Gesso Fun

I am often inspired by other artists and try to discover how they created that wonderful “thing.”  In some cases you can look and discover, other times it is trial and error, and sometimes you are lucky enough that they have are willing to teach you.

In the theme of discovering gesso, I have been thinking about not only adding color to gesso but texture as well.  The more attention to detail I can add at the beginning takes my paintings that one step further.  I was reading the Blog Art and Cupcakes and ran across this great post:  Fun with Gesso – Color Love #27

There are three great techniques highlighted in this Blog that I recommend trying:  “Thin application of Gesso with a Stencil,” “Thick application of Gesso With a Stencil” and “Paintbrush Application of Gesso.”

Thanks to Art and Cupcakes for sharing!!

Saratoga Library and Main Street Cafe Exhibits

In preparation for SV Open Studios I am showing a couple pieces of art around town.

Saratoga Library

March 4 – May 1, 2014

"Bearded Rooster" mixed media on paper
“Bearded Rooster” mixed media on paper

Main Street Cafe and Books

March 29 – April 26, 2014

"American Kestrel" mixed media on board
“American Kestrel” mixed media on board
"Barn Owl" mixed media on board
“Barn Owl” mixed media on board











p.s. I just found out that I will also be part of a Mother’s Day Boutique on May 3rd.  Details to follow.

Adding Color to Gesso

Mix some of you acrylic paint into your gesso and never have to worry about a white canvas again!

This trick works wonders and there are several companies that make colored gesso if you don’t want to mix uisng your paints, like Holbein Acryla.  And if you like the color, try the black gesso!  It really adds contrast to your paintings.

Holbein Acryla Colored Gesso
Holbein Acryla Colored Gesso

Pyrrole Red Light – Color of the Day

I read somewhere that Pyrrole red came from the automobile industry, but I use it to create flashy artwork instead of paint flashy cars.

Pyrrole is great for lightfastness, does not fade much at all, and is a great mixing red when compared to cadmium colors.  I found some great technical information to share about the Golden Artist Color Pyrrole Red Light.

Mixed media on wood
“Common Raven” mixed media on wood


SV Open Studios May 3 and 4

Exhibiting with 4 other artists in May!
Exhibiting with 4 other artists in May!


I have just started getting my inventory together for this year’s open studios May 3 and 4.  I will again be showing with my artist friend Krishna Mitra.  I really enjoy the artists she has continued to gather at her home each open studios.  All of our work reflects the nature around us.  Click their names below to see more of their work.

Krishna MitraSlava ShabrovYelena ShabrovaHolly Van Hart


Croquet Ball Art

Acrylic on a vintage croquet ball.
Acrylic on a vintage croquet ball.

An artist friend of mine asked me to paint a bird on a vintage croquet ball as part of her bird wall.  I must say painting on a three dimensional surface was definitely a very different experience.

She shared this picture and text online “A beautiful vintage croquet ball painted for me by a fellow artist and friend. I will now add this to my ever growing Bird ball wall! Thank you Amanda for the precious pass-it-forward gift…I just love being involved in this random act of giving…and should I say, receiving!”

Thank you Beka!  Paying it forward is such a fun experience!

Beka Brayer’s art can be found here.

Gesso Techniques

Paper prepared with gesso.
Paper prepared with gesso and then acrylic and ink layered on top.

It is interesting to see how other artists work in the same mediums. I found artist Will Kemp and read about how he dilutes his layers of gesso from thin to thick. This layering technique will create a smooth surface on your canvas. If you want to check out how to do this visit his website.

Prepare your surface with gesso and enjoy painting on top of it!

Gessoing Canvas Tips

I get asked all the time if I gesso my canvas. I do often buy the pre-primed canvas at the art supply store, but I do find that it is not smooth enough for my style of painting. I found this video by Howcast and it is exactly how I do mine (minus the mixing of the gesso). And I do prefer a squeegee. I also love to add texture and paint to my gesso to start off an interesting painting.

Has anyone ever mixed their own gesso? I am curious if there is any difference in quality.

Love Birds – New Commissioned Art

New commissioned artwork.  Love Birds, mixed media on canvas,
New commissioned artwork. Love Birds, mixed media.

It is so fun to see what people are drawn to.  This piece was inspired by another love birds silhouette painting of sparrows in love.  It was fun to play around will my paper scraps and see what this 6 x 6 canvas starts to create.  What a little beauty!


Teal – Color of the Day

Three on a Wire II.  Mixed media on canvas.
Three on a Wire II. Mixed media on canvas.

I love the color teal, it is such a happy cool color.  I find that I use it in a lot in my work.  What is your favorite color?

If you like technical information on this color, check out Golden Paint’s information page: