Thursday, April 30, 2009

Playing With Matboard & Gesso

The finished product consisting of my gessoed matboard and transparent watercolor
A stack of 3/16" matboard and my bottle of acrylic gesso ready to be applied

When I receive an order of precut mats from my online supplier they always include the matboard cutouts or 'centers' and I've accumulated quite a stack of them. Recently I purchased a small bottle of acrylic gesso and decided to give one of Ann Blockley's techniques a try. She uses gessoed mountboard but I wondered if I could use the leftover matboard instead.

I applied the acrylic gesso fairly thick with a brush, then created more texture using a palette knife and let it dry for 24 hours. The matboard buckled slightly at first but as it dried it flattened itself out nicely. Afterwards I had no idea what to paint so I did my version of the painting on her book cover which features dandelions going to seed. I used only transparent watercolor, drying the paint thoroughly after each application. I then scraped out the dandelion fluff and defined the stem with the fine nib of an ink pen. I was both pleased and impressed by the textural element I was able to bring to this painting due largely to the gesso. Also the way the paint moves and reacts on the gessoed surface was new to me.
Check out Ann Blockley's website at


Jeanette Jobson said...

This is gorgeous! I just love the background and the movement in it. The texture does add to it and its great that the gesso and watercolour don't affect the matboard in the end.

More, more!

Unknown said...

Nice painting to brighten up a drab wall Billie.


Billie Crain said...

Thank you, Jeanette! I really enjoyed painting on the gessoed matboard. I have another board drying right now and will have a new painting ready to post soon. I was surprised how quickly this one came together. I hope the next one goes as well. This also solves the problem of what to do with all that leftover matboard. Such a shame to waste it.

Billie Crain said...

It sure is, Mike.:) I've been dying to get some RED red into a painting and this was my chance.