Wednesday, July 29, 2015

{Spotlight Project} Shirley Plays with Black Gesso

I recently bought some black gesso. The only size I could get it in was a one-litre pot, which is probably enough to paint a room! It may last me some time...

I started off with the ARTplorations Bubbles stencil, my 5x3 Gelli Plate, some acrylic paints and mini roller, and made this panel.

I trimmed the panel to two pieces that would fit my base card. On one panel I stamped a bird from Trendy Birds, and on the other panel I placed two masks from the ARTplorations Some Birds stencil/mask set, then inked the Distressed Damask Background stamp and stamped over the masks. We'll come back to that one in a minute, but first I want to concentrate on the left-hand panel.

I stamped the one of the border stamps from Artsy Border Maker around the edges of the panel, masking in the corners.

The next step was to infill the area between the bird and the borders with black gesso. I wanted an extra border around the bird, so I left a small gap all around.

I worked a small area around the bird, then started around the borders, and working back towards the bird.

So now the bird is floating in black space, so I stamped a sentiment from Party Time on white card, then cut it up and used the birthday word to ground the bird. Mounted it onto a base card and it's done. Here's another look.

So, back to the other panel. When I removed the stamp and the masks, there wasn't enough contrast between where the stamped image stopped and where the bird images started, so I replaced the masks and drew around them with a Pitt pen so that I had a guide for painting the gesso on.

This time I painted right up to the bird images, covering the pen marks, then just grunged the gesso outwards, leaving plenty of the damask image showing. I added a similar sentiment to finish off.

I stirred the gesso with a bbq skewer, removing as much of the gesso as possible from the skewer, but there was still enough on to paint both cards without having to dip the brush into the pot at all. It's gonna take me forever to use it up!

Products Shirley used in today's project:



Trendy BirdsArtsy Border Maker, and Party Time are just some of many 4x6 sets that you can receive for free with a STAMPlorations stamp club subscription! The stamp club has lots of perks, including free worldwide shipping, a free 4" by 6" stamp set sent every 3rd shipment (or immediately after signing up for the semi-annual subscription), 2 personal discount coupon codes, and choice of 2 ARTplorations stencils ($10 value) in every stamp club package mailed out to subscribers! For more info and to sign up, click here.

Prize alert! Leave a comment in this post for an entry to our Spotlight Projects random drawing for July. We'll pick ONE (1) commenter to win a $10 gift certificate or her choice of 1 ARTplorations stencil. We'll announce the winner on the first week of August!


  1. WOW - what a fascinating technique - I am not so great with the gesso but this is COOL!!

  2. Love it Shirley!! I have never noticed those birds or stancil. I am going to have to check if they are new!!

  3. Wow, wow, wow. Soooo cool. Black gesso, who knew???

  4. These are fab Shirley, love the use of the black gesso. Carol x

  5. Wow is right! Lots of steps and colors and layers to make a beautiful card!

  6. Wow is right! Lots of steps and colors and layers to make a beautiful card!

  7. What a creative use of the gesso - great results too!

  8. Lovely experiments with black gesso...I love the grungy use of gesso on the 2nd card!!!

  9. Wow..Both the cards are fantastic ,I loved the drama black gesso adds to them !

  10. Freakingly cool cardssss!! Loved the experiments! :)

  11. These are both soooo cool! The bird stencil and stamp set are fabulous! xxx

  12. Oh, such a great technique for creating unusual, stylish cards - love the black gesso (I will have to try it)

  13. So brave of you to use black gesso and cover up all that colorful goodness, but it just WORKS! Love these!

  14. Two lovely cards. Really like the difference the gesso made to the second card. Hugz


Spammers have been in full force lately so I had to turn comment moderation on. We love hearing from fellow crafters (not spammers), so your comment will be approved as soon as possible. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us :o)