Thursday, February 16, 2012

Veils of the Gorge

I am still working on my river series. This time I am revisiting the Strata format with acrylics. Although I am not as comfortable with acrylics at this point, I am getting better at using them, and learning how to get subtle color changes.

To begin this piece, I placed black gesso over a portion of the paper and let it dry. Then I made a soupy white gesso mix to put on top of that. While the soupy gesso was wet, I placed two birds cut out of heavy plastic. I then placed vivid color on the paper with liquid acrylic.

Posted by Picasa
After all the gesso and acrylic paint was dry, I peeled off the plastic birds, which left an impression in the dried gesso. I applied undiluted white gesso over the bright colors and used my homemade toothed scraper to make the water-like marks in the wet gesso. At the bottom of the page I put down rice paper in gesso to create a texture. At the top, I've placed my hand carved stamp of Tsagaglalal, She Who Watches, where I intend to add this legendary petroglyph. (

Posted by Picasa
To finish this piece, I used many layers of acrylic paints, stamps and hand made marks. I am intrigued by the veiled effects one can get using light washes over dark colors. It is so opposite of watercolor techniques.

Posted by Picasa
Veils of the Gorge, 22 x 15

Most of the techniques I'm using are out of books written by other artists sharing their own explorations. Usually I start with a borrowed technique and build on that for my own purposes. Thanks to Mary Todd Beam for the plastic in gesso idea.


Anonymous said...

Margaret; Thank you once again for a very informative blog. And, you resulting painting is beautiful and inspiring. :)

Jennie O'Connor, Artist

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Margaret,

I enjoyed looking at your process this morning. I have made several attempts to wean myself off always using w/c and playing at acrylics but your use of gesso along w/it looks fun. Your piece is interesting. After looking at your notes I went to the artist newsletter Painter’s Keys. I don’t know if you have seen this before or subscribe to his emails but I have included a link. There is a painting in found towards the bottom of birds and water you might like to look at, reminded me of your work.
Have a good day

Anonymous said...

Way to go. Love the values and uniqueness of the painting.