Saturday, August 29, 2009

Finally, Finished Painting..Now???

Well, the exhibit is mounted...okay, it's in a jewelry store on our town square...not a fancy gallery, but it shows well, and there is a thing that our town does (very cool) called "First Friday", where the shops and businesses stay open on the first Friday of each month, and offer treats, and show their wares, or greet newcomers, etc....I am to bring some treats, and meet the people. I think it's a great way to get to know people, and to network.

This is a photo of Shadow, my favorite (well, one of my favorites) deer....we have about a dozen, whom we make sure get water and a bit of corn each morning and evening...there has been a terrible drought, and we have about two acres of land, part of which is woods, where they hang out. Anyway, Shadow likes to peek in my french doors, hoping to lure me out with corn. She figures, "first in line, first fed corn"...
When I was approached about doing the show, I began this, huge, 5'X3' painting, based on this photo...I silver-leafed the background, and then, gold-leafed the "dappled light" on the ground. I paint by doing an under painting (actually, learning as I go...I've never had any lessons), and I wanted to finish her for this exhibit. I decided that I wasn't going to rush it, as I want it to be just so, and I don't know if I will be able to part with it when it's done.

One of these days, I am going to take the time to sit down and read all that "stuff" they have that educates one about the ins and outs of the blogging world. With a little help from my new friends, I have (I think) mastered how to become a follower on a blog..Aside from brain surgery, I have managed to learn just about everything by reading about it...Well, there were classes, etc., but mostly, I just picked it up and taught myself. Only bad thing is it takes about ten times longer than to take a class or have someone teach you. For example, I have spent the last several hours, trying to put these photos up in the correct heck with it...I'll just adjust the writing! (My husband calls me, "running with scissors Jess"). I do have a wonderful, patient, friend, who has helped me..thanks, Darlin'.

Here is the work in progress of Shadow...silver-leafed, and underpainted....I have been working on it in my dining room, where I have burgundy sheers, and when the sun shines in in the afternoon, the painting reflects as a rosy sunset. Trying to figure out the glazing to make it a permanent rose tint. I have glazed before, but once it's on silver-leaf, it's there...sneaking up on it.

The gold leaf is real gold...very expensive, but it really is more reflective than false gold leaf, often referred to as bronze gold leaf...The silver is not really silver, but called Dutch Metal...I couldn't afford real silver leaf.
Before silver or gold leafing, you need to put a coat of paint as an underpainting...this is called a "bole" have probably seen red or green bold under gold-leafed picture frames..those are the traditional colors used. I used acrylic, as it dries faster...I used yellow, so the image would feel more "light"... I have included photos of a painting that is in the show, called, "kimono"'s not my favorite..more "decorative", but in the right setting, it could be quite striking. I silver-leafed the fan, and the veins on the leaves, and then, decided it needed to look less "stiff", so I went ahead and did more free-form silver-leaf on the trees, giving it a look of either snow or a blight (I am hoping people think snow).Ha

You can get adhesive size at hobby stores or art supply stores...or online. I recommend an art store, or on-line, as the hobby stores sell very small bottles, and it's expensive. I got mine at Jerry's Artarama in Austin. This can has lasted forever.

So, here are the materials you will need for gold, or silver leafing (I also silver leaf my floorcloths sometimes..also picture frames and wooden candlesticks...the sky is the limit..I don't recommend it for metal, but you can use it on decorative glass)

You need the sizing, some brushes, the leafing...It comes in "books", with paper tissue in between the leaf. I recommend putting a bit of baby powder or corn starch on your fingers, as the leaf sticks to everything. Also, a pair of scissors.

After you have painted on your bole, you paint on the sizing....I like to work with a light at one end of my surface, so I can see that I have entirely covered the area I want to leaf. Shadow was easier doing the large background, as I was a large surface. If I am doing detail work, such as the veins in the leaves, I used a fine brush. The size goes on milky, but becomes transparent as it dries. It depends on the humidity conditions as to how long it takes to become "set up"...some days, it takes an hour, and some very dry days (around here, every day is very dry), to become tacky. If it is a very large surface, I recommend testing it where you began, so as to start there, while the finished area sets up. I take my knuckle and press lightly on the surface; if it feels tacky, it's time to leaf.

I made the mistake of trying to silver-leaf the kimono on my kitchen island, under an air conditioning vent...I had a silver snow storm, so I had to turn the ac off (102 degrees) while I was working....Also, my "bole" on the leaves of the fan was oil paint, as I hadn't planned on leafing the entire, it probably still isn't dry. In fact, if you look at the photo below, you will see that I had to make a "tent", where I knew the paint was still damp, as I didn't want to get silver leaf there.
Don't be concerned that the bole shows through where the leaf cracks, or doesn't's meant to be that is the hallmark of leafing...otherwise, you might as well just paint on silver paint (never looks as good) or spray paint something...

I decided I didn't like the band on the fan, (I had painted it a contrasting color), so I silver-leafed it as well. When working with smaller areas, I cut the books of tissue - remember, the leaf is between pages of the tissue. It save leaf, and is easier to control. Also, don't try to just pick up the leaf itself, unless you are an expert. Many use a "water method", which is way over my head. Also, some use a brush to pick it up (static electricity)...I use the and learn.These are the leaves when they were just veined...I didn't like them, so I dabbed sizing on, using a natural sea sponge from which I had torn a small, ragged piece, and dipped it in the sizing...I wanted a random look..edges and such, that are not easy to achieve with a brush. When laying down the leaf - the tissue won't stick, and you can rub the leaf under it...remember, where ever there is size, it's there...get over it.

I often take a soft-bristled brush, and pounce it on the tissue, and then, pull the tissue away...
(still trying to find a use for all that tissue -collages?)

Let the leaf set up for awhile...if you try to get rid of the excess too early, it smears, gets gummy, not patient. After about an hour or so, take a medium bristle brush, and brush in towards the center from the outside. The leaf will come off, leaving a real mess of silver leaf everywhere. I figured out a way to keep it from getting I was brushing the leaf, I had my vacuum in one hand, sucking up the excess. For real gold, I don't, as it is too expensive, and I leave the bit to be brushed gently into a little box for dust, don't you know?

I had silver-leaved the banding, veins, and most of the fan...I also gold-leafed the handle of the fan

It felt stiff...(also, silver-leafed the "rod")... Okay, I have photos out of order...when you scroll down, you will see a very early image of "Shadow", before I gold-leafed the dappled sunlight...
One cool thing...her eyes follow you across the room....

Here is the finished kimono...To me, it has more "character"...if you click on the photo, you will see the detailing...Remember, art is subjective.... "Foxes and Fireflies"...many have seen this one before...I learned to paint fur...not an easy thing..thank you Corot..

My first least the first I ever finished..."Gathering Desert Storm"

My first oil painting...(okay, the first I've finished...I can't tell you how many I've started and hated)..."DayDreaming"...Originally, I titled it "Dreaming of Miguel"...
This is "Splash"....hung it still wet...I hated it at first, but turned it upside down, and liked it much better....
That's it...that's the five not easy pieces....