September 28, 2004, 01:17 PM
I want to incorporate gold leaf with watercolor. Do I gesso the paper first and sand it? How do I control the edges of the gold leaf so they go around painted forms neatly? Thank you. Sharon Pitts
Sharon Pitts Studio
September 29, 2004, 02:35 PM
There is an excellent article on this subject in the Paint Education area of the Natural Pigments Web site:
Gilding on Illuminated Manuscripts Based Upon Contemporary and Historical Methods
Basically, however, illuminators apply gesso (in a technique called "raised gesso") to the paper surface that controls where the gold leaf is applied and the luster of the gold leaf surface.
October 8, 2004, 03:31 PM
Thank you for the article. It addresses my questions more thoroughly than anything else I've seen. Sharon Pitts
Sharon Pitts Studio
October 18, 2007, 03:56 AM
There is another way of gilding on watercolor paper that doesn't use gesso at all and is rather clean; likely though, since you cannot burnish the finish isn't quite as brilliant.
Use a gloss-polymer. GOLDEN has what they call gloss-medium. Paint a layer over the letter on your paper and then while it is still wet, add as much medium to that layer as will pile up. Do this until you have formed a little mound. As it dries it will shrink a little. You can keep doing this until your letter is raised as much as you like. Then put on one more thin layer; apply your gold right to that WET layer. Don't push on it too much or the polymer will squeeze out. If your layer is wet enough (and not TOO thin), it will suck the gold right to it. After it dries you can come and skew away the edges.
Problem with this method is that the surface won't ever be perfect. You have to keep a watch on the air bubbles too or they will pop while the polymer is drying. Sometimes the surface will dry a little warped. Also, if you thin the polymer with water it tends to dull the polymer's shine when it dries. You want it to be as glossy as possible so that when you apply the gold it will be as bright as possible. Also be sure that you keep out any folds when laying the gold, because you can't get them out.
The finish looks decent in my opinion; and the gold holds nice and tight. But this is something I just learned, so I don't know about longevity. I imagine it is nice and long.
Another thing you can do is this: after your little mound of polymer ground is dry, you can trace designs into it with a little stylus (like for metal repousse). If your polymer size layer is not too thick, the gold should take the shape.