We stood before the table with our pile of paintings. The disappointments, the failures, the downright “what was I thinkings”. Dressed in sloppy clothes, covered in aprons, wearing plastic gloves. We were embarking on a fresh start.
Covering these practice paintings with a fresh coat of white gesso was cathartic. In a matter of minutes, these pieces gone wrong weren’t even a memory. Poof. Magic, like one big swipe of white-out. And even if a faint hint remained, another coat of gesso took care of that.
We had taken the negative and turned it into a positive. Stacked in front now were limitless possibilities,
Gesso prevents your watercolor from absorbing into the paper. Streaks and texture left behind in the gesso add interest, texture and excitement. Watercolor can usually be lifted, or dramatically lightened. This new “paper” is generally very forgiving. Your paint moves and puddles in unexpected places. It is decidedly fun, and freeing.
It was a great way to start the week, the day, or even a year. Today, see if you can’t find a place that could use a fresh start. Clean out a drawer, straighten a closet, toss those old magazines.
And if you’re in your studio, I can highly recommend a coat or two of gesso and perhaps a glass of wine!