Why do I prime my canvas and paper with a red-orange gesso? Well, frankly, I was taught this technique in art college. This was the beginning of my classical training.
Recently, I found out that original gesso was a brick red color of... red lead (yikes!) - the lead acted as a barrier to prevent the oil paint from deteriorating the delicate cotton canvas.
Looking at early European paintings, have you noticed bits of the undercoat of red gesso peeking through? I purposely let some of the undercoat of my gesso peek through because I like the overall zing it adds to the artwork.
Holbein Artist Acrylic Paints have twenty-two different colors of gesso. I use their Carmine Red as my gesso and the first layer of color. Every artist has different ways of doing things - this is what I do.
Watch the demo and you will see how I apply my gesso and start the painting.
After this coat has dried, I block in the darks and lights with paint, based on where the light is coming from. (please note: I decide at the very beginning of a painting where the light source is coming from.)
This BobBlast demo shows how I paint-sketch a pear. It is all about the dark color against the light color. The red-orange ground of the gesso is my mid-tone. The painting begins to take shape when I use short, choppy strokes - I like to say get in - get out - the color stays vibrant instead of getting muddy.
The surface for this week's demo is a new wooden panel from Cheap Joe's, called Joe Miller's Signature Series Extra Deep Gesso Painting Panels - finished in a beautifully smooth, double-coated acrylic gesso. My paints are Holbein Artist Acrylics.
Get the lead out!
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