Monday, February 16, 2009

Fantasy Preps and Artwork


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.

Lifting Hair

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.
Downy Feather

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.

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for showing your process and for the tips!

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  2. This turned out wonderful! I have seen this on Toni's blog and I still don't have any gesso. After seeing yours I NEED to go get some!!

    Thanks for describing your process and different trials.

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  3. Teri, go ahead and get the medium as well if you don't have any. It is quite an interesting effect. Definitely worth playing around with!

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  4. Wow! This looks great! Never heard of using a combo of gesso and acrylic medium as a ground. Looks like it has real possibities. So are you saying it's much easier to lift color from this surface as opposed to regular water color paper?

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  5. You were one of the artists I was thinking about when I wrote that, Teresa, with your recent explorations into other supports. It is much, much easier to lift *watercolor* pigment. I am not so sure that it would be easier to lift colored pencil as I think the pencil might become imbedded in the gesso.

    I was thinking it might be a "fix" for when you had saturated the paper and needed more tooth because it dries transparent OR if you have a subject that you know is going to require more saturation than your favorite support allows. Prep the support before you begin.

    There are so many possibilities it's hard to keep track of them all! I think there is potential there for getting different effects as well that I haven't even dabble in - yet!! Please let me know if you decide to give it a go!

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