Tag Archives: gold leaf on paper

Mini Paintings

Finished pics to come soon…

I have been working on A LOT some small paintings at once – for me – considering I usually have only one painting at a time on the go. This is partly because I am painting small scale for a particular exhibition, and partly because I thought it would be an opportunity to experiment a bit more – swimmers in actual paint is a new thing for me, and the addition of metal leaf is something I have been trying to find a place for in my recent paintings as well, so it was a chance to try out several variations and see where it went without being too intimidated by a massive investment of time if I messed it all up.

The size is about 4 inches square. The media are gouache, watercolour, metal leaf in gold, palladium and aluminium, and occasionally attacking the paintwork with a scalpel, which is always fun.

So here are a few work-in-progress photos. Better photos of each painting (or at least the ones I like best) to come later. This is a size that I find slightly challenging but I’ve had so much fun with this lot I may do another few. Perhaps some above water. And I think I probably learned some stuff. So, with few explanations, sorry, here are the photos:

Two point five degrees

Two Point Five Degrees

Two point five degrees

Two point five degrees: gouache, watercolour, aluminium, gold and palladium leaf, mica powder

Not as flattering as my last paintings of swimmers, but I was trying to convey the feeling of the water, bright and icy. The photograph that I used for reference in this painting was taken on a day when the water was indeed 2.5°C. I’ve left the painting a little unfinished compared to what I would usually do – the patchiness of her pink skin, the remains of white paint around the edges that was actually a mask of white paint protecting the figure while I added the grey, all added to the feeling of rawness, so I left it like that.

The piece is particularly difficult to photograph: what shows up as dark grey on a scanner is actually aluminium leaf (and a few shreds of gold and palladium leaf), and it catches the light. The grey paint also has mica powder added to it which gives it a lustre. Photographed at an angle – below – you can see the shine off the aluminium. I’ve also inexpertly taken a film clip of the light catching it.

Having once been a goldsmith, I have to admit to a certain metals snobbery. Though aluminium was briefly – about the time of Napoleon – the latest big thing, it now seems something like sacrilege to use gold and aluminium leaf together. And it handles differently – it’s much thicker, so that you can actually pick it up with fingers, but it needs more stickiness to attach it to the paper. Gold sticks with the tiniest hint of stickiness, and brushes away where it’s not wanted. Aluminium tends to shred and pull off in pieces where it was supposed to be stuck. Which is how I came to be filling in the gaps with gold leaf, though I quite like this effect. But I could still get to like the aluminium leaf, it is very much shinier than palladium or white gold, and white gold would eventually tarnish, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to use this much.

Another close-up

Another close-up

photo taken at an angle to catch the light

photo taken at an angle to catch the light

Two point five degrees - close-up

Two point five degrees – close-up