Every now and then, instead of painting on an already prepared surface, I need to use something raw. A raw surface can be anything from board, Masonite, unprimed canvas -- you name it. Raw surfaces need to be prepared so the oil in the paint doesn't absorb into the surface and therefore change the composition (and color) of the paint.
But I never remember which product to use -- gesso (pronounced jess'-oh) or primer. (?) So I Googled it. This site, Spaces Between the Gaps, was full of particularly helpful information. In the "all about gesso" section toward the bottom of the article, I more or less determined that Liquitex acrylic gesso would be the right thing to use for what I was doing....more or less. (It was a long article -- lots or words.)
For this particular art project (in the works), I bought a sheet of hardboard Masonite from one of my favorite hardware stores. (I love hardware stores.) After measuring, I used a skill saw to cut the Masonite down to size, and then lightly sanded the smooth surface. After sanding, I applied two layers of Liquitex acrylic gesso, with drying time in between.
By and large, the general impression of the life of an artist is a romantic one. Even though all of that prep work is part of the artistic process, there's nothing creative about doing it. It's very basic and even mundane. Before a runner races, she/he exerts considerable sweat, effort, and miles in preparation for a race. Just like the runner, SO much of being an artist is hours and hours of basic prep work. Hopefully, it all adds up to something wonderful and truly creative when we finally reach the finish line. In the meantime, it's gesso much work.