This is take two. Take one happened two weeks ago and went so wrong that the piece could not be saved. I started with darker colors thinking I would lighten distant ridges later. But apparently at a certain number of layers pigment clings to the surface for dear life and refuses to be lifted with any kind of eraser. So I am going with a much lighter hand now, and it seems to be better that way. The surface is not as smooth as it looks. I am glad it’s mountains and not some young face.
Updated: May 17, 2018
I am working on this between other things, but here is what I’ve learned so far. Darks are more work on a gesso board than on paper. Even canvas is more agreeable. It’s not that the board doesn’t accept dark pigments. It does, but the wavy texture lines on it that go vaguely vertical keep some narrow areas persistently lighter than the rest and require ongoing touchups. But I like the sturdiness of a gesso board very much. I am starting to wonder if maybe graphite or charcoal would be easier, but that’s for the next test or two. Also need to look up other brands in case some have a really even texture.
Updated: July 23, 2018
What I thought would be a quick experiment turned into a long argument with the gesso surface. Mountains changed their look at least 4 times, and I am not touching them again. The future sunset sky is all mapped, and the gesso texture that gives me so many headaches is showing in its full glory right now.