traditionally it has been considered that acrylic gessoes are archivally unsound. The acrylic surface doesn’t have enough tooth and is not absorbent enough to accept the wax. The painting can eventually delaminate from  the acrylic surface.

To ensure that your artwork is archival, keep your art buyers and galleries happy by using gesso that is made specifically for encaustic.

That way your art will last for centuries and potentially for as long as the Fayum Portraits !

5 Fayum


Matisse Encaustic gesso provides an easy alternative to creating a surface for encaustic painting. Used straight from the container, High Tooth Gesso dries to a white, matte surface that provides much more “bite” than standard gessoes. More importantly, it is water-based and contains no acrylic resins that would make the surface too smooth and refined for the application of wax. Although pre-treated encaustic painting boards are also available, using Matisse High Tooth Gesso allows the artist to customize the surface of their project and it is also more economical.

The use of Matisse High Tooth Gesso caters for all techniques and methods of encaustic painting and ensures that your artwork will remain stable for as long as possible.

Mm36 Range 390x250

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