The Naked Masquerade: part 2

The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Beginning to paint: layer upon little layer of Prussian Blue. And that was as far as I got yesterday…

Gilding and some extreme stopping out….

I have begun The Naked Masquerade (which may not be its final title) in earnest. I recall saying last time when I showed you the sketch that I had not quite decided how I was going to approach it – whether as a painting or an etching. Well the next day common sense sunk in and the bit of my brain that is in charge of delivering the message ‘You Have Got To Be Joking!’ as regards particularly stupid ideas, pointed out the sheer horror of undertaking All Of That as an etching. It spoke in capitals and in italics, yes, and was, on this occasion, duly listened to.

On this occasion.

So, a painting then. With lots and lots of gold leaf… but possibly not much actual colour. This may be the one time that I stop mostly at the blue stage in my paintings. I always like the gold and the blue colour together, and the advantage of that would be that it might not be immediately apparent that nearly everyone is in fact naked, which might be amusing, though I may do the masks in colour. I was quite pleased with the effect I got with the Vis-à-Vis painting, where I only added a kind of orange to the blue underpainting. Anyway, we shall see how it goes…

The photo above is as far as I got last night, below is progress to that point. Excuse the lack of detailed explanations on this occasion… at some point I shall get back to my series of ‘how to do stuff‘ posts, and cover gilding. Not that I am an expert, but I am coming to grips with what works for me. For the moment you can read there about stretched watercolour paper (which is the surface I am working on) and the blue painting (link as above), which might be rather more than under painting in this case.

And on to the photos…

The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Extreme stopping-out – I avoid masking fluid almost always in painting. When gilding, however, it is the best solution I have found to the problem of how to paint on the gold size very, very evenly – simply mask out EVERYTHING else and paint the size quickly over the paper. The texture of the paper will show through the final gilding, but I’m ok with that – what I hate is when there are tide marks in the gold size.
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
This is cobalt blue gouache, which will be the colour underneath the gold leaf. You will see hardly any of it once the gold leaf is on, but glimpses of white would not as look good.
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Excess blue paint washed off…
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Beginning gilding. Sorry the gold shows up a bit dark in this – I didn’t want to stop too long for a better shot as the entire surface is covered in gold size (the glue that the gold leaf is stuck on with) and there is only so long before it stops being sticky.
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Finished gilding. The waste gold is unavoidable… I have a jam-jar full of rubbish with bits of gold leaf attached, but the actual gold content is so little it will need to be a dustbin bag full before there is any point taking it to a gold refiner.
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Rubbing off the dried masking fluid it comes off lie Copydex, but you have to be careful to rub the gilded areas as little as possible.
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
The finished gilding… now for some paint.
The Naked Masquerade - work in progress
Beginning to paint: layer upon little layer of Prussian Blue. And that was as far as I got yesterday…


  1. Mgon ♥

    Sooo coool. I very much enjoy seeing the steps of your art. Totally fascinating. I think I can do it now. Heh-heh. NOT!!! 😀

    1. no harm in having a go!

  2. So interesting to see the process. Thank you

    1. Thanks Rosie 🙂

  3. Hi Nancy !!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful techniques and the process of your works of art !! You are amazing !! Kisses !! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Mirsini 🙂 Kisses too! xx

  4. […] The Naked Masquerade part 2. […]

  5. NFaw: marvelous post, and i’ve reposted: thanks for sharing! RT

    1. Thank you! I have seen and commented on your site 🙂

  6. Beautiful! It has the feeling of a daguerrotype.

  7. Hi Nancy – I’m really happy to have found your work here. I’ve been reading about how some of the renaissance painters applied gilt backgrounds and it sounded quite technical. Really interesting to see how you’ve gone through the process here which already looks amazing. Looking forward to seeing the final piece.

    1. Hi Chas, thank you! As regards renaissance gilding – probably most of that is water-gilding on layers of gesso, on top of wood, and yes’ quite technical and more difficult. They didn’t have the advantage of acrylics then!

  8. love this work of yours and your sharing of the process is so interesting. hope you are well.

    1. Thanks Melanie! I am fine , thanks, just prevented from getting on with this one for a few days… will post more progress soon… x

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