21 Day Challenge, Day 6: Gesso

Do you gesso?

Gesso is a medium that is used to cover unwanted things on the page and to also give the page a “tooth.” Having a tooth gives the other mediums you may use something to grab onto so they lay nicely on the page and give you the desired coverage, opacity, and effect you were aiming for.

It comes in different colors — clear, black, and white that I know of — and different consistencies. Some gesso is really thin and runny and some of it is hugely thick and can be spread on with a credit card or palette knife without risk of it running off the page and causing a mess. I recently purchased clear gesso and used it the other day on a project I’m working on that isn’t part of my art journal.

I love the outcome I received using the clear gesso. I used it to protect some water soluble oil pastels I laid down on the project. After dry blending the oil pastels, I knew that I was going to use other wet media in successive layers and I didn’t want the liquid media to activate the water soluble properties of the oil pastels. Using the clear gesso I was able to create a “water barrier” on the project to protect the pastels from activating while enabling me to use any other liquid medium freely. Because the gesso is clear, you can’t tell that there is even anything on top of the pastels and the gesso did not activate the water soluble properties even though the gesso is liquid.

I also loved the feel and flexibility of the project once the gesso dried. The protect was touchable and remained flexible. There will be no worries with “cracking” from the gesso — the paper is still soft and pliable.

What gessos do you use on your pages? What are some of the things you use gesso for in your work? What recommendations for others do you have for using gesso? Please share your thoughts in the Comments section and don’t forget to link your day’s page using the Mister Linky widget below.

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