The final piece of my 2013 calendar is complete! Not without slight mishap, I might add. I might have called this post ‘try to make each mistake only once’!
First of all here is the drawing:
I thought I would give it the same gold-and-silhouette treatment as the September one, partly because two drawings amongst a sea of paintings seemed better than one lonely one on its own, and partly because the drawing for March (coming after this one, as you would expect), has very pale figures with a dark background, so I thought it would be a nice contrast. As in the September drawing, there is another… er… heavenly body in the sky. It might be the moon, or it might be the sun. It is certainly very gold-gold, not moon-gold or red-gold, but I leave it up to you to decide what it is.
Unfortunately, it was in the gilding of this orb that I almost came unstuck. First, I had wondered if I should put gold leaf in-between the veins of the fairy’s wings, not leave them white. And rather in the certainty that I would regret my decision, but in the stronger certainty that I wanted to see what that would look like anyway, I went ahead :-D. With hindsight, as I has suspected the wings do not show up like they do in the September picture, unless you get the lighting just right. Fortunately, the calendar will be printed from a photograph in which I’ll endeavour to get the lighting just right!
The next issues I had were with the gold size. This is the glue that you paint on and which the gold leaf is then stuck to. I used some size I’d previously mixed with a bit of yellow watercolour, so that any gaps in the gilding would be yellow, not white. That was fine, but I mixed it up some time ago and it was a little thicker than it should be, so half-way through applying this, and with no possibility of doing anything other than carrying on, I’m battling paint-brush-marks, that I don’t like in my gold leaf. Kind of got away with it by brushing the stuff around in concentric circles within the outline of the sun, so it looks intentional, but I do like my gold leaf to be flat and even. Ah well.
The next, more annoying thing, though ultimately fixable, was that I had not appreciated quite how un-flat the paper would become as a result of painting on the gold size. Usually the gilding I have done in the past has been on stretched paper, because the whole thing was to be a painting, or on drawings and etchings where I have gilded just in small areas. But look at the gold sun-moon-thing in the picture above: not in the least flat. And it shows particularly because now it is metallic and shiny.
Not having that. So it went in the bath:
Basically I flattened out the whole thing by stretching the paper, afteṛ I had added the gold leaf. (For what stretching paper is all about, see my newly-posted instructions on how to stretch paper). This is actually not nearly as risky as you might believe, since the gold size is acrylic, and of course the gold and the pencil won’t run. Ah… though there was that yellow watercolour that I had added to the gold size. That should have been bound up in the acrylic layer of the gold size, but some how a few splodges of it got out! The yellow splodges were, I have to say, only faint, but they did decide the case for having a grey background, not pure white.
So, the final piece.Amazing it worked at all after all that messing about. These were all mistakes that I have not made before. It’s probably important to make mistakes sometimes, because if you don’t, it probably means you’re being too careful. It is a good idea, however, to try to make each one just the once, if that can possibly be arranged!
For the sake of accuracy, I just wanted to point out that in the photo above the picture looks like it is drawn onto grey paper and not white. This is not the case – it’s the camera compensating for the shininess of the gold, however it looks so atmospheric like this I shall not be correcting it, and who is to say this is really not correct, after all, it’s the same as what your eyes would do when the gold of the sun-moon-thing catches the light. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 🙂