Jennifer Letchet Paintings

My work explores fundamental elements of painting, the relationship between colour and line. I intend my paintings to affect the viewer optically with the illusion of shapes moving and receding. Colour theory is very important to my work. I use specific hues to symbolise ideas or emotions. The contained shapes on canvases seem more like objects than lines. My recent work explores natural and man-made disasters and the impact this has on our environment. I want to record the changing landscape through simplified shapes and colours.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

My Gesso (Chalk ground) recipe


  • A chalk ground needs a hard surface (such as board, as it is prone to cracking. Therefore a flexible surface like stretched canvas is inappropriate)
  • Prepare the board for the gesso by applying 2 coats of rabbit skin glue.  Leave 2 hours drying time between coats
  • To make the up the rabbit skin glue use a ration of 14 parts water to one part rabbit skin glue grains
  • Leave to soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour
  • Heat the glue in a Bain Marie, do not let it boil, just gently heat and stir away the lumps.  If you do not have a Bain Marie, use boiling water in a bucket and put the rabbit skin glue mix in a smaller bowl into the bucket and stir.  It takes a little longer to heat, but is just as effective
  • Once the glue has been mixed, add the whiting until there is a mountain in the liquid
  • Stir with a spoon until there is an even and smooth consistency like double cream.  If you put your finger in, the gesso should stick and be white in colour
  • Time is of the essence here, mix quickly, don’t let it get cold
  • Make sure you are doing this on a flat surface, as the board will dry in this position.  Otherwise it may warp.
  • Apply the first coat in even layers.  Flood the paintbrush and apply quickly and gently. 
  • This is a wet-on-wet process.  Do not let the layer dry before adding the next.  Using your fingers, create ripples of texture in the surface to allow for the next coat to stick.  Apply the second coat without disturbing the first layer
  • Apply coats in alternative directions, i.e. coat 1 horizontally, coat 2 vertically
  • In total, you want to apply 7 coats of gesso, with the 3rd, 4th, etc layers, wait for the layer to go from glossy to matte, before you add the next coats.  Do not let it dry completely though.  Still flood your paintbrush and apply quick even coats without brushing through the layers beneath.
  • Do not worry about loose stray hairs; you will sand those away when dry.
  • When you have finished, leave to dry for 2 days
  • Once dry (it will have dried to a paler colour), wet and dry sand using a sanding block and very fine sandpaper.  Use circular movements.
  • Rub up with a cloth to remove dust and polish

2 comments:

Matthew said...

This is truly a great read for me. I loved to read this post very much. Looking forward to read your next article. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

nice