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Old 27-06-09, 07:53 AM
Sladojevic Sladojevic is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
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Default Tempera over gilded surface

Hello everybody I'm new to the forum.

I need to paint with tempera over water gilded gold leaf. Plan is to lift portions of paint to revile a pattern, but I wish to keep rest of the paint. As I'm at the beginning of painting process and I'm jet to have a lot of contact with painted surface, I need to find a way of locking the paint. I find that paint lifts to easy.

Is there anything that I can apply over the gold for a tooth, without japerdising brightness of the gold surface?

Or maybe applying some kind of fixative to set the paint? What kind of fixative could I use that would not repel subsequent layers of tempera?
I'm thinking clear shellac. Would this work?

Any other ideas?
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Old 28-06-09, 06:10 AM
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mona mona is offline
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Default Tempera over gilded surface

If you use shellac you can only do oil on top of it. Sorry I don't have a suggestion other than finishing it with oil paint.
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Old 29-06-09, 04:06 PM
MatG MatG is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Four Corners area, AZ
Posts: 64
Default garlic

You might try a forum search. Someone has said they rub gold leaf with garlic before painting over it.
I read that (maybe in more than one place in this forum) and wasn't sure exactly what the poster meant, but it sounded like they rub cut garlic over gold leaf, then paint tempera over it.
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Old 30-06-09, 07:37 AM
Sladojevic Sladojevic is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 10

Thank you both for replying!
I have tried garlic in the past, but it didn't work so well for me. Garlic juice would kind of bead-up, on the gold surface. I was hoping that somebody new of something else.
Never used shellack in this way, I might try it.
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Old 29-08-09, 01:12 AM
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KHart KHart is offline
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Location: Finger Lakes, NY
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Originally Posted by Sladojevic View Post
Thank you both for replying!
I have tried garlic in the past, but it didn't work so well for me. Garlic juice would kind of bead-up, on the gold surface. I was hoping that somebody new of something else.
Never used shellack in this way, I might try it.
you could try adding a little dishwashing soap to the water you use to dilute the ET mix. I find this gives my paint some added tooth and especially on any ground surface that may have a shine or slickness to it, the soap makes it adhere and prevents any crawling, etc. Not sure if this would help in your application but it's a thought.
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Old 29-08-09, 12:01 PM
artsyiconophile artsyiconophile is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13

I understand that ox gall also works to decrease the surface tension so that tempera can be applied over the gold. I believe that you simply apply the ox gall over the gold leaf. Perhaps you can also try posting to the forum. George, the moderator, is very knowlegeable.
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Old 30-08-09, 06:18 PM
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Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Alstead, NH & Zirahuen, Mexico
Posts: 317

Hello All,

Here is a recipe for using garlic to adhere tempera to gold. (My apologies to the person who gave it to me, to whom I can't give credit, because I can't remember who it was!)


Gold Assist Instructions

This is a method for painting delicate lines of gold leaf onto your painting, adhered with a glue made of garlic.

Garlic paste – prepared a week before leafing is done
Large soft brush
Small pointed sable brush
Loose sheet gold leaf sheet
Bread – dark stiff loaf is better than soft

Take three bulbs of garlic and press it into a paste. Put it in a jar without a lid and let it dehydrate for a week. It will not spoil. It will turn to a sticky consistency like thick honey.

Dust your painted egg tempera panel with talc and a soft brush to remove grease.

Make a mixture of ochre and water, and paint lines where you would like the gold to be. This is necessary because the garlic glue is transparent, and you can’t see it when you paint it on the painting.

Take a small dollop of the garlic glue out of the jar and put it in a little dish. Thin it slightly so that it can be handled as a paint. If it is too thin, the gold will not adhere.

Use a small pointed brush and paint the glue directly next to the ochre lines. You will want to do this, rather than paint directly onto the lines as there is a thought that the ochre is a loose untempered pigment that could brush off the painting, thus loosening the glue.

Wait for at least 20 minutes before you apply gold, as the glue needs to set up. Gold can be applied up to several hours after glue is applied.

Place your panel flat on a table, with your sheet of gold leaf next to it. Pull a small piece of bread off the loaf and press it between your fingers so that it is contained and is not crumbly. Press the piece of bread onto the gold sheet and lift off a piece of gold, and then dab the gold onto the garlic lines on your painting. Dab the painting, working the gold onto the glue, and lifting the gold away from the areas where there is no glue. Change out the bread and gold periodically, as the gold will stop releasing from the sticky bread after a while.

When all unwanted gold has been removed from unglued areas, let the paint rest so that the glue/gold can set up. A thin layer of shellac may be applied over the gold as a protective sealer, but this is not necessary.
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Old 30-08-09, 06:22 PM
Rosemary Rosemary is offline
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Seattle, WA U.S.A.
Posts: 65
Smile Trying other paths to gilded pattern

I don't understand exactly what kind of pattern of gold you are trying to achieve, but here is one way that works. If the pattern is large enough, I would go about the problem by using a frisket stencil to do the gold leafing only where it is wanted in the first place. I have done this for water gilding but it also works for using wonder size as well if you don't want the highly polished look of water gilding. It is very tedious and time consuming and takes longer than direct painting but gives a good result. Of course you have to do the stencil and gold first before doing any egg tempera on the protected clean gesso. So this won't help if you have already gold leafed your whole panel.
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Old 05-10-09, 01:33 AM
Sladojevic Sladojevic is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 10

Hi to all,
I have been away for 2 months and had no chance to reply or try any of the suggested methods on my troubled panel.

Yes, I have already applied gold over the large section of my panel. First I water gilded the gold leaf, then a block of titanium white was applied over the gilded surface. The idea was to scrape paint off in rectangular formations, in order to revile gold that is laying beneath it.

Initial problem was that titanium white would not adhere evenly across the gilded surface. It would flake off too easily.

Both Rosmary's frisket stencil and Koo Schadler garlic recipe could have worked, if I have accounted for them from the beginning. They are both useful tips and I will test them out in the future. Thank you.

I'm not too confident about mixing washing detergent with the paint. Washing detergents are designed to break down oils, and if they do this with the egg yolk oils it may compromise durability of the medium.

Ox gall sounds good. I'll try it on gold and I'm considering trying it on the gessoed panel as well.

Secondary problem
arised when I started applying tempera over the part of the non-gilded panel. Parts of the gessoed surface would repel paint while others worked perfectly.When I turn my panel sideways, towards the sun, parts appear shiner then the others. These shine parts resist tempera. I wonder if ox gall would do a trick with gesso?

Thank you all for your suggestions.
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Old 15-11-09, 12:25 AM
anann anann is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 5

I have another suggestion for painting over water gilding. A traditional method for scraffito (what I think you are trying to do) is to apply a glair wash over the gold. Glair is made of egg white: whip it until soft peaks form, then let it sit overnight. The liquid that settles out is the glair. You have to be careful when you put it on so the gold doesn't come up. You only need a thin layer. It worked very well when I tried it.
I'm afraid I can't help you with your second problem. Good luck though.
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gold leaf, tempera

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