View the new website for Coral G Guest's life and work as a Flower Painter.


Real gesso is an ancient mixture used as a ground and primer for artworks. Its purpose is to prepare a surface for painting and drawing, as well as for gilding.
In 1975, Coral G Guest was taught the technique of making real gesso by her Chelsea tutor, Ken Kiff.

This gesso is not the same as the contemporary acrylic ground that is available as a ready-made compound. Traditional gesso needs to be made and used immediately.

Traditional gesso is a medieval recipe. It is composed of three basic ingredients: dried refined rabbit skin glue, finely ground chalk, and water. 

The glue is soaked overnight, and is then heated gently over a double boiler. The sifted chalk, is added to the melted glue and water mixture. 
The result is an ivory-coloured emulsion. 
The mixture is applied in layers to the panel, or other surface, whilst still warm. Once cold, it sets to a rock like opaque substance.

The intricacy of the recipe and the method of application, varies from artist to artist, and for many it remains a secret until it is passed on.

Coral stores her gesso surfaces for many years before using them. 
In 2018, small sized pieces of gesso are being brought out of store. These were made ten years ago. She considers this an appropriate length of time to store her own gesso panels. This gives the surfaces time to adjust, and time to breathe in a variety of different temperatures, in preparation for use as a support for drawing, painting, and mixed media.


2017 March to December


A 32 x 42 cm sketch book entitled Iceland - Light into Dark by Coral G Guest has been selected as one of the 100 sketchbooks to be shown for the SKETCH OPEN DRAWING PRIZE 2017. This is a travel sketch book containing monochrome drawings using mixed media, including brush drawings in water colour and body colour, charcoal and lead.

The SKETCH OPEN is the UK’s only art prize for artist’s sketchbooks with a dedicated touring sketchbook exhibition. The tour will begin by opening at the Rabley drawing Centre on 21st May 2017, and continue around the UK until 15th December 2017.

The competition and touring exhibition SKETCH, aims to promote the diversity and importance of drawing and the role of the sketchbook in contemporary creative practice. SKETCH OPEN 2017

 ‘The handling of a sketchbook takes us to the heart of the space inhabited by the artist - The turning of a page brings a flow of ideas: fragments of images to come, references to places visited, experiences absorbed and thoughts provoked. It is a unique and privileged position; the prospect excites and the time spent rewards.’ Meryl Setchel Ainslie


21 May – 17 June 2017
Rabley Drawing Centre
Rabley Barn
Marlborough, SN8 2LW

22 July – 3 September 2017
Black Swan Arts, Frome
2 Bridge Street
Frome, BA11 1BB

9 September – 6 October 2017
Plymouth College of Art
Tavistock Place
Plymouth PL4 8AT

20 November – 15 December 2017
Peter Scott Gallery
Lancaster Arts
Great Hall Complex
Lancaster University LA1 4YW