my number one go to in any of my art journals is GESSO. It creates texture when used with stencils/templates, it can be manipulated right on a page and it is a prefect surface for acrylic paint and so much more.
I agree with you Deb- Gesso is a m ust have, as is gel medium. I buy both in bulk. For color, Twinkling H2O's and Inktense products!