Saturday, February 18, 2012

Extreme Gesso

"Roots" 24 by 24 inch acrylic on canvas, by MB Schiros
Putting gesso on my canvas use to be a boring part of painting, now I love it.
I have to give Caroline Jasper  credit for this.
Carolines workshop got me started using red gesso for painting, and is still my favorite method to start an acrylic painting.  But sometimes I just have to experiment.
   Wanting to compare results of different background starts, I use 3 different colors of gesso to paint the same subject, a simple still life.  One sheet of watercolor paper was coated with a light green gesso, the second with a blue and the last with my favorite red.
  Thought I would share the results. Each has a slightly different mood to it, even though it is the same subject painted. I have to admit I feel bolder on a red back ground than any other color.

This still life started out on a blue ground

 This started with a light green gesso

this one started with a red gesso background

       And of course I had to go one step beyond, with a multi colored gesso start for a totally different subject.  Using a 24 by 24 inch wrap canvas, that I thought I would share the beginning step and the final result with you.  Holbein makes wonderful colored gesso, and Matisse makes what is called background colors that work very well, too Hope this inspires you to try something new.
This is just the gesso canvas, using a mix or red, blue and white gesso, and yes it is turned on it's side.  I find it much easier to paint stripes this way.  To see more of my work visit Art by Mary Schiros.  And please share my blog with your friends.
The Final painting..."Roots"


  1. I LOVE your experimentation with the different colored gesso and and am especially attracted to the final painting "Roots"! To me, the roots of the trees, like the roots of anything, become as interesting in an(or even more so) than the "visible" subject matter. Thank you for brightening my day with your paintings!

  2. Thank you Debbie, the life of a tree extends much beyond what we see and that is what I wanted to show with this painting. So glad you like it. Mary

  3. Mary, Thanks for the nod. I love your attitude and see that you are having fun. So much can be discovered through experimenting with materials... things that can endure in your work. I especially enjoy your play with color in the bottle series. Exciting!
    Caroline Jasper