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Old 10-09-04, 04:07 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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Default Colored Gesso

Is anyone else experimenting with colored gesso? I developed a black chalk gesso that I'm having a lot of fun with.
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Old 12-09-04, 07:53 PM
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RobM RobM is offline
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Alessandra
As the result of some research (which turned out to be false) prior to the Botticelli project I was involved in, I had heard that the gesso under 'The Birth of Venus' was blue.
I mixed up some gesso, added some ultramarine and when applying the gesso I found it got very 'claggy'. ( Wot a wonderful word.... :grin: )
The gesso just seemed to drag and it did not work for me, thank goodness 'cos a few days later I had to gesso up a 10' x 6' canvas!!!!!
Rob
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Old 14-08-05, 08:48 PM
dakini_painter
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Default colored gesso

Hello,

I just joined the forum, though have been aware of the STP for a few years. I've just started getting back to painting in ET. I just saw your post on colored gesso.

I've used a 'red' gesso made with chalk and pozzuoli earth (4:1 by volume). I like the results compared to a straight chalk ground, but I'm having difficulty expressing why. The absorbancy is a little different than straight chalk. Yet given the way I paint I can't say whether there's any optical difference in the end results.

it is said that later in his career Braque (an oil painter :-) used a black ground as he felt the resulting colors were richer.

Regards,
cheryl
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Old 08-09-05, 06:28 PM
Alessandra Kelley Alessandra Kelley is offline
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There might be a slight difference in absorbency between the black gesso and regular white. The black gesso seems a bit softer, needs a little more rabbitskin glue. I'm using Mars Black, because it's so intense. The gesso looks silvery when mixed, and when dry and sanded gives a surface which, if not pitch black, is at least as black as black drawing paper.

I'm not surprised ultramarine blue gave a weird texture to your gesso, Rob (I agree that "claggy" is a great word, but what does it mean?), when you consider how weird the texture of ultramarine can get on its own in water -- I've had ultramarine vary from gooey like Elmer's glue to squeaky-hard like cornstarch and water. It is definitely one of the stranger-behaving pigments.
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Old 16-09-05, 04:33 PM
dakini_painter
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Default claggy

From the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, Revised Tenth Edition:

claggy * adj. Brit. dialect: tending to form sticky lumps


Now I'm curious. With the dark surface, do the colors appear richer?
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Old 17-09-05, 07:53 PM
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Most of my paintings have multi-toned gesso grounds, medium gray in the shadows, bright white where appropriate. I found that if I used only black and marble for the gray the tone would change depending on glue strength. By adding titanium the tone is more consistent. The first time I tried it, I found large white specks (up to 2 mm) in the sanded gesso due to unmixed clumps of titanium. I now make my basic white by combining ten parts (by weight) of marble dust with four parts titanium and working the mixture through a ďgoldĒ coffee filter with a painting knife. Itís a pain but results in a beautiful ground that can be left bare in white passages. The mix makes a creamier gesso that flows out better during application and resists cracking better than marble alone. Iíve made blue grounds using phthalo blue. Because of its high tinting strength not much is required and it doesnít seem to affect the working properties of the final gesso. I use the coffee filter method to combine the color with the basic white mix.

Doug
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Old 18-09-05, 03:23 PM
turlogh turlogh is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DLH
Most of my paintings have multi-toned gesso grounds, medium gray in the shadows, bright white where appropriate.
I don't understand. You make the gesso different colors in different places, according to the design of the painting? If so, how?
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Old 19-09-05, 05:20 AM
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David,

On top of a panel covered with 2mm plain gesso I apply about 1mm half tone gray and sand it out. Using diamond grinding pins between 1 and 8mm diameter I route areas that are one quarter gray. I strive for a depth of .7mm, .5mm minimum. I apply one quarter gray gesso to the routed areas with a bristle brush, taking care to scrub into the edges. I donít worry about getting gesso on unrouted areas. I apply two more coats with a large painting knife. When dry I sand these areas, stopping when the edges start to show through. I repeat the process for one eighth gray, then one sixteenth, and finally pure white. I find that having the very light areas pre-modeled is important because white and very light gray oil paint has poor covering power in the thin smooth film I strive for. In the final sanding I remove the last traces of overflow. The result is incredible. Each tone is perfectly even, and the edges fuse. I executed this painting, http://higden.net/painting-wcs/5-new...ws-sliced.html using the gesso technique alone. I used nine distinct tones. I employed the method in my one egg tempera, but Iím thinking that because ET has superior covering power and can be over-painted soon after application, it may not be worth the trouble.

Doug


This is a picture of my routers. The accordion pleat hose goes to a shop vac. Good dust collection is essential.

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Old 19-09-05, 03:33 PM
turlogh turlogh is offline
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Thanks. That clarifies things a lot. I've never heard of anyone using this technique before. How much time does it take?
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Old 20-09-05, 05:24 AM
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David,

Painting #7 took 26 hours, #8 took 31, #13 took 23, and #11and #12 took 15 hours each. This includes panel preparation. Other than the total gesso picture, the most time consuming was the painting the routers are photographed on. It took 58 hours. It may seem like a lot of time but it averages only 16.5% of the total painting. Besides setting local values, the technique provides a detailed drawing that doesnít get lost under subsequent paint.

Doug
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