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Must-Have Mixed Media Supplies – Gesso

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Gesso, Must-Have Mixed Media Supplies

GessoNatKalbach

Last month I talked about my absolute favorite and ultimate must-have mixed media supply: Acrylic Paint, but there is more 🙂 Another must-have for me is Gesso. In fact my students know me referring to Gesso as Dumbledore because it is a versatile helper that can put magic spells on your art work, or under…or in between … In any event it is an mixed media ally you want to have in your stash!

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So now there are a couple different Gessoes on the market but before I get into that let’s talk about

What I love about Gesso:

  • It can be applied to many surfaces like canvas, fabric, wood etc. and creates a prepared surface that can be painted on
  • It gives  tooth. So you can paint also surfaces where usually paint would not grab on- for example metal. Or you can prepare it for Charcoal and Pastels
  • There is thicker Gesso and thinner Gesso. You can find white, black and clear Gesso – there are even other colored Gessoes but I would say these are the most used ones
  • You can add color to it
  • It seals absorbent surfaces so that paint does not bleed – most of the pre-stretched canvases you buy in store are already primed with Gesso. You can also use it to turn a thin book paper book into an art journal
  • It is an amazing medium to add texture with tools and household items, embedding supplies or by using it with stencils etc.
  • It is the cure whenever something went totally wrong…just paint over with gesso ….I told you…it’s Dumbledore 🙂
  • White Gesso is the cheapest white paint and is matte – sometimes I don’t want this super shiny bright white and so I use the matte chalky looking white gesso
  • It is amazing to tone down or change colors of your backgrounds for example in collage with a so called white wash
  • there is a huge amount of techniques including resist techniques with gesso that you can do -ahhh- happy mixed media land

Here are some examples using Gesso:

Canvas: White Gesso over a textured  and collaged background painted over with Acrylic Paints and Oil Bars

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Art Journal Spread: Super Heavy Gesso through the Stencil included in my Stampendous Kaffee Klatsch Stamp Set

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Canvas: nice texture through stencil on canvas with Super Heavy Gesso

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Art Journal – black gesso background with Derwent Art Bars (watersoluble wax bars) and my Stampendous Fiesta Stampset and Stencil

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Canvas: Gesso on canvas partly taken off then scratched into and painted partly over with acrylic ink

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Art Journal Spread- toning down areas in art journal with Gesso spread with hotel key card

Art Journal Spread: Texture created with Gesso and then painted over with Acrylic Paint

I could go on and on because I really use Gesso all the time and there are so many ways to incorporate it into your art work!

Now… Which Gesso do I use?

First off – Disclaimer: I am a Brand Ambassador for Liquitex so naturally I tend to recommend Liquitex products. But my love for Liquitex Brand acrylics began long before I began working with the company and it is a genuine love for their products. In fact I was playing with their paints and acrylic media back then in Germany and I was just having the best of times and I shared this with the world. And that is how the relationship with Liquitex many years ago began

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As always in this series- the answer to this question is based on my preferences, my style and my experiences – what is right for me, might not be right for you

  • I do use mostly white gesso
  • If I want to create a colored Gesso I add Acrylic Paint or Ink to clear Gesso as it does not tint my color
  • I use black Gesso if I want to make colors that I use on top pop especially when I use Pan Pastel or Derwent Art Bars (water-soluble wax bars) on top
  • I use Liquitex Professional Gessoes  because I love the consistency and coverage.
  • I use either the thin liquid Gesso or I go the total opposite and use the Super Heavy Gesso especially when I use it with Stencils or for sculptural texture
  • I used to buy big buckets of white Gesso – which makes sense if you use them up in a workshop right away with lot’s of students, but now I use the 946 ml/32 oz ones at home and when I travel I use the 118 ml/4oz bottle. I just refill the small bottle now from the big one.
  • When you start out and you just want to get a feel for Gesso – the Liquitex Basics Gesso is a good start, but the consistency is a bit more gritty and that might not what you like – if you don’t, I would rather recommend the Professional one.

How about a fun tutorial video where I use Gesso to create texture?

Playing with Gesso and Acrylic Ink

You can find the supply list for the video here .

Some useful tips when working with Gesso: 

  • Any tool from brushes to texture tools or else you use with Gesso, needs to be rinsed with water right away in case you want to reuse it. If you cannot do that, store the tools in a water container until you can clean it as dried gesso will ruin your tool.
  • The same applies for stencils also because the gesso will actually clog the bridges of your stencils – so here is an exception to my rule that I do not clean my stencils.
  • Don’t pour thick gesso water down the sink drain – it can clog your sink …maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow- but maybe Thanksgiving or any other holiday- been there….done that – trust me 😉
  • Clean your tools you used with gesso first into a rag or paper towel so that most will end up in your garbage. Better yet – clean them on not yet filled art journal pages and let the magic happen later.
  • You can water down gesso but you should not use more than 25% water– if you need to thin it more, use an equal amount of water and Liquitex Fluid Matte Medium. That way the gesso won’t be broken down by the water which can affect the gesso’s ability to stick to your surface.
  • If you use Clear Gesso for the first time…do not freak out 🙂 It comes out of the jar milky white- but it dries clear

Here is a list of the supplies that I mentioned throughout this Must-Have Mixed Media Supplies – Gesso Post

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I hope you enjoyed the second installation of my Must-Have Mixed Media Supplies. See you next month for the third part!
Happy Creating

Nat

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This post currently has 5 comments.

Comments (5)

  • JoAnn Campisi

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    Thanks for the info – didn’t know about Professional Liquitex Gesso – I have always used the regular. Will definitely try it out.

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    Nice summary. I found out about gesso either from you or Julie and it is a must have supply for me now. The variety packs are a nice way to try the different kinds without a huge investment.

    Reply

  • ari

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    very interesting and useful, thank you!

    Reply

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The Picture in Our Head … Art Journal Page

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in Acrylicpaints, Art Journal, Gesso, Stamping

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What screws us up most in life…it’s the picture in our head of how it is supposed to be

-unknown source-

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This is so true- in so many ways! When you create art or in your every day life.

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Loving the colors and texture here -gesso – such a great medium to cover parts up and make everything more interesting. Love me some Gesso 🙂

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Wishing you a wonderful day…with our without a picture in your head 😉

Nat

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Nat

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This post currently has 4 comments.

Comments (4)

  • Amante del Papel

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    Fantastic AJ!

    Reply

  • Nurse Ratchet

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    Love this piece, Nat..truer words were never spoken!!

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    This quote could be my mantra for goodness sake.
    I get my idea of what life “should” be and get disappointed when it’s not.
    I continue to work on gracefully accepting what life “is” and embracing that and forgetting the preconceived notions that my mind had issued.

    Reply

  • Jackie PN

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    Isn’t that the truth?!!! Started along time ago when TV told us this is how real life is….
    now it’s hard to unlearn that! Great post Nat!

    Reply

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In my next life I wanna be a kitty …or Prima Canvas

Written by Nathalie Kalbach. Posted in CHA 2013, Gesso, Mixed Media

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I simply adore the ability of cats to sleep totally relaxed everywhere in the most fun or adorable positions. I wish I could do the same. Like on a plane…I soooo can’t sleep on a plane. Maybe it is the fear of sleeping and starting to drool on my neighbors shoulder lol 😉

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This photo is of my brother in laws kitty- don’t get fooled by this sweet innocent sleeping face…this cat is an attack cat – LOL. Nonetheless very cute 😉

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I used Anna’s new metal embellishments for Prima as well as her new stencil- so much fun to create with it for the Prima Booth at CHA.

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Prima Supplies used:
Sunrise Sunset Vintage Trinkets Mechanicals #960285
Sunrise Sunset Vintage Trinkets Mechanicals #960247
Sunrise Sunset Vintage Trinkets Mechanicals #960346
Sunrise Sunset Vintage Trinkets Mechanicals #960391
Sunrise Sunset Wood Embellishments #960216
Sunrise Sunset Stencil 6×6 #960179
Sunrise Sunset Fabric & Washi Tape #564872
Sunrise Sunset Flowers #565190
Queen Mary Flower Smoke #566197
Mini Sachet Winter #565992
Mini Sachet Pearl #566036
 
Other:
Liquitex Gesso
Liquitex Gel Medium
Liquitex Acrylic Ink
Liquitex Professional Spraypaint
Burlap
Cheesecloth
Tissuepaper
Wire

Are you able to sleep on a plane?

I wish you an amazing sunny day – and I will be back with photos from L.A. soon …and CHA 😉

Huge hugs

Nat

Nat

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This post currently has 21 comments.

Comments (21)

  • petyvic

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    i love this piece of art, but, could you tell about the process? or is this a special class…thanks for showing your talent!

    Reply

  • Kathy P

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    Nope, I can’t sleep on a plane. Recently flew to and from Hawaii to east coast…not a wink either way! Love how you used the canvas!

    Reply

  • Susan M. Brown {sbartist}

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    Sorry to admit it Nathalie – I too am like a cat. I can sleep anywhere…even in the noisiest of places. Sleep is such a precious commodity – I squeeze it in wherever I can…yet I was also too wound up to sleep on the plane…so I’m feeling the jetlag today. Hope you have a wonderful break before your travels home 🙂

    Reply

  • louison

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    Superbe!! J,aime beaucoup la texture!!

    Reply

  • butterfly

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    This is a fantastic canvas – the textures are just to die for! Glorious embellishing too… love those concentric bottle tops. Also want to say a quick thank you for all the amazing stuff going on in Jumpstart – brilliant start to the year!
    Alison x

    Reply

  • SusanJane

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    I cannot sleep on the way there, but on the way back I am soooo tired that I can’t stay awake! Really nice cat piece — good balance and love the subtle color.

    Reply

  • Miriam

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    Love, love, love This lay-out!

    Reply

  • Sue A.

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    Beautiful layout, love all the layers and your color choices and the embellishments! And the kitty is cute too. I haven’t flown in so long I don’t know if I could sleep on a plane or not. I would probably be too scared or excited to sleep since it’s been so long! Safe travels, and thanks so very much for Jumpstart!!!!

    Reply

  • Conny

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    Ich muss zugeben – ich hab mal zuerst die beine gezählt – nach kopfdrehen – glaub ich hab ich die position kapiert, wie sie liegt 😉 catisutra? also für ein eichhörnchen wie mich, ist das bild nicht so toll weil ich dann erst auf die layers geschaut hab – klasse – sieht einfach toll aus und schon sooo viele neue goodies ….

    Reply

  • suzannebouchard

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    I love this cat! And your page!

    Reply

  • Candy

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    Your layout is lovely as I am a cat lover. And I find it very hard to sleep on a plane just in case I droul or snore lol.

    Reply

  • Sue Clarke

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    I can sleep on a plane or anywhere for that matter. No drool but snoring is a real possibility.

    Reply

  • mjmarmo

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    I just love your backgrounds!! And such a sweet kitty!! I cannot sleep on the plane. I hope you did.

    Reply

  • rains

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    Making me want some new Prima! I can NOT sleep on a plane. Even the trips I’ve taken to Australia. I catch up on movies.

    Reply

  • sparkledaysstudio

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    Oh Nathalie, this is quite fun, it made me smile. I am so enjoying Creative Jumpstart, glad I jumped in, thanks so much for your inspiration and for putting it altogether. xox

    Reply

  • andrenesmith

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    LOVE this canvas….so much texture..its perfect. The black & white theme with just a splash of color really makes the kitty stand out. I too have issues with sleeping on a plane. I have been on only 1 overseas flight and I was MISERABLE.

    Reply

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