A number of art students have asked me to clarify when exactly we use black gesso, liquid clear and liquid white.

We use black gesso as the first layer on a canvas.  It is allowed to dry and we then apply a fine layer of liquid clear.  It is only after this that we apply the colours we wish to add into the painting, remembering that it is the application of titanium white that brings the colours out so that they can be seen fully.  

Liquid white, on the other hand, is used on it’s own.  We apply a fine layer by scrubbing it into the grain and it is after this that we apply the wet-on-wet oil colours.