I have found that I return to the same range of materials again and again. Something draws me back to explore them more deeply, finding each encounter slightly different. Each material has personal associations and this pair of scrolls shows four of them.
Traditionally used as a sealant for a range of surfaces including wood and canvas, it has a dry chalkiness that reminds me of my grandmother’s linen sheets. There is a connection to porcelain, different densities akin to the slip used in ceramics. It has a soft white colour, really unctuous and shiny when wet which then dries to a matt finish. Gesso and ink interact in a way that can be unpredictable as it depends on many factors.
Which brings me to ink.
I use a fountain pen for the sensual pleasures of sound and touch. Painting with ink is the same: putting something so wet on the paper, its glossiness and intensity of colour which becomes softer when dry. I occasionally use black Indian ink (mainly for studies) but prefer to mix my own colours for greater subtlety. Indigo in its varied shades holds many associations including the colour of spirit.
First used when learning to gild and now symbolic of the precious, of warmth and joy, of sunshine through closed eyelids. Those unexpected moments remembered.
I love the earthiness of natural linen canvas, while retaining my aversion to beige in most other aspects of life. Linen is the perfect mid-tone for my gesso and ink compositions.
These are the main elements in my world: natural linen is earth to the water of ink, the air of gesso and the fire of copper leaf.
What do they mean to you?