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To properly prepare your painting surface, you need to cover it with some type of ground, depending on your medium of choice. The correct ground creates an ideal surface absorbency and tooth for your paint. For oil painting, this is often gesso, made of plaster, chalk, gypsum or other white material mixed with glue. The more recent invention of absorbent watercolor ground opens up the possibility of using water media on more surfaces than just watercolor paper. Whatever your medium, it’s key to choose a high-quality ground that won’t affect the characteristics of your paints or deteriorate over time. Find some of our favorite choices for different media gathered here.