At last there’s time today to experiment with painting a scene in watercolor directly onto a sanded gesso panel. This gesso preparation is meant for priming rigid surfaces such as this panel but usually for the purpose of oil or acrylic painting. I’d read recently, however, about a watercolor painter who makes his own gessoed panels for “plein air” competitions, and thought I’d try it. So, earlier this week, I prepared a panel with several layers of gesso and sanded it down to a smooth surface after the gesso dried (photos below).
As I tried this watercolor scene, I was pleasantly surprised by the effect on the panel and could instantly see the possibilities, with more practice, to “lift” paint for lighter effects, glaze, scrape, create patterns and give more depth or dimension to the painting. I’m sure I’ll be trying this again. (To make the gesso, I used the Gamblin brand for traditional gesso and followed the instructions.)