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$5 Art Journal, Week 2

January 18, 2010

Are you psyched about your new journal yet?  Ready to get your hands a bit messy this week?  Lets get started.

Okay, so today I am sending you into that scary art store.  You’ll probably see all sorts of stuff in there that you have no idea how to use.  That’s okay; someday you might.  In the meantime, just remember you’re only after one thing today.  And that one thing is:

Gesso! I'm addicted!

Gesso! Don’t know what it is?  Gesso, which is pronounced Jess-oh, is used by most artists as a primer, something to prep their work surface with.  Art journalers use it for that and a million other things.  Since we’re just starting out it will be a base layer in our art journal, but keep it around because we’ll use it often.

So, what exactly are you looking for?  It looks like white paint comes in tubs or squeeze bottles.  If you ask someone at the art store, they’ll probably take you right to the expensive stuff.  Twelve dollars a bottle, ouch!  Since you just want to try gesso there are a few cheaper options out there.  First, try looking by the small bottles of acrylic paint.  I got my first 2 ounce bottle of gesso at a Ben Franklin store for $2.50.  It’s the one in the far left of the above photo.  Another good place to look for cheap gesso is the clearance area of Hobby Lobby.  I got an 8 ounce jar there for $2.39 (second left in the photo).  The other two are the expensive stuff, $12 each from Wal-Mart and Ben Franklin.  As you can see, gesso comes in a few different colors.  I have white, grey, and black.  Today just stick with white, since it’s the most versatile.

cheap brushes

If you have any money left over, pick up a couple of paintbrushes.  The kind I like have flat one inch bristles.  You can go super cheap and pick up a foam brush like the one in the middle.  In my opinion, foam brushes soak up most of your gesso and you end up wasting it.  I do like using foam brushes for glue, though.

Now, when you get home, find your art journal.  I told you to keep it out where you can see it, not buried under a pile of gossip mags!  Just kidding.  Grab your gesso and brushes and go ahead and put some gesso on your pages.  If you added anything to your journal you can gesso around it or try gessoing over it.  One coat of gesso is pretty transparent.  If you scribbled some personal stuff on your page that you don’t want anyone to see, put a couple of coats over it.  You can paint gesso on thick, then use the other end of your brush to add some texture before it dries.

A note on brush care: Make sure after you are done with your paintbrushes you wash them out well.  Don’t store them bristle side down or leave them in water too long.  And don’t leave them out where your husband can find them and use them for automotive purposes (don’t ask).

Well, that’s the word on gesso.  It’s not super exciting yet, which is why I have a couple of other posts planned this week.    I’m going to show you what kind of nifty journaling stuff to start looking for around your house.  And I have a tasty surprise for you as well.  Happy gessoing!

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