Have you ever tried using black gesso to start a painting? Not me. But last week I was the proud finder of a bright yellow 45% off (your entire order!) Michael's coupon. All morning, I couldn't stop singing the golden ticket song from Charlie and Chocolate Factory. I practically skipped through the fake flowers, styrofoam wreaths, and cake decorations to my happy place at Michael's... the Golden paints. I used my
My first effort was a canvas that I had previously covered with random fabric and paper scraps. I covered everything with the gesso and then started adding layers of paint. As the paint skimmed over the textures created by the fabric and paper pieces, the black gesso added a great contrast. I then scratched shapes into the layers. It was fun to see what colors popped up.
For the next one, I painted a black rectangle in the middle of a paper-covered canvas board. I used the same scratch-thru technique to create a funky night scene.
Next I went on to try something completely new for me... faces. Very scary. I always avoid faces, especially realistic ones. Perhaps the
I am happy with the first guy. I don't know who this is. I am reading a book about a woman hiking the Pacific Crest Trail right now (Wild, by Cheryl Strayed - love it!) so perhaps I was imagining a mountain man when I painted him. Or perhaps I thought the bushy hair, mustache, and beard would easily cover up mistakes.
So, feeling confident, I tried another one. She turned out to be more zombie-like than I had planned. But she was more difficult to paint since I decided to turn her head. I also made the mistake of putting some turquoise behind her head, causing an eerie green glow to permeate the piece.
I know... she's got issues. But, I put her up on my mantle and am trying to treat my efforts with more kindness, more gentleness, to see the good things in my attempt. I am happy I pushed myself to do it and I am encouraged to keep trying.
Like the author's hike in the book I am reading, the point is the making, the journey of it. Not really the end result.