Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Why do you need clear gesso?

I used to ask myself why I would need clear gesso. Gel medium seals surfaces and then you can layer over, and white gesso does the job to prep plain paper. So why would you spend money on yet another art supply? This year I've found the answer....
I first used it HERE when I wanted to stop pens bleeding up through my layers
and it's a great solution for being able to use shiny magazine images as a collaged layer - apply clear gesso
and then you are able to apply other mediums over the top 
This was my paint over collage Life Book lesson. The clear gesso gives lovely 'tooth'/grip - here it is wet
and I like the  brush markings it can leave as another textural layer once it's dry and being worked over
Katie Kendrick used clear gesso in her Documented Life project to seal her photo transfers so she could add a layer of coloured pencils and pastels. 
In the Documented Life project in June, Lorraine Bell shared how she uses clear gesso as a surface for watercolour in a non-watercolour paper journal. Go HERE for that post.
I used it in Week 35 of Documented Life to seal my watercolour layer so that I could add more watercolours and acrylics on top without re-activating and blending colours.
In my Life Book lesson with Jeanne Oliver, she used clear gesso over neocolor II crayons to set and layer colours on the face - again I liked the extra texture this gave and it was easy to work over with additional layers because it was sealed as well.
I don't do bible art journaling, but I somehow came across this post the other day which is about using clear gesso to prep your pages. This is another great use : strengthening and adding tooth to a thin page so you can then add art materials, and also for being able to still read the text beneath (white gesso as you know disguises the print).
For some other ways to incorporate clear gesso in your work check out Finnabair's blog - including using it with a palette knife for texture in your background or through a stencil
You can read about Finnabair's Art Basics clear gesso HERE and it's one of Tam's favourite supplies. Also worth a read is Rhonda Palazarri's post where she compares clear gesso and matte medium - you might not always like the effect of clear gesso.
I think clear gesso is useful for a number of purposes and a great addition to your supplies. In summary, my favourite use is if you like using a variety of papers and various wet media and you're not sure how the next layer will react - you can apply a layer of clear gesso over the entire surface of variables and have a unified surface with a nice tooth, and all your lower layers still visible (and I like the look of any brush strokes). You could also add colour to clear gesso to get gritty texture and permanence for watersoluble mediums!
As with other supplies, I don't spend big when I can get away with a cheaper alternative. I use the following which I probably chose because I got it on special!
Happy creating :-)


Zsuzsa Karoly-Smith said...

Great write-up on the uses of clear gesso! Never tried the Winsor and Newton one, only Liquitex. I find the Liquitex a bit too grainy. Is the W&N smoother, I wonder? That might be next on my shopping list, once the Liquitex runs out.

Lynette (NZ) said...

Can't answer that I'm afraid - I quite like the texture of my W&N but haven't tried another. The link to the bible journaling talks about this though and her fav is the Art Basics Finnabair brand.

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