Thursday, 6 November 2008

WATER COLOUR ON GESSO

I have for so long admired Sandy Maudlin (click on link on right) and her teachings. For a long time have promised myself I would try the technique of watercolour washes over gesso background on watercolour paper. At last, in readiness for a Christmas Show at Holt, I am preparing some work in this style.

As the show is in north Norfolk, I decided to get together any of my landscapes of the region and add a few new ones from my store of personal photographs over the years I have lived in East Anglia. I am not keen on using photos but as long as they are my own there is no copyright problem and, at least, I have visited the scene in question and was captivated by the subject and particular composition.


I chose this colourful image of a boat moored in Brancaster Staithe*. For this first one I applied the gesso not too thickly with a large brush and it has left stroke marks which are quite interestingly showing through the water colour. The painting measures 16 x 20 inches and has a double cream mount in a rather snazzy silver frame.
* just edited this post as its location was confirmed by a north Norfolk landscape artist friend. I had difficulty knowing where exactly I took the photo as I did a series on the same day as I travelled along the coastline.

11 comments:

Sandy Maudlin said...

Way to go! Such beautifully pristine colors - this painting sings. Congrats on trying gesso. I like the texture the brush strokes make, but if you want a smoother surface, you can 'roll' the damp gesso with a roll of good paper towels to smooth it out or you can lightly sand the dried gesso - with very fine grade sandpaper, after applying two coats of gesso. Looknig forward to the next one. Good luck with the show...wish I could see it!

caseytoussaint said...

This is beautiful, Joan. I agree - the colors are delightfully pure. I've done some watercolor on gesso, but I find it very difficult to control. You make me want to do some more thogh- thanks for th inspiration!

Robyn said...

And I tried it because Casey tried it! You make me want to try again. Luscious texture, Joan and your beautiful deft hand with watercolour shines through.

RHCarpenter said...

Lovely painting, Joan, and the gesso texture just adds to it :) You may want to play up that texture even more by moving your brushstrokes around - left, right, up down, etc.
Good luck on the show!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Appreciate all your kind words. Thanks for all your advice Sandy and Rhonda. Cant wait to get home and start the second one(am at my daughters).

carol said...

Lovely colours. Is it Brancaster Staithe? Gesso alters the behaviour of watercolour, doesn't it. Did a course with Ann Blockley on this very subject. Of course she has it mastered. Have you tried it with acrylic? Will watch for your next painting.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Hi Carol - I've got a problem with remembering where I took this photo for this watercolour on gesso, as I popped in along the coast from Hunstanton to Wells taking photos as I went. I'm not sure if it was Brancaster or Holme with that special wooden structure at the back. So I'll have to think of a title that will cover both??? I checked out Ann Brockley - like her work.

mARTa said...

Well since evreyone else is trying this I want to try too! The color sings Joan!!! I'll have to re-read your entry because I'm not sure if you gessoed watercolor paper or a canvas. Beautiufl painting!

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Good luck Marta. I used 200lb (425gsm) weight Bockingford NOT watercolour paper. Afraid my second attempt is not so fresh probably because I used gesso tinted with a little pink to give a warm glow. Look forward to seeing yours posted.

Carolann said...

This one is lovely, I visited Holt for the first time last week when we went to the Thurston Xmas Show. It was all christmassy and quaint. I wished I had my camera with me. Nice to see some scenes I know.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Yes Carolann, Holt has become an artists mecca with lots of different galleries and gorgeous teashops. Looking forward to delivering my work tomorrow and having lunch with two local friends, so I can see the town all 'Christmassy'