Sunday, July 4, 2010

@ Home with Claudine - Week 1

Hi everyone!  Well, as I suspected, I came home from our trip VERY ready to make something!  Lady luck smiled on me since my on-line class with Claudine Hellmuth started this week.  I am LOVING the class so far.

This week we did some prep work for our technique recipe book, which we'll be developing throughout the class, and then learned two new techniques.  The first technique is called Gesso Etching.  I've never worked with gesso before and I must say, it's fun!  Basically, you spread a layer of gesso (not super thick, but not too thin either - described as generously buttered bread) onto a surface - can be chipboard, canvas, paper, glass - really almost anything, and then you scratch (or "etch") something into the wet gesso and wait for it to dry (takes at least an hour or two, and overnight is better).  I just used a pencil.  Once it is dry, you then add a layer (or layers in my case) of watered-down paint (or you can add Claudine's "Extra Time" medium to your paint to slow down the time it takes for the paint to dry) to accent the image you etched into the surface.

Here is the result:

Isn't that cool!?  I love how the etchings create shadows and depth, and the white gesso shows through on the edges.  And I love how the layers of paint added over the top started to crack a little bit so it looks like really old leather.

Then, we learned our 2nd technique, called "Gesso Transfer".  You start by painting a surface with a base layer of paint, covering the entire surface.  Then you add a layer of gesso over top, leaving some of the painted surface showing on the edges (again, love that depth).  Then, while the gesso is still wet, you place a photocopy of an image FACE DOWN into the wet gesso.  Gently press the image into the gesso to ensure that the whole image comes in contact with the gesso.  I tried using an image printed on my ink jet printer - it did NOT work for me, though there were others in the class that said it worked for them.  Then, you let that dry overnight - according to many members of the class, and Claudine, the most frequent problem with this technique is not allowing enough time for the image/gesso to dry - be patient - do this project at night right before bed to reduce temptation!

Once it is dry, you spray the image with TONS of water - really saturated - and begin rubbing the paper off the project until all that is left is the transferred image, which has magically transferred to the gesso.  It takes a while to get it all off - just keep spraying and rubbing until it's all gone.  Once finished with that, you can add a layer of watered down paint over top to "tint" areas of the image.  I used a pale yellow with some brown added for a sepia effect.

Here is the result:

So now I have two pages in my recipe book... :)  

Then we had a special project which combines the two techniques together. I started with a 5 x 5 stretched canvas, primed it with a layer of Claudine's landscape green paint, then used the techniques above.  Here's the finished product:

I added the letters for "KEEP" from Tim Holtz' idea-ology collection.  I'll definitely hang this in my studio to remind myself to never stop trying new things.
As usual, all the items for these projects are available from

Hope you enjoyed seeing the results from Week One.  I'm hoping to participate in this week's Sunday Stampers Challenge - this week's theme is "rhinestones/gems".  I also want to catch up with Linda's Compendium of Curiosities challenge - I'm three weeks behind on that one... ughhh... AND I need to get started on my tags for the Everything Wendy Vecchi group's tag swap - LOTS to do!  But the good news is I'll have lots to post in the next few days / week - stay tuned and check back to see what i'm up to.

Happy 4th of July!


1 comment:

Mel said...

I think your gesso etching is the prettiest one I've seen!