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September 2013



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Joseph on Gesso--Eyes

I'm working on the update of my original Watercolor Tricks and Techniques book, which came out 20 years ago this year. LOTS of new materials and surfaces, but also we're wanting to include more inspirations and examples--HOW some of these techniques could be utilized instead of just swatches of color with the trick used.

This is a detail of a larger work, watercolor painted on non-absorbent gesso. It's a challenging, exciting and somewhat unpredictable technique--the color floats on the surface, so it tends to puddle and get hard edges. You can lift color back almost to white, and sometimes more than you mean to, so it's a dance--lifting a bit of color with a damp brush, adding some back in, lifting, adding...

You can scratch through the paint with a sharp blade--in this case an X-acto knife--to regain fine white lines as I did in the brows.

A GREAT deal of fun, and as I said, very exciting, but slow...


Hi Brie! I like your painting, too...it IS an interesting technique, isn't it? I've used a variation on this theme from time to time for more years than I should admit--something like 40!--but I don't do it often because of the drying time for the gesso, isn't that silly?!

I've found that to be true about the absorbency of various gessoes, too, thanks for the reminder--I should say that in the book!

I used several different grounds of that type in the original of the book, and have updated samples for the new edition, as well as trying out the new WC grounds (I think I prefer acrylics for their permanency.)

I mixed marble dust into medium for one of the demos--guess I'll have to try the pumice mediums, thanks for the tip!