Gesso Drawing

Structure of painting has been created with black gesso

Warm glaze is applied over entire surface

The finished piece shows little evidence of the gesso drawing.

Another painting using the black gesso and warm glaze technique.

Last week I talked about using gesso to establish the dark structure of a painting.  You can use the gesso full strength for solid black or dilute it for gray tones.

Once the gesso is dry, paint a warm color glaze made of fluid acrylic paint mixed with glazing or gloss medium in a middle value.  The glaze establishes a warm underpainting and adds a hint of color on top of the black.

After the glaze is dry, add some opaque lights to create a full value range and some cool middle values for color contrast. Leave some of the transparent glaze showing to contract with the opaque paint.

When the painting is finished, there is very little evidence of the gesso.

The last painting of the low country salt marsh and palmettos was created using the same black gesso and warm glaze technique.  This was a demo for the acrylic painting class I’ve been teaching in the last few weeks.

Click here for more information about the class.

This entry was posted in Acrylics, Basics and tagged , .


  1. Meg Gregory February 15, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Cindy, each paragraph of your newsletter is loaded with succinct, practical, useful information. You, and your work, are amazing. –Meg Gregory

    • lucindahowe February 15, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

      Thank you, Meg, for your encouraging words!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *