Painting Over a Gessoed Canvas – Recycle That Old Canvas

by Maggie Shively in The Process of Painting

I started a simple floral today. I have been doing a lot of work recently for other people, and today I need to just paint for myself.


I started with a canvas on which I used gesso to “white out” a previous image. Gesso is a preparation of plaster of Paris and glue that you can find at most any art store. Often when I use a canvas to teach, I no longer need the demo image that I painted. I use gesso to “white out” the image so I may start something new.

IMPORTANT: Gesso is water based and therefore cannot be used over oil. Rule of thumb: Oil over water based paint(i.e. acrylic or gesso), but no water based paint over oil.


It’s good to use a recycled canvas instead of tossing it. The added bonus is usually there is some texture left from the painting under the gesso that adds a little something to the new image!

One hour in…