|Leafing and Encaustic|
Leafing is a traditional technique used with encaustic paint. Living examples of the work include the Fayum Mummy Portraits from the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. Floppy un-attached leafs are hard to handle but pressing this kind of leaf onto waxed paper will make it stick somewhat and be easier to handle.
Make sure the wax layer you want to adhere the leaf to has been recently fused (within ½ hour so it’s tacky). Since the leaf is so thin it reveals the flatness or texture of the wax below it exactly determine your surface first. If the wax surface is very flat and smooth, the gold leaf adhered will have the most shiny and reflective quality.
Place it face down on the surface of the wax and rub with a clean cotton ball. Remove the paper or waxed paper and burnish in one direction with the clean cotton ball; this will bring out the luster and shine of the gold. At this point it is pretty well attached, however you can then fuse it to the wax to make it more permanent. Using the heat gun will tend to ripple the wax underneath and make the leaf look wavy. Radiant heat (heat lamp) is a softer way to fuse and keeps the flat reflective surface in tact.
Traditional ways of working with gold leaf come in handy: stencil use, cutting between sheets of waxed paper, applying it over traditional colors. In Italy the altarpieces and Madonna and Child paintings often use gold leaf over cadmium red light, raw sienna, mars colors, and alizarin crimson. When the leaf is applied over these colors and then roughly burnished on with the cotton ball, the distressed look attained is beautiful with these particular colors showing through.
Sources FOR LEAFING MATERIALS
Sepp Leaf / www.seppleaf.com / 1.800.971.SEPP
Mona Lisa Products / Houston Art / www.houstonart.com / 1.800.272.3804
Mister Art / www.misterart.com / 1.800.721.3015
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