Gilding & Blocking In Color

*In the video I said "Boyle"'s "Bole". I don't know why I keep writing and saying that, smh.

This weeks blog contains quite a bit of information. Once i'm done with panel prepping and gilding its pretty much all down hill from there. Applying my first layers and the entire painting process goes by pretty quick. I even find myself up at all hours of the night (forgetting to record). So, I'm going to be as clear as possible and straight to the point:)

Sealing the deal.

Two days passed before I was absolutely sold on my composition. I sealed my charcoal, so it will not mix with my oil paint, with a fixative spray.

I use Grumbacher Final Fixative found at my favorite place, Blick's.

I spray it down evenly with two coats.

It dries pretty quick, just make sure to spray it outside because of the strong fumes.

Part 1: Gilding

There are several ways to lay down your gold leaf. I choose to apply it old school, with red clay bole. I use LeFranc Gilder's Clay Bole from Jackson's as well as C. Roberson & Co. Prepared Rabbit Skin Glue.

Applying the clay base mixture..

How to prepare:

1 part glue to 1 part clay

1. Heat glue in a pot or boiler until melted

2. Add clay and stir until smooth and creamy.

I apply the mixture to the parts I want gold. Two even coats.

I let the clay fully dry before applying the gold leaf, about 2 hours to be safe.

*If you would like a smooth effect you can sand the clay until smooth. I opt not to do this because I like my gold leaf to look old and worn.

Water gilding

I have yet to master gilding. It's messy and frustrating. However, with every painting I get better. I promise, with practice, you will too.

How to prepare the water sizing:

You will need distilled water, 90% alcohol and a watercolor brush.

1. Mix ¾ distilled water with ¼ alcohol.

2. Heat it and let cool.

3. Apply the water in sections as you work.

*I only use GENUINE GOLD LEAF (24k is worth the money). The shine is richer and doesn't make the painting look cheap.

Part 2: Undercoat

My very first layer is usually done to cover all the white primer.

Since this painting is going to be heavily chiaroscuro (Caravaggio style), I chose to use Burnt Umber all over.

I concentrated on the very dark background and thinned the color out using my mineral spirits for filling in my subjects.

*I never use black because I want to be able to build my layers and gives the painting more depth.

Part 3: Creating a Face & Blocking in Color

The very first thing I do before blocking in my colors is focus and develop the main subjects face. I feel he is going to set the mood for the entire piece. He had to be special. So, I decided he would come completely from my head.

I start with a clear mind. I play some music and do somewhat of an "automatic painting" to carve out the face. I just focused on where I want the light to hit and the color of his skin. Little mistakes led to his unique features (like his teeth).

After I complete the first stage, I then develop his story...I ask myself questions and answer them like, Where did you come from? How would you have worn your beard?

I then end wit