I saw clearly their heads arrayed in light, but mine eye was lost on their visages, confounded by the dazzling brightness.Dante
Purgatorio, viii. 34.
These images are made using the humble pencil. I adore the Faber Castell 9000 series for some reason – perhaps because they’re green and sharpen really well. My favourite paper at the moment, used here, is Stonehenge, a full-cotton paper that was first developed for use in printmaking. Here I have used ‘Warm White’, or ‘Cream’, the latter of which rather counter-intuitively is a nice sort of pale terracotta tint rather than yellow.
The gold leaf is a 23.5 carat, used with an acrylic ‘instant gilding’ medium. Gold leaf is a singularly tricky substance to work with. There is nothing I like more than getting stuck in to things I have vague notions about, and to read as much as a can about how to do things. The only problem with yours truly going about with nose-in-book is that it gives very little practical experience. This is where faffing about with wonderful materials comes in. The ‘fresco’ effect of the gold happens when the medium is applied more or less thickly in places to vary how it sticks to the paper.
These images were made during some experiments with different materials for gold. Pencils and paper as above, but here I have used Daniel Smith’s Gold Watercolour ground, painted on quite generously. Although it doesn’t have the same exquisite luminosity of true gold, the sheen is quite nice in the light, even if it is difficult to capture more than yellow here.