Tuesday, November 18, 2008

GPP Street Team Crusade #25 - Properties of Gesso

What I love about Michelle's GPP Street Team Crusades is that she encourages us to stop and take the time.

Sometimes it is to take the time to just to play, or to learn a new technique. Or sometimes, to take the time to ponder some of life's questions. I think the talented Madame Ward's best talent is just that...she encourages us to take the time and then to share what we experience. How cool is that ? ;-)

So this month, Michelle encouraged us to take the time to play with the properties of gesso. I think I used gesso for the first time about two years ago when I was lucky enough to go on an art workshop to Puerto Vallarta Mexico at the Hacienda Mosaico. The week long workshop was called "The Ultimate Painted Page" and was taught by Anne Bagby and Lynne Perrella. It was an amazing experience and I learned so, so much about painted backgrounds for two fantastic pros ! Strangely enough, though I would definitely take that workshop with Anne and Lynne again in a heart beat, I don't think I would ever do it again in a tropical or exotic locale. I was so caught up with the wonderful workshop fun that I saw way too little of beautiful Puerto Vallarta !!! It was an experience of a life time though !

Anyhoo, back to the Crusade...

When I saw Michelle's challenge to us, I immediately got out my journal from the workshop. I realized that I didn't do many gesso techniques other than to prime my pages with some brush stroke texture. One thing I did discover was that gesso comes in a variety of colors - white, black and even gold ! Yes, gold ! One participant had a jar of it and shared it with everyone. I thought it was from Golden but when I searched for it on line, I found that it was probably from Daniel Smith Art Supplies where they have several different colors of gesso. The gold was beautiful - metallic in a subtle way but a great base for more earthy tones of paint and lovely with Golden Fluids or acrylic washes of color on top. I added that gesso to my Christmas list - it is definitely worth trying out again with a jar of my own !

Here's one of my journal pages from the workshop with it - it didn't photograph well enough to show it's richness but you can get the idea :

While I don't have the gold gesso (yet !!), I did recently invest in a jar ot the Golden Black Gesso and I love it so much !! It is smooth and rich and creamy and does a beautiful job with stamps too. Here are some sample of my gesso play from this weekend :

Black Gesso with hand carved rubber stamps (yea again for Michelle's Crusades). Gesso was applied on bottom layer - stamped and resist.

White gesso as first layer - scribbled with edge of credit card for added texture. Magenta and blue paint wash middle layer. Black gesso on top with brush and through sequin trim. Hard to see but another wash of gold and red on top layer

close up showing the credit card scrapes

White gesso bottom layer, stamped with puzzle piece to add texture. Blue and gold acrylic coat over top. Golden Fluid Magenta and water pooled on top and left to dry. I sanded the gesso resist areas with a little sand paper to get the shapes to stand out more.

Ist layer on a chipboard kids book I am covering for a Xmas-gift to be - white gesso with leaf hand carved stamp

White gesso with hand carved stamps along the edges (leaves) and applied with a brush on the rest of the page on 1st layer. Orange monoprints (I used to call it blob painting with my kids - ;-)). See how the gesso gave my blobs cool texture from underneath ? Reminds me of topography or something.

So here what playing with gesso this weekend taught me :

Gesso is so fantastic for adding texture and depth to a background and it does amazing things with paints too.

I learned that I am impatient when it comes to letting things dry and it is hard for me to leave things overnight. I also learned that gesso can be sped up with a heat gun but not too quickly as it bubbles and makes a mess when it melts. Great stuff just takes time, Kim ! Get over it !

I learned that while you can always make things work with the cheaper, everyday stuff you have around, there is also a reason why luxurious stuff is great once in a while too. I am worth the champagne of gesso every now and then !!!!

I love to take the time to just play. Thanks, Michelle, for the encouragement to take the time to do just that.

Now get playing, Crusaders !!!


Jennifer said...

I love that "the chamapagne of gesso". Awesome play. I haven't used gesso in a while...or painted for that matter. I need 100 stretchy arms so I can do all of the fun things that I love

Anonymous said...

The champagne of gesso? LOL Nice job, Kim! I like all of your pages...and I agree about the Street Team..I love taking the time. :)

michelle ward said...

kim - isn't it amazing how something we have had around for a while can suddenly have new life? fun to hear about your first experience with gesso, and then how you 'took the time' to investigate it's properties. these backgrounds are great, and i will wager you will never forget the lessons you taught yourself. LOVE that you used your own carvings too. thanks for sharing with the team girl!

Anonymous said...

These are beautiful - I also love your carved stamps. Like the black gesso - that's the next thing to buy on my list. Hugs.

Laura Bray said...

Love the one with your hand-carved stamp!

Elizabeth said...

Oh I jsut love all of your texture!!!
Lucky you to have such a fabulous experience with both Anne Bagby AND Lynne Perrella!!!
Great job1

arlene said...

I haven't been doing much art journaling. I think it's time. I need to dig out the gesso.

I love your pages...great backgrounds!
xo arlene

Anonymous said...

It is *so* cool to see you using stamped you had carved on an earlier crusade. The pages you've done look really interesting. And as for gold gesso - far out!

Lorraine said...

champagne of gesso..well I know why as it looks very rich..love all the textures on your backgrounds

Unknown said...

Great pieces. Being patient with Gesso is challenging!
Michelle Brown
Melbourne Australia

Kim Tedrow said...

I LOVE seeing workshop energy in action! Your work shines, and I love your carving. -Kim

me2 said...

GREAT! I really need to go back and play a little more with the gesso after seeing this!

Anonymous said...

Hello Kim,

workshop with Anne Bagby and Lynn Perella ? !!!!Which artangels do you have ?...

I really love Anne Bagby's textures in her papers. I wish I could see her do it ( but YOU DID) and Lynn Perella, I love her "let it go" effects she has in her work. I'm sometimes too "straight", can't be loose enough...
You must have learned so much with these artists !!

I thought I did a discovery with black gesso, but you discovered gold ! If it has the same consistance of the white and the black, I guess it gives beautiful effects on the papers.

I like to see your experiments ( I'm still busy... just one day left...). The imprint you made with the puzzlepiece really gives a great texture and I also like the scribbling you did. "let it go" is something I can learn from you too.

greetings from Belgium

Robin said...

Oh yeah, baby...gold gesso, hand carved stamps and glee! Fabulous pages.

Anonymous said...

Love your idea of using the puzzle piece as a stamp! That is really cool! :D

Anonymous said...

Kim, you have so much wonderfulness (if that's even a word) going on here. And to top it all off, an adventure with Lynne and Ann! Of course you never got to see the scenery -- who could tear herself away? I'm really looking forward to hearing more about it in another post.

But getting back to gesso, I love all of your experiments here and the revelation of gold gesso -- wow!