Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The first two paintings of 2009. Oh, what is it about January? I have sketched, plotted, traced, laid out on canvas and not dipped a brush into paint until yesterday. And these two paintings are in actuality experiments as they are on a gesso canvas instead of a watercolor canvas.
It was quite a different painting experience. And I wanted at first to force them to look like my other paintings. But gesso is not absorbent so paint behaves differently. And as most gesso prepared canvases are for acrylic or oil paintings it has a coarser tooth. That would be the painter term - tooth. Costume designers would talk about the weave or strands per square inch.
The tooth made it not unlike painting upon a rough watercolor paper. There is more "white" that is not covered and which adds a "light" to the painting. And the courseness stiffles details. The non-absorbency of the gesso surface made paint want to bead off the surface. That was a bit bothersome and time consuming. But the plus part of this more paint resistant surface is color could be lifted off back to the pure white of the canvas.
I particularly liked this in the skies. The clouds could have very white parts. And with a brush of clean water or a cue tip paint could be lifted off and the clouds sculpted.
So will I paint again on gesso canvas? Yes, I think I will. I think it will lend itself to vast canyon landscapes with huge skies.