Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Brushed Gesso Technique (Port of Sacramento en plein air...kinda)



Before I painted on this 8"x10" canvas, I heavily gessoed over the previous painting. This quickie sketch started out en plein air and was completed in my studio from a photo I snapped. I like the motion one gets from the gesso brush marks that underlay the painting. And when you lightly drag a brush over these marks, they pick up the paint on the top ridges while leaving the previously painted area in the valleys untouched. This can make for a nice effect. The second painting has been wiped with a towel with a little light yellow paint on it. I once read about a Canadian artist that wipes his paintings with a light hue to unify the image. So I tried it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

14 comments:

Ed Terpening said...

I've started to paint over old paintings to save money, after a light sanding. I love it! I leave little bits of the old painting show here and there--creates lots of "happy accidents".

David Lobenberg said...

Have you posted any yet? Would love to see them, Ed. I'm hoping to post some more gessoed over paintings soon. Hey, why have a bunch of rejects lying around when you can paint over them?!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I thought you couldn't do that. Just goes to show there are no rules.
I particularly like industrial sites. Also, Trevor Chamberlain uses the heavily gessoed surface which really adds to the picture for me. In fact, I just gessoed over some prepared boards I bought to get more texture.

Bill Sharp said...

This is another interesting one. As in the water tower painting, I like the slight fisheye perspective and the strong abstract foreground is a great contrast to the building which is so close in value to the sky (almost gives it a feeling of an apparition).

I think that brush strokes underneath a painting surface can be distracting when they're obviously not related to the image. Kind of like those cheap reproductions made to look like paintings by printing on brush-stroke embossed material. In this case, though, I think it's effective. It kind of relates to the high contrast shadows.

I used to do mixed media pastel paintings on paper that I prepared by coating it with plaster and let it crack and peel away in places as I painted. They were pretty fragile but I like the accidents that were forced by working this way.

David Peterson said...

David,
That's nice. You left out the water, and I like that. The unifying wash works but I don't think this one needed it. I have done watercolor on gessoed paper with the same brush mark effect, then put a colored tranparent acrylic wash over all that.
Keep it up!
David

David Lobenberg said...

Mary: Have fun painting over your gessoed boards. I think art buyers really appreciate that texture.

David Lobenberg said...

You are right Bill. This textured gesso business has the potential of becoming gimmicky.

David Lobenberg said...

Hey David: The water color you did this last Saturday out at the port REALLY ROCKS! Wasn't the exercise we got great?!

chubirka said...

nifty technique, do you gesso over oil when reusing a canvas? and with the light color wash, is that in oil?

David Lobenberg said...

Chubirka: Thank you for visiting! My work is in acrylic, but I know that what I'm doing here works in oil as well. So yes, I gesso over old acrylic paintings so I not only get texture with the brush sweeps as I'm applying the gesso but a little bit of texture from the previous painting. At the very end, I take a rag with some yellow paint on it and rubbed it over the entire painting. I used some acrylic medium to dilute the yellow and keep it transparent. I suppose that in oil, you would add some turp.

chubirka said...

David,
Thanks for the clarification/info...

Only thing is you would not want to use turp for an oil wash/glaze at the end or you would dissolve the paint below.

Fat over lean... :)

David Lobenberg said...

Chubirka: Shows you what I know about oil painting...not much! I'll leave oil discussions up to the experts such as yourself. Come to think about it, what would you use to apply a thin, transparent wash over an oil painting?

chubirka said...

I would use an oil glaze... a little paint mixed with the oil medium of your choice (pale drying). check out my Grisaille post.

I work in acrylics too, and was happy to see how you did that. It looks really rich. Glad you took the risk...

David Lobenberg said...

Thanks, Chirburka, for setting me straight on that. I'll check your Grisaille post.