Day 2 of the course at the Prince's School (11th of November) took off in an almost literal burst of colour as Sam started to unpack and layout the powdery pigments and dishes of paint that we would spend the day working with. We all crowded round the desk laden with colour just waiting for the chance to jump in!Read More
Hi there and thanks for stopping by to check out my latest blog post and gilding tutorial!
I created this post in response to a request for assistance I received from one of my followers on Instagram. The requestor is planning to teach a class on Islamic manuscript illumination to a group of school children and whilst we were exchanging messages about the best way to use pans of shop bought shell gold, I thought to myself "it would be much easier to show her how to use those little quarter pans of golden delight rather than to tell her"....and so here we are!
One thing led to another and after the nightmare of editing (how do these vloggers do it all day everyday??!) here is the finished result!
I hope you enjoy it and find it a useful resource - as always please comment below or on the video itself as I really appreciate your comments and feedback and of course feel free to ask questions if you have any! If you manage to do some gilding of your own, I would love to see how you get on so get in touch via the contact page or via my Facebook or Instagram pages!
Your Questions Answered....
Since posting this tutorial, I have received a few questions that I will answer here!
"You say that you burnish the paper before you start in order to have a smooth surface to work on, but isn't it easier to buy smoother paper? Maybe a hot pressed?"
Great question - for manuscript illumination I always start with a "hot press" paper but this can be made much smoother by burnishing. I guess it comes down to personal choice and I suggest you experiment and try both and figure out what you prefer! My usual hot press paper for illumination is Fabriano Artistico 300gsm or heavier, and it can be used as is, but I find if I tea stain it then the surface can become a little dry and I like to flatten down the fibres by sizing and burnishing it. It really makes a huge difference, and well the smoother the surface the easier it is to paint smooth lines and the better the shine on the gold!
"Is it the same to use tracing paper when burnishing the gold instead of the kind of paper you are using in this video (do you call it glassing paper???)
Firstly the paper I mentioned is called "glassine" paper I haven't ever used tracing paper to burnish through but it may be a little hard. Glassine is a smooth glossy paper (choose acid free) which is air, grease and water resistant. It is most often used as interleaving paper in books / albums as it protects the fine surfaces / illustrations / photos from contact with facing pages. It was what was recommended to me when I first used powdered gold, although if you can't get hold of it acid free tissue paper can also be used.
"I just painted with some shop bought shell gold too, but it's not burnishing to that gorgeous sheen I see in your pictures!"
I feel your pain!! In my own experience shop bought pans of shell gold usually contain too much gum arabic which can definitely effect the shine you can achieve. (Gum Arabic is the binder used to turn the gold powder into paint and is what makes the gold adhere to the paper.)
When I buy a pan now, the first thing I do is to drop the whole pan into a small cup (I use a deep egg cup) and cover with clean mineral water. I gently break up the pan until it all turns into a liquid gold, and may add a touch more water if needed and give it a good stir. I then leave it alone over night and allow the gold to settle to the bottom of the cup. A lot of the excess gum Arabic will dissolve into the water and can be poured off once the gold has settled. I let the gold dry out and once dried it should be ready to use as normal by adding a few drops of water as I show in the video.
Welcome to the first post in a new series called "Watercolour Snapshot". These posts are intended to be a fun, quick look at how the paints behave and what some of their key attributes and properties are. Hopefully this will help you decide if these are colours you want to add to your own collections in the future.Read More
So it turns out a future career as an art blogger may not be on the cards for me, but I thought it might be nice to share a glimpse of what goes on when you sign up for a short course at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts in London.
On Saturday the 4th of November, I joined what was the first session ofRead More
Choosing the right surface for your watercolour painting is an important decision, because a well chosen surface can have a huge bearing on your work. This post will help you choose the paper that's best for you!Read More
Have you ever struggled when using watercolours? Do your paintings sometimes have visible streaks or lines once the paint has dried?
The simple lessons to learn are to pre mix your washes of colour and work quickly once you start painting.Read More