Today I took time to gesso a bunch of small canvases! Its exciting to have canvases prepped just the way I like - all ready to go!
I really don't like the course texture of most canvas so I apply three or four coats of good acrylic gesso. Using a nice house painting brush, I put a somewhat thick layer of gesso on the surface and sides of the canvas then pull the brush carefully across the surface keeping the strokes going evenly all the way across. I let that dry, sand, then apply another coat. This time the final strokes are perpendicular to the first ones, keeping a subtle "weave" texture. The process continues - drying, sanding and alternating direction for each layer. Plenty of tooth but not too course!