wood panel painting is gessoed over

Mixed Media Struggle 3: Gesso is my New Undo Button


My original idea for this painting was to somehow produce a piece of art that took on the characteristics of multiple posters stapled onto a wooden surface.

But the image I had wanted to transfer (below) didn’t work, and the image I did transfer went wrong.

not very happy

painting on wood panel with spackle/medium/pebble texture applied
painting on wood panel with spackle/medium/pebble texture applied

June 9, 2011.  I loved the look of grit in the spackle, and went a bit nuts scraping the mix with a palette knife to form streaky lines. In the process I managed to cover up my worst image transfer as well the bad edges of the other two. But when Jeanne (our instructor) came around to look at the painting she muttered something about the visual elements —the square wood transfers; the wildly organic texture—being potentially difficult to work with…

June 15, 2011. A week later I realized what just Jeanne was saying; my addition of the plaster texture had sent the painting went off in an entirely different direction. My original intention for this piece has been completely lost and no longer works.

June 20, 2011. So now for the cover-up: gesso over the whole damn thing! It’s somewhat ironic that I started this piece by asking, “Where’s the undo button?“ And so have now answered my question. For acrylics, gesso is the undo button.

Now the painting looks much better, and the textures of the pebbles and gouges remind me of grasses with seed heads blowing in the wind. But a piece about grasses is so far off the radar that I have put it aside for now.

On the other hand, I managed to pick up this enchanting weed on the way home and laid it down on the panel. Maybe…

A few more thoughts on using gesso as a cover up.
  • Jeanne, our instructor, was against using gesso to cover up a piece, suggesting that instead we put the piece aside for awhile, and look at it with fresh eyes a few months later.
  • Another student, who had a background in fabric arts, had painted her initial piece with acrylic mixed with fabric dyes. When the piece stalled, she ended up covering the whole painting with gesso. In her case, the fabric dyes bled through the gesso, and created this soft cloudy sky effect. From here she was able to move forward with a rather dreamy effect that would be very hard to achieve any other way.
  • Another student was having nightmares about her painting, jumping out of bed every few hours to check it out. Finally she painted the whole thing over with gesso, “and then I was finally able to sleep.”

Our super instructor’s site: http://jeannekrabbendam.com/ On her site she has her work and offers lots of different workshops and courses.

Mixed Media Class Experience:

Class 1 Image Transfer

Class 2 Textures and Struggles


2 thoughts on “Mixed Media Struggle 3: Gesso is my New Undo Button

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