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Thursday, 15 January 2015

Spotlight on Gesso.......Journal HeART week 3

Hi Journallers!! Welcome to week 3!!

At the group's request today I am starting to cover the product basics that we see banded around Art Journalling. 

We will be taking a look at Gesso and some of it's uses. This will be a far from comprehensive list - there just isnt the time to go into it all in detail here :-)

For me personally it is one of my "go to" products I use it on a large percentage of my work in one form or another. So I do reccomend it as part of your kit. Get the highest quality your budget allows.....or if you want have a go at making it. There are lots of products on the internet. 

This is today's page using different ways with and different types of gesso...

There are different types of gesso available to professional and mixed media artists as well as art journallists and crafters. We are mostly familliar with modern acrylic gesso, which is used for the priming and sizing  (altering the absorption/wear/behaviour) of our substrate (paper/card/wood/mdf etc) which we use to our advantage in AJ. There is a difference between modern acrylic gesso and traditional artists gesso that mean it is not suitable for some classic art techniques.

Mainly we see white/off white gesso but it also comes in clear, black and coloured forms.

The main use of gesso is to act as a primer/key on our pages - it stops products soaking through and means a more economic use of things like sprays and paints etc...and this is where we can start to play....If your journal pages are not of the highest quality then gesso can help improve them for some of the more robust techniques out there

....we can use it as a resist.....

Here I popped it through a stencil before using distress stains on top (you can also stamp in gesso to create a resist - just make sure to wash stamps immediately)

You can also use gesso to add some texture on top of pages too....

I added my ink to my page and then I took some white gesso an scraped it over parts of the page with an old credit card making sure that I dug the edge in to add the texture...

I also stamped and painted with some black gesso....

The circles were created using the inner tube from a kitchen roll and the outside of the moon was simply painted - I really like letting your brush run out of product to create the "broken" look it can add so much interest to a page. 

This project was completed at a Finnabair class - but it shows the difference between using black and white gesso on a project

....of course you may not want a white or black gesso may want a coloured base. Now personally I dont buy coloured base - you can tint your gesso with paints, inks (care needed to not add to much and thin out your gesso) brushos, pigments and a whole host of other products - go play and find out...:-) I've tinted black gesso with irridescent products too in order to get a shimmer base. Here I tinited with brushos popped through it a stencil and then sprinkled with some glitter to create the footprints...

Clear gesso I didnt use here but I use it to coat photos in journal and scrap layouts so I can add stamping/colour over them I also use it through stencils as a resist when I want to see a colour underneath.

Also gesso can be thinned down by adding water to achieve a whitewashed look on a page or to "knock back" a page thats got a wee bit too bright or dark :-)

So this weeks prompt is the title on this page...


If you have gesso by all means create a page using it, if not do a little online research and create a page with the prompt....for those coming to class this weekend we will be going over this again.

Hope this has answered a couple of your questions...

Happy Journalling

Crafty cheers for now





  1. Glad you said we'll be covering it this weekend at class, phew! My brain is full of Ancestors at the moment, lol. Great page xxx

  2. Thanks for all the info - really interesting read. Love the page too

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  3. Very interesting Rae, I have black and white gesso from Indigoblu, I hope that's good enough, I will have to see. Thanks for taking the time to educate us xxx

  4. Hi Rae, loving all the info and your pages are amazing.

    Hugs Erin xx

  5. Thank you guys and yes Elaine - they will be good enough as you say lol xx

  6. Great information and thanks for sharing.
    Linda xxx

  7. Hi thank you for sharing it made an interesting read. Hugs Jackie

  8. Fab page Rae & terrific techniques using gesso, I have black & white from Pebeo & also a cheapie one from The Works which is great for adding texture........Now what to do with the prompt???? Thanks Rae.
    Hugs Ann xxx

  9. quite a comprehensive blog today Rae. thanks for that. i have pebeo gesso at the moment but i felt that maimeri was loads better, ie gave better coverage xx

  10. Thankyou so much for taking the time to go over this x

  11. Very interesting, lots to investigate, thank you xx