A little over a year ago, I tried a new surface that I read about in the February 2012 issue of “Watercolor Artist” magazine. The artist was about Kathleen Conover. She uses a mixture she calls gesso juice for some of her paintings. The juice is made from 1/2 white acrylic gesso with 1/4 water and 1/4 acrylic matte medium. You pour this on your watercolor paper and spread it over the surface with a credit card. While it is still wet, slash marks in it and squiggle through it with the credit card to create texture and all sorts of calligraphic marks. Allow this phase to dry completely. I have found that you can adjust the ratio of the mixture. There is also a thick acrylic gesso and a more fluid one. Check the label. The more fluid one requires less water and matte medium. The thicker the gesso, the more slippery the surface. This slippery surface is much like painting on yupo but not quite as slippery as some of the pigment does stain and adhere to the portions of the surface where the gesso is not as thick. I like it much better than yupo and appreciate the lifting that can be done.
The above is my first washes of this painting. This is really a phase where I lay in the shapes and initial colors of my piece.
Next, I added richer color and began to shape and lift and shade the forms of clouds and waves. You can lift with a damp cloth, brush or Q-tip. Kathleen Conover has also used stencils she has made to apply color or wash color out by scrubbing. The design possibilities are endless as you can just keep re-modifying your painting until you are satisfied.
In the last step I shaped the waves and used acrylic white on the white caps.
I spray these with a matte fixative when I am finished.