For yesterday’s daily journal page, I decided to experiment a little more with a technique from this week’s Lifebook 2013 lesson. It’s quite simple but in its way a revelation! There are so many fun techniques for creating a layered background for a painting or journal page, but the problem is that many use ink & paint sprays that are not waterproof–so working on top of them can ruin the background as it smears and smudges itself away into mud.
One can get around that pretty easily by simply making sure the background is thoroughly dry and then applying a layer of clear gesso (Liquitex makes this, but I don’t know who else does) with either a damp paintbrush or a damp foam brush. A small amount of reactivation does occur but it’s barely noticeable. Then you can paint, spray more ink, draw, etc., on top of the gesso and have it layer beautifully over your background instead of blending into it.
The clear gesso does have quite a strong tooth. I can see that using graphite or Prismacolor would maybe not be the thing to do. After the gesso is applied, it feels exactly like paper for soft pastels to me. I haven’t tried sanding it to see if that would cut down on its consumption of pencils.
Yesterday I did a very simple wet-on-wet background on hot press watercolor paper with reinkers. I dried it with a heat gun and applied the clear gesso, letting it dry for half an hour or so. I stamped a seahorse a few times with archival ink and then I applied a Neocolor II gold metallic water-soluble wax pastel around the edges and very lightly to a couple of spots in the middle.
When I activated the wax pastel with my water brush, the result was so unbelievably cool–bits of the metallic gold caught in the tooth of the gesso, and it just floated above the background in the most mysterious and amazing way–I love it.