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.
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 !!!