Using gesso with watercolour
I came across an article that described the use of a gesso ground for use with watercolour. A gesso ground causes a few problems, but it also creates a number of opportunities, not found when working on more traditional surfaces. Gesso is an acrylic based paint and therefore waterproof when dry. It is great for creating very smooth surfaces on mdf boards, card and watercolour paper. It can be applied with a brush, a palette knife if you want a little texture, or even with a roller. In fact, painting on gesso will open up lots of great watercolour painting ideas.
A Different Approach
If you use the traditional wet on wet techniques you have to be aware of puddling because the surface is not absorbent. However, the effects you can create if you work quickly can be wonderful. Working wet on dry also requires a slight change in application. Because the paint is not absorbed, but sits on the surface, floating a wet layer of paint has to be done when the first layer is completely dry.
That means completely dry. It also has to be done quickly and with one stroke. Sweeping the brush backwards and forwards will cause the two layers of paint to mix. Lots of watercolour painting ideas can come from an usual starting point in this case, a gesso ground.
The great advantage of using a gesso ground is that paint can be removed easily with clean water and a cloth without staining. Therefore, it is possible with a fine brush and clear water to remove fine lines of paint revealing the white gesso ground.This technique is great for fine detail.
It is well worth experimenting with a gesso ground. Be prepared to adapt your technique to a none absorbent surface. Finished works do need to be displayed under class to stop damage to the surface.
Want to learn more about colour mixing? Check out my tutorial on Colour Ideas for your Painting
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