Friday, June 12, 2009

St. Michael icon - gold leaf

The icon, in two previous stages before the gold leaf, can be found here and here.

The border has yet to get its second layer of gold leaf. The rest is all down, and later will look smoother. Two layers of gold leaf altogether. The halo has been burnished; that's how it stands out.

Now, the first layer of gold leaf was laid down using some fish glue mixed with vodka as a binder. Some breathing also went into it. The second layer was done with a more diffuse mixture of the same (plus breathing), but could have been done simply with water and alcohol, which would have acted as a reconstitution of the previous glue underneath. Even the first layer could have been done as such (just water and alcohol and no glue), since there is either animal skin glue, rabbit skin glue, or fish glue in the red bole that was laid down before the gold leaf. Gold leaf is one atom thick. To say gold leaf is finicky is an understatement.

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