Hello Icon Friends, I have been quiet on the blog, sparing you the details of my gilding efforts until I had something useful to share. I deliberately chose to work on bigger boards as I thought it would quickly show up all the places where I could go adrift. It did just that. Lesson one. Start with a small board, or even better, start with a practice board as Lee Harvey suggests. Water gilding is a difficult skill to master! Some of the students have made notes on their tips which you can read about here: Gilders Tips. Anyway, I wasn’t too pleased with the water gilding that I did in class for my mandilion so I sanded the lot off and applied 18 fresh layers of bole and started again – I think my bole consistency was a bit too thin. Once it had dried, I sanded and polished the bole and was really encouraged when I managed to get a deep shine. Good so far!
However, the water gilding process got the better of me and even after quadruple gilding, four books of gold and five days solid of faulting and polishing, the results are still average! The final appearance looks much the same as one layer of oil gilding and only slightly better than what I had sanded off in the first place.
I also painted my third attempt at the monochromes of Christ (for the Mandilion) and the Virgin, which I was reasonably happy with, so all set to begin the transfer on to the gessoed icon boards next session. My next post will include links to another set of You Tube clips of Aidan Hart demonstrating the different stages of the membrane technique. My final note is to say a couple of farewells. We all wish our fellow student, Susan O all the very best. We will miss you on the course Susan and hope that you keep in touch. A fond farewell to my beloved pet Norman. He was a larger than life character who once trampled over my keyboard typing in the letters Vatopedi as he went and inadvertently googling images of a Greek Orthodox Monastery. He recently got sick with secondary poisoning and much as I tried to keep him indoors (shown here) this weekend he got killed on the road.
We are only ever their custodians and I am grateful for the delight he brought in his short life with us. Thanks for reading.