Preview: Drawing on Liquitex Clear Gesso

October 19, 2016

In my ongoing exploration of drawing surfaces, I recently picked up a bottle of Liquitex Clear Gesso. An online friend was looking for a way to prime wood for oil paint but still let the grain of the wood show through. I suggested this product, and noticed that it was also recommended for drawing with pastels or other dry media.


Here I have painted a small square of the gesso on a sheet of black poster paper, and drew on it with a selection of different pencils; pastel, watercolor, graphite and charcoal. The media has a gritty sand paper texture like Ampersand’s Aquabord, or other similar acrylic primed surfaces that are made to have more tooth than regular acrylic dispersion (“gesso”) primers. It feels a little rougher than the Acrylic Ground for Pastels made by Golden. I suspect there’s acrylic resin mixed in to make it clear, since the Pastel Ground has silica and looks grayer when it’s wet. You can add water mixable paints or inks to color this gesso if you wish, and it can be thinned with water.


The particles catch the light and will give the surface a slight sheen at an angle. It’s thinner than regular acrylic gesso, more like acrylic medium. To avoid brush marks you might consider thinning it and applying multiple coats to make the strokes less noticeable, or use a sprayer. An eraser won’t work well removing any marks, but you can dab the surface and lighten them with an eraser. I noticed that if this gets slightly scratched it will leave scratch marks behind.


You can also paint on this with acrylics, gouache, casein, or oils. The tooth will give the paint something to adhere to on any hard slick surface, but it’s recommended that the surface first be sanded before applying the gesso, which might be noticeable through the clear gesso. My main complaint with these rough surfaces for painting is that they really chew up my brushes.


Painting Final: Allan at the Boat Dock

October 16, 2016

Here’s the final state of the painting, except for a little cleaning up.


I’m pleased with the end result. My original idea for the background setting completely changed after getting the figure started, something that doesn’t always work out well, but I think it all came together fine.



Painting Update 2: Allan at the Boat Dock

October 13, 2016


I’m a little further along with the background painted in. I’ll move to the wood on the dock next.


Painting Update: Allan at the Boat Dock

October 9, 2016

I’ve been working more on the painting, and completely changed the original setting. He’s now outdoors, sitting on a boat dock at a lake. This is based on a couple photos I had on file that I’ve merged together. I’ve refined the figure a bit from the last post, and roughly painted in the background. That strip of blue on the left is tape that is masking off a sign post I’ll paint in later.



Painting Update: Allan On a Stool

October 2, 2016


I’ve gotten further along on the figure. Still haven’t decided what to do with the background. I could go with the standard drapery, or some kind of environment. No hurry. I need to finish his hair, swim trunks, and the shadow on his shoulder first anyway.



New Painting Started: Allan On a Stool

September 30, 2016

Here’s a combination of materials that I’ve made in recent posts. This is based on one of the drawings of my friend, Allan, that I showed in the previous post. The background undertone is painted with a mixed warm grey gouache that I had just made and tubed, and I’m using the stretched paper I made a few days ago (20 x 16″).


I haven’t quite settled on what to do with the background yet, so I may play around with this image digitally to help me decide.


Figure Drawings of Allan

September 26, 2016

Met a new model a few days ago by the name of Allan, and here are a couple drawings I made of him.



These were made with wax crayon on 24 x 18″ newsprint paper.