Painting Watercolor On Gesso On Old Book Pages

Did you know you can paint with watercolor on gesso? I learned something new in an online class I took. You can spread gesso on old book pages then paint on it . I have used gesso many times for multi-media projects, but I din’t know you could paint with watercolor on it. What a great thing! I love the texture and look of the book print under the gesso with a watercolor over it.

Painting Watercolor on gesso on old book pages

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Gesso on old book pages for watercolor journal art-myflowerjournal

I was surprised the pages dried flat after brushing the gesso on them. I suggest you spread gesso on a bunch of old book pages. That way you have plenty to create with. I used a sponge brush to apply the gesso. Make sure you do it thick enough for a good base to paint on, but thin enough for some of the book print to show through. I did a variety of  book pages that were different sizes and colors. 

After the gesso is completely dry I lightly draw my sketch with pencil. Then I go over the pencil with a black waterproof pen. Next I carefully erase the pencil if it shows. You can’t erase very hard or you will damage your gesso surface. Watercolor as you usually would. When its dry I usually add a few more pen details and some splattered paint in watercolor or acrylic. Splattered acrylic paint is much heavier and gives the look of a grassy field. Splattered watercolor is just little specks and dries quite light unless you use a lot of pigment mixed with the water.

Here’s a watercolor I painted on gesso spread on old book pages.

Pumpkin watercolor before the splattered paint….

Watercolor pumpkins painted on an old book page covered with gesso

I splattered dark green and brown acrylic paint first, then a variety of lighter greens followed by orange, yellow and white.

Watercolor pumpkins painted on an old book page covered with gesso

Watercolor pumpkins in a field of splattered acrylic paint.

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