June 15, 2008, 01:05 AM
Suddenly I am faced with the project of making a copy/version of what is, I think, a 16 or 17th century statue of the Virgin and Child, a bit over a meter in height (for the revival of a processonal ceremony at Usse, for which the original is considered too fragile). The original is polychrome, with gilding.
The statue will be made of plaster--as the original seems to be. But what then? What would be the best sizing, the best method of polychrome, and the best support for the gold work--which I will either have to figure out how to do myself, or get done by others: I mean not the glue itself, but what comes under the glue?
Left to myself I would probably size the whole thing with a weak solution of hide glue (would milk be better?), paint it with home-made guache (having on hand both gum arabic and oil of spike from Rublev--materials intended for a different project) and for the gilt areas use a red guache underpainting...which might want to be made a bit less absorbant...by going over it with more weak glue?
The polychrome of the original (like the statue itself) is not notable for finesse, except in the face where the coloring is subtle and good and the handling is absolutely melted. I don't see how such an effect could be got with egg tempera.
June 15, 2008, 07:49 AM
You can gild directly on the plaster with either water- or oil-based size.
As far as painting on a plaster surface, it is best to reduce the absorbency of the plaster with a thin varnish, such as shellac, or by a thin underpainting of oil color with turpentine. Painting on the plaster with oil paint then is easier by reducing the absorbency of the plaster.
June 15, 2008, 10:44 AM
Ah: That simplifies the matter splendidly!
Thanks so much.
...isn't plaster a marvellous thing?