Fantasy Nest* of Clear Gesso and Paper
Among other things this weekend, I finally got around to playing with the paper I prepped with clear gesso and acrylic medium. I read about this over on Toni Kelly's blog, A Spattering. In fact, she currently has a piece up on her blog where she explains how she used clear gesso and the results are spectacular! I will admit to being a bit skeptical as to whether I would like this and/or could make this prep work for me. I am delighted to tell you this stuff is wonderful!
When I sat down to try the paper I had no ideas for artwork in mind so I started with some random calligraphic marks. These marks soon started to resemble the nest you see above. After the nest emerged, I went back and lifted the color with a damp brush and a tissue to create the eggs. Very cool! I also got a little heavy handed with the darks and was able to lift them and redirect some of the strands.
*This is not a real nest as far as I know. If it resembles an actual bird's, it's a happy accident.
After having fun with the nest, I started looking for other ways to use this cool prep. While at lunch on Saturday, I spotted a gentleman with a big bushy mustache and decided to see if I could lift "hair strands" to represent white hair. I lifted on the left side. The right side has no lifting. Again, a damp brush was all I used. This was done in about 15 minutes. My intent was not a finished piece, but to see if it was possible and I can see that it is! I may try incorporating this technique into some of my Santa pieces.
The little downy feather was my last attempt and probably my least successful. I put the color down and then used a damp brush to diffuse the color to give it a more downy look. I lifted out the spine/quill area in the middle of the feather. I've done other feathers on non-gessoed paper with better results. I will try it again.
My take away from all of this is:
- This prep would probably work well with other mediums like colored pencil. Especially on a paper or support where you wanted more tooth in a certain area.
- You can glaze, and layer as you would normal paper.
- It is best to put down washes and then add detail on top unless you want a diffused look. If you glaze or layer over a sharp detail, you will probably lose the sharp edge but you can repaint it. I realize this happens on regular paper, but because of the gesso, it is even more likely to happen in this situation.
- I used one part clear gesso to one part acrylic gloss medium (a little goes a long way!) It dried matte, and other than touching it, you really could not tell I had prepped the paper.
- According to Toni, you can also spray the artwork with Krylon's UV-Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating and it is not necessary to use glass! Yay! Once I have a finished piece of art, I will be trying this next step!
I will exploring further as I think this has a lot of possibilities I haven't even begun to explore! A really big thanks to Toni for sharing her knowledge - I urge you to hop over to her blog and see her work as well as read her posts on this as she has other suggestions as well.