Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some questions answered: What's in her lap and my priming technique.

Thanks for all your lovely comments on Friday's studio update post for PPF. Many of you asked if the women in my work in progress (WIP) painting was holding an owl. The sketch was very rough and did look like an owl, now that I've added paint, it may clear things up, she is holding a Chicken.

Recently I have been asked about my surface texture and what I use to prime my supports. I've done a fair bit of research into different methods of priming and tried various techniques and surfaces. Of late, I've settled on using an absorbent mid tone gesso on my boards. I prefer boards because they don't have bounce/give, they take more punishment and are smooth (no canvas texture showing through).

So what is Gesso?  According to Wikipedia, Gesso is a white paint mixture consisting of a binder mixed with chalk, gypsum, pigment, or any combination of these.[1] I've experimented with making my own gesso/absorbent ground by adding gypsum (also known as plaster of Paris), acrylic binder medium, and acrylic paint).  I Add equal parts acrylic (mostly binder with a dab of green paint for colour) and plaster, this seems to be a good ratio for achieving a texture and absorbancy I'm happy with. I first heard of the equal parts plaster and binder method from the catalouge 'Art, Love & Life'

I've use a mid tone green (instead of white) to do my under painting on ever since I saw this video on Youtube about Sargent's painting methods. It seems to work well.

Paul DuSold - 
The John Singer Sargent Method of Painting

I hope you are having a wonderful day xx


  1. Hi Tracey, thanks for sharing your new WIP, the priming techniques and video. It has me intrigued and I will have to have a look at other vids on the Sergeant Method, and try it at home because I have trouble with portraits. Ah Google and YouTube, how would I paint without you!

  2. Google and Youtube are so helpful! I couldn't do a lot of things without it, I rely on the internet for so many things, it's invaluable for my painting practice.

    Here are some links on my blog you may find helpful:


    Oh and my Sargent Admiration file, a must see if your intrigued by his work and method! : http://traceypotterartist.blogspot.com/2011/06/admiration-file-john-singer-sargent.html

  3. Your WIP is looking so nice already!