I have recently discovered clear gesso. I have actually had a gallon of it in my studio for a few years but never used it. I recently came across it by accident because I have really been struggling with photographing my art and needed a flat or matte finish to get some clear photographs. (tangent ahead) I currently shoot my work outside, at my house – which involves struggling to find a parking place near my studio (which at times is impossible) dragging the work down the stairs, loading up the car, bring it in my house, out to my patio/deck area. And I pretty much have a window of 8-9AM before the sun casts a glare on the art or my fence creates weird shadows, etc. So if I am in a hurry, or it is raining (like it was for an entire week) I’m basically screwed. I use to take photos in my studio, but for some reason with my new lighting, it has become a serious challenge – and I gave up for awhile. I have a rock star camera that I barely know how to use, struggle with white balance, etc. I HATE IT. And my Photoshop skills pretty much suck as well. There has to be a simpler solution (like learning how to use the gad durn camera and the lighting, umbrellas I bought, etc.) Anyway, I have been trying to give my paintings more of a matte finish in order to shoot my paintings and avoid that top glare I tend to get from the shiny gloss varnish I have been getting while shooting in my studio. So I painted an entire painting with it to temporary dull the finish. Then I decided to paint (with clear gesso) several works in progress, and applied my usual watery technique. The gesso was sooo absorbent (and not in a way regular gesso is), created a bit of a tooth, and it created some lovely effects. See below:
You just have to make sure you seal it with a varnish in the end, because it will get cloudy each time it gets wet and absorbs water. But for a temporary flat finish – it worked great!
Because acrylic is a fairly new medium, I did not exactly have anyone in school teaching me certain techniques, and how to use the different media. I have been completely self taught when discovering things. Over the years, I bought a few books, learned from a few artists (my former studio mate, Wyanne is amazing with experimenting as well) – but for the most part I just buy new things and experiment.
Here are some other new pieces I created using the clear gesso to soften things up a bit: