-By Dan dos Santos

Gessoing a board properly really does take a full day, mostly due to drying time. But when a major deadline is approaching, one day can mean everything.

It’s almost embarrassing to admit, because it shows just how extraordinarily lazy I can be. But sometimes, when I am running really late on a deadline, and I don’t have a primed board ready to go, I will actually paint on the back side of another painting.

It doesn’t seem too bad at first. But quite often the second painting turns out really well and I am forced to actually cut the previous painting in half in order to frame it. At this point, I always think, why didn’t I just plan better?

This has happened to me more times than I like to admit.

For instance, on the flip side of my ‘Fires of Heaven‘ painting… A cover for an Urban Fantasy novel that I did a particularly lackluster job on. I knew I would never sell the piece (or even display it), so why not get some use out of it?

On the flip side of my ‘Dead Reign‘ painting… 3/4 of a Hellboy movie poster, which was abandoned due to some massive compositional revisions. After days of work, the AD decided to completely change the poses of the characters, and I was forced to start anew.

I’ve actually sold quite a few paintings like this, and often times the owner doesn’t even know there is another painting hidden there (Mostly because I totally forgot it was there).

The board I paint on is Strathmore 500 series illustration board. It’s the same paper on the front side as on the back side. So, I am able to paint on either side. But what happens when you really hate a painting, and it doesn’t have a paintable back side (because you decided to mount a digital drawing to masonite, for instance)?

Well… you find other uses for it… like a cutting mat.