Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Mad Experiments of Dr. Gessostein

Ah, the joys of gesso. I must confess that this ground/medium brings out the mad scientist in me. There is always some crazy experiment that I want to try.  Usually, the experiment comes in the form of what can I paint with gesso and turn into a surface for art

I also use it on the covers of Mead sketchbooks to turn them into journals. I discovered through experience that these inexpensive sketchbooks have surprisingly substantial paper that can take layers of painting and gluing without buckling. But how to personalize the covers? That's where low-viscosity gesso comes in. I'm not sure what I was thinking when I ordered it. Perhaps that I'd only have to add one coat to get good coverage? 

It's like working with cream cheese. At first I was a bit taken aback, but then I tried stamping into it while it was wet. Fabulous!

It also makes quite a resist. Here is the before stenciled with gesso

and after of one of my experiments. The "after" has a wash of copper and garnet paint.

Here is a resist experiment from last year. There are several layers of stamps painted with gesso, followed by washes and dry brush stippling, followed by gesso that has been colored with paint.

And here is what happens when I go quite mad with color. Can you spot the layer of gesso resist, followed by colored gesso and more paint? 

In the end, my most fiendish experiment wasn't with gesso at all. I took a simple resist page -- just a wash in shades of purple and mauve -- and used it for backdrop for the bird woman at the top of the page.

This particular bird lady is one in a series, but that's a fiendish experiment to be revealed another day. To see more inspiring ways to use gesso, visit Michelle Ward's GPP Street Team Crusade No. 25. And tell them Dr. Gessostein sent you. 


Kim Mailhot said...

The texture on these is absolutely gorgeous ! Your mad experiments should be in the training guides for gesso use, Dr. Gessostein !

Cheers to the Crusades !
(yay ! comments are back up !!!)

Stephanie said...

Who knew?? I didn't, but am learning so much from you and the other Crusaders. I'm looking forward to this weekend....all my show commitments, done! and I can PLAY!!

Robin said...

Your bird lady is amazing.

You certainly are fiendish with the gesso! I do believe I'll have to get my jar back out and play with a little more fiendishness myself!

Anonymous said...

Dr Gessostein that red, white and black stencilled piece is AWESOME. Just awesome...

Julie said...

Awesome experiments! I am late with this one and have only just started to play but should have something up over the next few days. Well done!