Monday, February 6, 2017

Metallic Motion

"Metallic Motion"
Image size 5.5" x 6.5"

I have some metallic leaf (not gold leaf) that I've had for years and never tried it in any paintings.  It is chopped up in a plastic bag and is a combination of colors - copper, burgundy, charcoal, gold - you get the picture.  

For this painting,  I placed my wood support (that had been gessoed) face down on the hot pancake griddle that I use as my palette.  The melted wax on my palette from previous paintings transferred onto the wood as would happen if you were making a mono print.  That mingled color became my background.  Then, I started adding the metal leaf.  I wasn't sure what would happen to it when I used my heat gun.  I was afraid that the heat would cause it to shrivel up, but it really didn't change at all.  I added some black and rust colored oil paint in certain areas as I continued to layer wax and metal leaf.  I also added clear shellac with white powdered pigment added.  I knew from past experience that my white mixture wouldn't catch on fire as nicely as plain shellac does, so I used a long lighter to heat each area of the white until it moved and took on the texture that I wanted.  I think my proportion of pigment powder to shellac is too heavy with pigment powder and not enough shellac for it to burn nicely.   I wanted the color to be very opaque, which is why I had the mixture heavy on  powder.  Next time, I'll add more clear shellac to my existing mixture and see if the white is still opaque enough and if it burns better.

The metallic element of this painting adds a nice texture.  The first layers that I applied have more wax covering them so they are less reflective, but having additional layers on top of each other adds different levels of shine and gives a real sense of dimension.

I'm looking forward to trying this on a larger painting.


  1. This experiment turned out very well, feels like I am looking at rocks on a sandy bottom. I like sneaking the leaf into paintings and will have to look for some of the colors besides the copper I have.

    1. Thank you Nelvia. I really like the look of metal leaf in paintings. I just have to be sure I don't use too much. It is so pretty and it is hard not to keep piling more on.


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