The raised texture on sketchbook page using gesso and gloss medium

With limited supplies, it is possible to get inventive. I like contrasts between watery inky layers and raised texture – all building a rich surface across each page. I found the perfect combination in gesso and gloss medium to lay a foundation before colour, shape and line are used to depict the chaos of the trees.

painted sketchbook pages

Contrasts in texture from chalky and rough to ink over glossy droplets

Using a bristle brush I roughly apply gesso over the pages – thicker in some areas and also skimmed over the surface to leave gaps and thinner areas. Once those layers are dry, I then skim gloss medium over quite rapidly using a palette knife – barely touching the paper. This leaves lovely ‘droplets’ of medium which are raised from the surface of the paper and it is this combined with the matte, chalky surface of the gesso that allows the ink and fluid paint to have such variations in the way it reacts. I love contrast and this goes way beyond light and dark. Buttery paint contrasting with very fluid, watery paint. Shiny against matte. Scratchy surfaces against pools of deep pigment.

varnish over ink

Contrasting matte and glossy using gloss medium

Once the pages are completed, I also then painted details with gloss medium to create further shifts of matte against areas that look like they have been glazed. Hard to capture in a photo but lovely in real life. These are all things that I would love to play more with on a bigger scale in my paintings back in the studio. In fact, it reminds me just to play more, invent more. Play with the surface more and see how far I can take it.

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