Chasing Confetti: A Black Gesso Experiment

Every time I watch one of Chris Cozen’s videos on Artist’s Network TV, it’s not long before paint starts splashing over here.

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I took the abstract Claybord experiment (elephant) painting from Friday, added a high-low application of black gesso, and used some of the lines created by the gesso to bring structure to my piece. I still don’t think this painting knows what it wants to be, and that’s ok for now. One thing I do know for sure is that I will be doing more paintings over black gesso in the near future. So much depth from the start, which is great!  The challenge, for me, becomes how to bring in the light while retaining that depth.  When I figure that out, I think I’ll be really jazzed with this technique.   (Note:   Purchases from this link help support my site.)

Happy June Sunday to all! I hope you either make something beautiful or make someone feel beautiful today. Peace.

86 thoughts on “Chasing Confetti: A Black Gesso Experiment

    1. Thanks, Teresa! You’re right! I just would like it to have more balance or feel more unified. The photo in this case really doesn’t show it accurately, it has more light than pictured. It definitely feels like it wants to be something though. Can’t explain, it just has that feeling about it. Not necessarily representational though…in fact, probably not. But just more together, I think. Thanks for your feedback! I hope you’re having a great weekend!

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      1. As the artist, you know best what a painting is trying to say or accomplish so I hope you’ll be able to get this one to the point where you’re happy with it! 🙂 Having a relaxing morning with my coffee and reading some blogs. Hope your day is starting out nice, too! x

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      1. Thanks. The colors are definitely calling my name. Color my world!

        I am a gesso newbie. I just started using white last week but I really appreciate extra coats of gesso on my canvas.

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  1. The black gesso really makes for a unique look. The colors seem to glow in places. To me it’s an apartment building, lights in the windows, lots of diversity among the people who live there.

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  2. Laura, this is my favorite so far. The color, light and depth you achieved by using the black gesso is stunning. It looks as though The light is shining through glass. Keep up your painting and experimenting. It is a joy to see your results. Happy day today!

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    1. Wow, seriously, Sharon? Thank you so much! I love the glow of Golden paints. They give me a big leg up. Thanks, sounds like I really need to do more with black gesso / deep dark backgrounds. Have a beautiful Sunday, my friend! 💜

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  3. you covered up the elephant?! I pretty much loved that – but I love this toooooooo! and I think you totally achieved depth and light in the GORGEOUS SWOON-worthy piece! It is so so beautiful – and guess what? You did both today… made something beautiful and made someone feel beautiful – me – with your sweet comment on my post. You can just kick back and chill for the rest of the day now beautiful Loo!

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    1. Jodi you made me LOL too, thank you! Wow, I wasn’t sure about these dark underpaintings when I posted this but apparently I have my answer. I highly recommend that video I linked to if you’re interested in playing with your acrylics today, Miss Jodi-nista-artista-woo! 💜💜💜 I am off to put my feet up now 😜😎

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  4. I see little windows of light. I like that you varied your colors through out your piece. Of course I’m loving that magenta and purple colors! 💜 One way to add depth is to add gel medium to your paint. I don’t know if you have tried this yet or not. 😃

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    1. Thanks so much for the tip, Jill! I always think of you when painting in acrylics because you’re so good at it. The abstract collaboration I did with Sharon – I did use gel medium in that and I think it helped a lot. Just a few touches of it here and there I think helped the organic parts in the interior sections of that painting. I do want to experiment more with the different mediums, and I appreciate you reminding me of that. Oh, the memory! Ideas go just as quick as they come lol. 💜💙💜

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  5. Well this is ama-zing, all your hard work with abstract work is paying off, this has to be my fav so far, I love the shapes colours and texture it provides, and all of that together they all communicate fantastically. Wonderful work, and the black was a positive move, with no loss of white zing, to me it is perfect, I would hang this, and that’s from someone who is not overly keen on abstract ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca, you made my day with this comment! I know you’re not much for abstracts (and once upon a time, neither was I til Debora Stewart and her pastels convinced me!). Much appreciated. Good thing I didn’t paint over this with a buff-ish color last night when I should have been sleeping! 🙂

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              1. Aww, thank you, it would be great to meet up, infact I wish we could all have a good get together, I think only Jacob and Vicki are here in the uk, whom I regularly follow, everybody else is miles away 😕. Such a gorgeous words Laura, I will go to bed in a moment smiling 😀😀😀😀😀

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  6. Laura!! this is lovely! the black is great and there is light! I really like the violet in there with the hint of (cobalt teal) as well to give it a low light glimmer of color as if at night.
    wonder if you could repost it, as a vertical?
    with the cobalt teal door way at the bottom and the golden glowing little window at the top???? ie current Left, would be the Bottom… I’d love to see it in that direction as well. 3d

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    1. Hi Debi, thank you so much! Sure, I could do that, or I could email it to you in that orientation too! So glad you like it so well, I was dying to see what you thought. It looks totally different now it’s dark out, so I’ll need to photograph it again in daylight. Glad you’re seeing light! I was concerned this wouldn’t be enough light but I guess in the scheme of this particular painting, it is still mostly light – and very small amount of dark. I guess I think light needs to be white or buff but I guess it just needs to be the lightest values in the piece as a whole? So nice to get such great feedback as I almost went over practically the whole thing in a titan buff glaze last night til I decided I needed to sleep first. Glad I walked away! 😀

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        1. I need to study his work. Thank you for pointing me to him. I posted another this morning in a similar vein. And hope to post another soon. These abstracts are rocking my world. And acrylics. I may try and do some Klee-inspired work. Thanks again, Kerfe.

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  7. Beautiful piece! You created a lot of depth with the black gesso. Beautiful and interesting colour combinations. Mysterious and exotic :-). Makes me think of one of those little hillside towns in Italy at night – a view through a small window, so one can only see a portion of the hillside.

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      1. I wonder how you will see it after not looking at it for a while. I guess that is what artists mean by “fresh eyes”… after a bit of distance, the artist can see a piece more from a viewer’s perspective. One of the fun things about abstracts is that different people see different things. I was surprised by how quickly I reacted to this painting of yours. Usually I have to stare at abstracts for a while to get a feeling.

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          1. Your abstract experiments have definitely got me thinking about creating abstracts too. It is a neat way to play with shapes and patterns and learn about (experiment with) different media. I’ll probably start with deconstructing real objects though. But I think that is all considered figurative. I’m working on painting my second bird with watercolours and I am having as much fun with my paint testing paper as my bird painting. Watercolours are so alien to me and it is so cool to find out how they mix, separate and react on paper… and then there are the different brushes, sponges, sticks, etc. Thanks so much for sharing your experiments… they inspire me and give me courage.

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    1. Thanks! I may just do a whole other painting like that. Not sure I want to add anything to this one just yet. I am loving these colors. Really preferring painting a quilt to actually sewing one, Tierney. My machine and I have a hate-hate relationship, lol.

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    1. Thanks, Luke! That’s a pretty amazing statement coming from you! Trying to develop some depth and texture in my abstract work. Can’t hold a candle to yours though. Especially considering this is 5×7″. Hehe. I’m trying to work up to larger. I really appreciate your comment. Have a great weekend!

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