I have been using a traditional gesso ground for 4 years. The medium never fails to surprise and I love the challenges it throws up during the making process to prevent ‘tightness’. The gesso is a way of maintaining a freer and more expressive process, and helps wrestle a painting away from the control of the critical mind. More importantly, the traditional ground absorbs ink so that the painting feels as though it is embedded and doesn’t just exist on the surface of the panel. The featured image is an example of this way of working.
Recently however I have been exploring the use of an acrylic gesso as an alternative surface medium. The process is the reverse. Rather than carving into the surface, I build it up to create ridges which the ink can be pushed into. It behaves very differently. The ink doesn’t sink into the surface but resists it. I am experimenting with an absorbent ground to see how this will change the surface. Seaside Dreaming I and II are examples of this new way of working. I think of them as transitional or way finding paintings, important as the first stepping stones on a tangent of practice. I don’t know where this process will lead yet – but there are paintings lining up to be let out and surfaces illuminated when I close my eyes.