Sunday, February 16, 2014

Using Pastels and Gesso to create Art Journal Backgrounds

I think I first used this technique in the House and Home book I made for my sister, Kate. I don't remember where I first read about the technique. For this post I did two journal spreads, one using cool tones and one using warm tones. The main image in both is an image I snagged off the internet to help me in my attempts to learn to use Painter X, a program I've had for a number of years but never learned to use. I also made "learning" the theme of both pages.

 Scribbling heavily with warm tones of the pastels in a 5" x 8" Moleskine journal, with a few added accents of blues and greens.
 After painting the gesso on, I thought it was a little too pink. The streaks of green are from small chunks of pastel chalk I forgot to brush off that got caught in my brush. I just brush back and forth a while and then up and down. If desired, you can paint the gesso onto all the yellow, then orange, etc which give a different look. I was going for smeared and smudged. Too much gesso will turn the whole thing white.
 More yellow and orange pastel over the dried gesso. I forget to photograph the pages before I started journaling.
 Since this was more about the backgrounds than the journaling I used a technique described in "Journal Spilling" of quickly choosing magazine images and words and arranging them on the pages in a pleasing manner. I had printed the Painter file in warm and cool shades to use on the two spreads but this nude definitely looks a little chilly.
My pastels - one rather pricey set I dropped and broke and one inexpensive set. They all work!

 The second spread was in my junk journal on a GelliArt page gone very wrong.
 The cool colors of pastels applied heavily, together with some warm tones.
This is pretty messy because I was using too much gesso and paying no attention to where the colors stopped and started.

 I applied more chalks (above) and used a less heavy hand with the gesso (below).
 The last photo is the finished journaling page, same magazine, same general technique, with some stamping on the pages and some shadowing of the images with Caran d' Ache and Portfolio crayons. I got the quotes by Googling "quirky learning quotes" and loved both of these and quite a few others as well.
Personally, I really like the less than perfect backgrounds with interesting color blends that this technique produces. Very serendipitous. I hope you find this useful!!