02 03 The World in Relief: The gold rush is on in the studio 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

The gold rush is on in the studio

My exploration with gold that I admitted to in my last post has actually been going on for a few months...

In November I experiemented with chine collé, where thin papers are pasted down as part of the printmaking process. Read this post to learn more.  For the actual cards, I used green and cream kitakata papers, Rives BFK as the card support, and Handschy gold ink.

New Years cards for my collectors and supporters.
Gold ink highlights ginkgo leaves and pine cones.
I was pleasantly surprised at the result. The ink, while not shiny, had a pleasing metallic patina. My fellow printmaker James Hubbard told me that you need to seal the paper somehow for the patina to be visible. So perhaps the acrylic medium did this.

I wondered though -- what would happen if it were really gold leaf...

In the accompanying DVD to Magical Secrets about Chine Collé by Brian Shure there is a mesmerizing sequence where we see gold leaf being applied to a piece of contemporary artwork.

Supplies include red oxide acrylic paint, 12-hour sizing,
and gold patent leaf.
I was intrigued enough to want to try some gold leafing for myself. The entire sequence is a bit complicated, so do consult Shure's book/dvd for complete instructions.

How to apply gold leaf:
1. Seal the area where you want the gold to adhere first with acrylic medium.
2. Paint the area with red oxide acrylic paint. Mine was pretty thin. Apparently you use a pewter blue for silver.
3) Paint the sizing on the red oxide area. (Wear a respirator and have good ventilation.)
4) Let the sizing cure for at least 12 hours. Shure's book recommends waiting until it isn't tacky. For me this was 48 hours!
5) Carefully apply the gold patent leaf to the sized areas. Rub the backing paper gently.
6) Use a soft cloth or brush to burnish the gold leaf areas.

A nautilus becomes gilded.

To test this myself, I used part of a print that had some alignment issues. I applied the gold leaf process to the areas that appear darkest in this picture. The results were mixed. In places you could see where I had applied the red oxide, but had missed with the sizing (which is clear.) But apparently you shouldn't apply the sizing directly to the paper. Clearly I needed to pay more attention and use a light with a magnifying glass.

It was a great deal of work! I'm now wondering if perhaps one could use the printing process to apply the first three steps... The rubbing of the gold leaf is fantastic, however. Makes you feel like a monk illuminating a manuscript. A very rich experience indeed.

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