Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Kathleen Conover is coming to the Middletown Arts Center (Middletown, OH) to give a talk and then a 4-day workshop.  I will not be going.  But it did make me pull up a YouTube video of her doing something with her "gesso juice" patterned background as a start.  So I tried it.

You dab the gesso juice (a mix of white gesso, acrylic matte medium and water) on a piece of watercolor paper using a soft makeup sponge over a stencil.  Let that dry and then paint as you usually do with watercolors.  The watercolors go over the plain watercolor paper differently than they do over the gessoed parts.  Interesting textural background to start.  I used a MaryBeth Shaw stencil of trees - and what goes good with trees = Crows, of course!

In hindsight, I wish I had done the legs and talons differently, having them grasp the trees (which became reeds in this painting because the crow was so big).  Maybe will try this again.  I certainly made enough gesso juice to do a lot more.  Was going to show this to my class but they didn't seem very interested in working with a patterned background.  Oh, well, every technique cannot be a winner.  And I think this may work better with a bolder stencil (Kathleen uses large blocks in her video) and cutting around them with color.  She also paints her stenciled paper in a medium to dark value and then draws her object on with white chalk.  


Sadami said...

Thank you for sharing the infromation, Rhonda! Yes, just have fun. Don't worry about technical stuff or analitical things. I'd love to see Happy Rhonda in work. Best wishes, Sadami

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Sadami. You have a good day, too!!

Möwe von der Insel said...

Hi Rhonda, I like this technique :)
Looks like a crow in front of a
beautiful sunset :))

Have a beautiful day!

CrimsonLeaves said...

I like this, Rhonda! I see what you mean about the feet but you could always paint something under them if you are of a mind. I always love texture in a painting; lends to interest!

E.M. Corsa said...

I have used gesso for texturing for years, especially on trees for bark patterns. I use a different mix than you but the same idea. Such fun to try new things.

Maggie Latham said...

Hi Rhonda, this sounds like such an interesting way to use gesso, acrylic and sounds like fun.

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

ah had to look up what she is doing, looks neat. the basic resist idea of using wax crayons and then watercolour on top but with medium instead of crayons. like I need another thing to try lol :)

carolking said...

Hi Rhonda, I like your new crow painting. I think you can go back and repaint the branches so it seems like the crow is standing on a branch.

RH Carpenter said...

Thank you so much for the comment, Mowe, Sherry, Elizabeth, and Carol.

Jennifer Rose, I know what you mean - but sometimes I just want some less traditional way to paint with watercolors and other stuff! ha ha

Maggie, thanks for stopping by and for commenting - it's always a pleasure to hear from you!

Bruce Sherman said...

Hi there Rhonda... Your new painting adventures are reminiscent of the "Pick-a Path" series of books that I found enriching and encouraging for children with learning disabilities. It was the "unconventional" that awakened the dormant desire they already had captive within them.

Refreshing... I'll keep an eye!

Good Painting and Print Making!
Warmest regards,

RH Carpenter said...

Bruce, Sometimes I just need to play and experiment with new things I'd read or seen - then back to the more traditional watercolor :) Was making prints (for cards) yesterday = quick and easy and no stress, just playing with color mixes and white paper! Hope you have a good weekend.