Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Painting on Black Gesso

I decided to work on three different shaped canvases, a rectangle, a square and a long skinny one (since I had these in stock). A pot of black gesso has been sitting in my cupboard just looking at me – I bought it ages ago but have never used it. (Do you have a cupboard full of stuff you haven’t used?) I decided to experiment with applying a black coat to most of the canvas, leaving some white shapes to play around with. I see Mary Ann of Blue Sky Dreaming is also working with black gesso at the moment! I then applied a transparent glaze of Alizarine Crimson and Quinacridone Gold over the white areas and really loved how the shapes hung softly in the darkness. I wanted to see if I applied white acrylic ink, spraying with water to loose the hard edges, I might be able to get a similar effect.
When I looked at the three works, I became a little uneasy about what was appearing, the strong darks with the reds stirred up strange feelings in me, they were disturbing! I wanted to cover the paintings with white and yellow. (Every time I turn on the TV, there are dire warnings of a global economic meltdown and I am worried about the implications for various members of my family – I think I am painting these fears).

I get to a mid point in the painting, when I become impatient and I have to tell myself, “Don’t rush it, take your time, let it evolve”. I can have days when I become quite frustrated with what I have done, the paintings don’t look as if they have moved on at all. The next day, the paintings may evolve and I can perhaps see where they are leading me.

The painting at the top of my posting was about the doorways that open up to us, (in landscape mode) but I prefer it turned upright – the genetic connection theme has appeared again. We have a really nasty genetic thing in my family of which I am a carrier – this keeps coming out in my paintings. I don't have photo's of this one at the beginning, only of the square one that still needs a bit of work, so will post it next week. I still have to do a few clear glazes and might paint some more, so this painting might change again!

43 comments:

sukipoet said...

Well a lot going on for you in your world. I hope your husband is getting better. Hard on you to be a nurse with such intensity. He is blessed to have you.

Your top painting is just amazing. So many facets to it. I love the way you can verbalize the thoughts and emotions around your work. Incredible really. Red is a powerful color for sure. Marianne just posted about red I think. Thank you so much for sharing.

Joan Sandford-Cook said...

Incredibly interesting post Dianne - thanks for sharing the process both mental and physical. Ive been using gesso as a background for watercolours of late - must try black with acrylic inks sometime after reading the fun you had. Wish hubby well.

~Babs said...

So hard on both, him having back issues,,,we live with that too. Hoping he's better,,,

Cupboard full of unused supplies,,,yes, not full,,,,but several. Now I'm 'needing' some 91% alcohol to play around with, as I watched a tutorial about that,,,looks so fun!
Love the square work, and can't wait to see the finish,,it's amazing how colors effect us. I always feel those darks and dark reds are filled with drama.
Such an interesting post Dianne,,,,thanks

Kim said...

Dianne, these paintings are amazing. First, thanks for sharing how you began working through this process...I love these contemplative shapes which appear (to provide us all with the messages we need, right?)

I do have supplies which I have not used here and often go to them for inspiration. I find that materials can prod me when other things might not be able to do that...interesting.

I love the sharing on this blog and am eager to get my own sharing going again!

Thanks!

PS I think I am going to have to find a little black gesso. :)

Watercolorist said...

Hope your husband recovers soon. A very painful condition.

Don't know anything about gesso technique but your results are very interesting.
Jean

Dianne said...

Dear Suki, thanks for the kind wishes!
It is an important part of my process to recognise where the images come from - it makes it so much more meaningful and personal to me.
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Joan, have you posted a watercolour done on gesso? Does the watercolour not just run off, or do you only put gesso on some areas of the paper?
Have fun with the inks!
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Babs, you have now peaked my interest - what are you going to do with the alcohol? Can you do a posting telling us about it? What medium do you use?
Yes, those darks are full of drama, I am not used to them and the images really quite disturbed me. Maybe I must open my mind and allow the drama its place.
Love Dianne x x

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Diane, This is a beautiful post and thank you for sharing your process. All three have a strong dynamic force...beautiful.Our blogs act as thin veils where we reveal our personal reality in our own time.
I'm so sorry your husband has had to go through this healing process and for you being all things, nurse, cook etc. Finding time for art making must be a helpful spirit lifter.

~Babs said...

I haven't gotten the alcohol yet Dianne, but I sure will post some of the results. I've tried it with regular strength alcohol, and it doesn't work well. It makes the most amazing patterns and textures in wet acrylic. I will find the video and post it when I experiment with it. (hopefully soon)

Dianne said...

Dear Kim, it is often through the use of unusual materials that things can get interesting! This is why I love working with acrylics, they are so versatile and can be combined with all sorts of other media.
Have fun with the black gesso!
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Jean, thanks for visiting! I will be coming over to have a look at your blog asap.
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Mary Ann, by being confined during this time, I have been able to spend time painting. Normally, I don't really touch a paint brush for about 4 weeks over the festive season. Painting can be so therapeutic!
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Thanks, Babs! Looking forward to that.

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you doing?

Carolann said...

HI dIANNE, wish I could see this painting, our broadban d has a glitch so I can't get any images, just text, we think it might be the cold outside affecting it but look forward to seeing it as the explanation of your working process and your feeling of expressive thoughts are wonderful.

Into the Blystic said...

Oh Dianne I love the doorways theme... a very different view of the squared shapes we were both tuning into! the in process photos are inspiring too! I too am guilty of a few 'untried' supplies... black gesso being among them... will have to open that jar now that I have seen these pieces! namaste Elis.

Lynette said...

Diane, I'm so sorry about your husband and I hope he is feeling much better. Ugh, I've heard that a slipped disc is so darn painful. Your paintings look awesome and I have to tell you that I clearly see the shape of a shark swimming through a red sea in that first painting and really did jump out at me...so very powerful with the red and black!

Dianne said...

Hi Leon, welcome to my blog! Please visit again soon.

Dianne said...

Dear Carolann, I hope you have got your broadband sorted out! I hear you are having some freezing weather there.
Hope you are feeling better and back into your painting.
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Hi Elis, do you see my palette is similar to your painting with rectangular shapes? Funny how we have both been tuned into similar shapes and colours.
Looking forward to seeing what you do with the black gesso!
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Lynette, wow, you are absolutely right! I now see the shark! I love seeing shapes and images in abstract paintings, I can't help but do this with my own paintings and then develop what I see.
Love Dianne x x

Carolann said...

Wow you have a lot of comments, at last our broadband is ok now it has been the coldest winter for 20 years everything is frozen solid so I'm hoping my computer holds out, love this work, with my favourite colour red, lots of images can be seen, I think you will sell this one, everythings been said already, hope hubbie gets well soon, men are the worst patients!!

Dianne said...

Dear Carolann, thanks so much for coming back to see my paintings! That weather really sounds nasty, don't suppose you have been near your studio in your garden lately?
It has now been 5 weeks with hubbie!!!!!
Love Dianne x x

Mineke Reinders said...

I'm sorry to hear of your husband's back problems, hope he feels better soon. Your work is beautiful, I love the top one especially. It has a complex, layered quality, like looking through pieces of glass at objects, colors, shapes.

Cynthia said...

Dear Dianne, you have so much going on. I'm so impressed at how you incorporate your response to life into your work. Amazing feat! May your husband be easy with his situation so that you both go through this period peacefully. <3
Sending much affection your way.

Cynthia said...

Dianne, I hope you're feeling fine... may your caretaking be easy...sending love your way.

Dianne said...

Dear Cynthia and Mineke, thanks so much for your concern. I will only get back to blogging after 22nd Jan. as my husband's mother is visiting from Scotland.
Love Dianne x x

soulbrush said...

gosh i had no idea your husband had slipped a dsic. i slipped mine in 2003, lay in hospital for weeks and then had to have surgery. am absolutely fine now, but still get back ache of course. hope he is up and about by now. yes, the global economy is really very worrying, and as you know my sojourn in joburg was extremely worrying for me too. so somehow, i haven't exactly sprung back to my usual chirpy self yet....sigh....your art is wonderfully deep and profound.hugs to you and your hubby.

Cestandrea said...

Dianne, this is so meltinghot beautiful, it's as if I were glimpsing into the middle of the earth. I understand the connection with global heating (not only because of my hot flashes:) because every time I see information about this issue, it makes me worried and sad too.
It's so interesting to see what you have done here, thanks so much for sharing the processing. I have never used black gesso, but always worked my way trough from the white canvas through many layers of darker colour until I got something very dark. It must be so interesting to begin the other way round! Your paintings are very inspiring!
I'm so sorry about your husband's disk, that is something so painful and doesn't go away in a short time. I hope he will be better soon! Take care
Andrea

Sharon Wright said...

Dianne, you are amazing, trying new techniques, your ability to verbalise your thoughts and processes, your very profound intuition. I am so in awe.
These paintings are very emotive. I see the shark, now, but initially it was a worried, thoughtful, fleeing figure!
I stopped by initially to enquire after hubby. I do hope he is feeling much better. Recovery is a long slog with a slipped disc, and you can't rush it. Best wishes.

Dianne said...

Dear Soul, so you know what this back thing is like! Hope you are looking after your back now, you have to be so careful. I have a short back and never a hint of a problem - all the long-backed people in Iain's family have problems.
Sorry to hear of your conflicting feelings while visiting SA. I will get back to blogging after next week when Iain's mum goes and will catch up with everyone.
Hope you get back to your chirpy self soon,
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Andrea,
Have a go with the black gesso, it is amazing working from dark through to light, the lights just jump out at you! Leave some white patches of the canvas, these make interesting shapes when bringing in the colour on top of the gesso.
Love Dianne x x

Dianne said...

Dear Sharon,
Thanks for your good wishes re "the back", Iain is slowly improving but is still not able to do much. His mother is visiting from Scotland and so am quite busy entertaining her, so will get back to blogging after the 22nd.
Love Dianne x x

kathleen.artkat.hebert said...

WOW! good thing that you are a painter, Diane. What a great opportunity to look at things and let them go!
Doorways - maybe paths that you haven't explored yet! And I see you have done layers of doors. Very scarey but what life might lay behind each one?
I see the red one as a galaxy - not explored but certainly beckoning for discovery and thought. And, of course, I just love red! Kundalini energy being released? as you are holed up in your home (womb?).
OMG! where did that all come from?!! - Kathy :)

Dianne said...

Hey Kathy! I love that you gave your intrepretation! This is such fun! The doorways thing for me is all about making choices in life and finding out the consequences, stepping through into the unknown and taking those risks! Its also about leaving those doors/choices open that I have not taken, perhaps it is not the right time at the moment to walk through.
I like the idea of the womb in the red painting! The black and red disturbed me, but thinking about it in the context of a womb is so much more comforting!
Will visit you soon when I get a chance!
Love Dianne x x

Cynthia said...

Just checking in with you Dianne. Glad to see that you're fine and that help is on the way!
<3 <3 :-)

Dianne said...

Dear Cynthia, when I opened my emails this morning and I saw your message, your kindness and thoughtfulness warmed me from my toes up!
I am dividing my time between my husband and my partially sighted mother-in-law, she is a lovely person and I want her to have a great holiday.
Looking forward to visiting you and all my bloggie friends soon.
Love Dianne x x

Anonymous said...

Dear Di,
I finally found my way around your blog to the 'comments box'. It has taken some time, to say the least, but then you know that I am definitely not a techno-wizkid!It was so good to see you last Friday at 'hanging' and to discuss with you, your exquisite intuitive paintings. I do hope that Iain is recovering well and that you are finding some time in your very busy days at the moment, to do something creative, however small. It feeds the soul.
Love Wyn

Cestandrea said...

Dear Dianne, just wanted to come and say hello and "bon courage" for your husband. Have a nice time with your mother-in-law, I'm sure this time will leave you with many wonderful inspirations too, even if it's tough to look after a sick husband, the poor thing! I hope he'll recover very soon.
love
Andrea

Dianne said...

Dear Wyn,
Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment! You are doing pretty well for someone who is not a techno-wizkid, thanks for your kind words regarding my paintings.
Am just about to become creative again after a 3 week break.
Love Di x

Dianne said...

Dear Andrea,
Thanks for looking in!!! I am fine and just about ready to get going again. See you soon.
Love Dianne x x

Anonymous said...

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