Reverse Gold Leaf Glass Paintings

Last Wednesday evening, I was invited to give a demonstration at the World of Wonders Science Museum. This was a kick off event, a new type of evening fundraiser for the museum, titled “An Evening into the Unknown, Where Science Meets Art”. Every month, a different demonstration will bring science and art together for the public. My demonstration was the art of laying gold leaf behind glass in the water gilding method. The turnout was good and the audience was dazzled and entertained, many ‘unknown’ to this craft.

The local paper provided coverage of the event, http://www.lodinews.com/news/article_12cd81e2-c22b-58b6-804f-01d714852013.html

I showed the proper way to clean and prepare the glass, making the gelatin water size, laying the leaf to the glass on the reverse side, how to burnish the leaf, backing up the leaf with a lettering brush, using a steady hand and a mahl stick, and finally cleaning the excess gold away to reveal the lettering outline preserved. Many glass pieces were displayed, including one for the WOW Science Museum. When this piece is finished with a final backup and framed, I will post it here with a couple step by step pics, also.

In advance of the evening’s demonstration, I created three pieces of reverse gilded glass, painted in the verre e’glomise’ technique. Verre e’glomise’ is a French term for reverse glass gilding and painting. Here are pictures of three pieces of glass I gilded and painted in reverse, they will be framed and available through the science museum.

The first is a Golden Scarab Beetle, rendered with 23k Gold Leaf and Palladium leaf,that is etched and backed up with Japan colors. Next, stippled clear and black fibroseal and followed up with bronze mica powders, Then, I painted in colors of gouache and backed the entire glass with green variegated leaf.

Next, I gilded this piece with 23K Gold Leaf, and etched a fossil through the leaf, After backing the image with Japan Colors, gouache was applied and mixed in the appearance of stone. Then I gilded the next layer with black variegated leaf.

The third piece I created was from an underwater photograph I was able to snap as we were snorkeling in a bay near Kona, Hawaii. The guide called to us within minutes of entering the water, pointing in the direction of a sea turtle that was spotted in the distance. I we swam towards the location, in the distance I could see the peaceful movements of the turtle heading straight towards me. It never changed direction and I was able to get several pictures, this from directly above as it swam beneath me. I gild the glass with 23K and Palladium leaf, then etched the turtle, revealing the light and lines of the shell and the sectional areas making its head and legs. Next, I filled in the turtle with three Japan colors, blending as I painted. Next, I applied abalone shell fragments and mica powders, and when dry, painted colors of coral in with gouache. Finally, I backed the entire piece with 18K Gold Leaf, reflecting a warmth through the color.

Creating art by reverse gilding and painting of glass is invigorating and leaves me with a thirst to create a new watercolor. Then, I finish a watercolor and crave the brilliance of the gold, a endless circle of fun and discovery.

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23K gold watch

Here is an antique restoration project I just finished. This is a 36″ x 30″ double face cast iron pocket watch sign, at least 100 years old. This was stripped, primed, painted and gilded with 23K gold leaf. The gold was then aged with a patina and sealed with a clear finish. The watch faces were hand painted roman numerals and circular striping with lines for each minute and triangle pointers at each five-minute mark. A clock makers traditional roman numeral 4 is four vertical “I” s, no addition of the “V” until you reach number 5. The sign is quite heavy.

Two additional photos showing the three pieces of the watch. Gold leaf restoration work has a historical enjoyment to it. There is always that piece of the past that is interesting to learn, and I like to visualize the interior of the craftsman’s studio when a piece like this was fabricated.