Layering acrylic is easy, but you better be quick about reworking an area. Good news is that you can gesso over nearly any already painted canvas, board, fabric, paper - and start again. And I'm singing the virtues of black gesso because right now, it's my addiction.
The studio isn't set up, but as luck would have it, I pulled the box of all my Golden Gessos out of storage - to my delight, wonder, and awe. And right down in the middle of the mess I was driven to play. Just as my Buddha cat, Baxter, loves to flop down on the worst of messes - tangles of clothing, boxes awaiting packing or unpacking, piles of books, magazines and papers - I found myself akin to him in spirit.
Recently it's been layering of paints - brushed, sprayed, or rolled - that's been my craving. When I'm in the heat of a rush to create, I'm not thinking of technique particularly. It's easier to just sweep in and experiment and keep playing until I capture the essence of the vision I'm holding. And black gesso is the blank canvas I love best. (At least for now.)
My artist friends always advise painting light to dark; my fine artist friends have been trained this way. It feels counter-intuitive to me - like trying to write left-handed as a right-handed person. Black gesso removes all the anxiety of a white canvas for me, and I don't know why. When I stare into a black canvas, board, paper, or other substrate, the inspiration flows. When I stare into a white substrate, I am often (not always) blocked and intimidated.
So, I've been spraying, brushing, rolling, layering. Loops and angles. Letting it drip and run and smear. The sumi and India ink isn't here yet, and my watercolors and gouache are still boxed in storage. I miss my Golden acrylics, but I made a feverish run to Dick Blick and purchased their brand of acrylics (which are quite excellent) to tide me over (and some white ink). My paint brushes, alas, are still in one of the hundreds of boxes in storage, but I have house-painting brushes and a Home Depot within a few minutes' drive (where I bought several cheap sash brushes and other painting tools for non-house-painting use). And the release is joyous!
Sometimes a splash of color is all that's needed to lift and elevate the work to it's finish. Several canvases that I'm working (bought at a garage sale) are drying now. I may not get back to them for a while, because the restoration and renovation of this old house is stealing my time, too. And, of course I'm using yummy black gesso in my art journal with white ink, fibers, and stencils. This is endless water after a very long drought for me.
Tell me about your gesso experiences - what you add to it, how you thin it, and if you use it between layers. Share your stuff so I can strut it for you, people!