Processes and Techniques

Processes and Techniques

In 2008, after studying the stained glass master artworks in Europe, I began seeking out ways to create a more luminescent quality in my work, similar to what I observed when light passes through stained glass.  I then experimented with many techniques and processes, such as painting on resin, glass, and other transparent materials and mediums.  This eventually led me to work with transparent oil paints on panels gilded with 12-karat white gold leaf. 

What is a “Gold Leaf” painting? 

What is meant when one of my paintings is described as “Oil on White Gold Leaf”?  These paintings differ from traditional “oil on canvas” paintings in a number of ways.  Unlike the traditional oil painting on canvas where opaque oils are the creative foundation, I focus on using primarily transparent pigments and apply them over a surface that has been gilded with precious metals.  Usually this involves 12-karat white gold leaf applied over a brushed aluminum panel. The panel is brushed, etch-primed, covered with archival adhesive size, and hand gilded, creating a beautiful reflective surface that can be manipulated with different textures and effects.

– Pictured below are the tools and surface before and after gilding


How is the viewing experience different from a traditional Oil Painting?

Viewing a gold leaf work is a much different experience from viewing a traditional oil painting.  Since the light is able to pass through the transparent oil and reflect off the gilded surface, an almost luminescent effect is created.  This reflecting light creates an iridescent experience that changes when viewing the work from different angles and in different lighting conditions. 

– Pictured below is a example of how moving from left to right (or across a room) while viewing the painting creates a changing effect.  (Images were taken stationary lighting.)


One of my favorite things about working on silver and gold leaf is the amazing varieties of surface textures that are possible.  The effects are utterly unique, and especially in smaller works create a beautiful jewel-like effect.  Since each panel is gilded with the finished work in mind, I am able to control textures and angles of the leaf to reflect light the way I desire. 

– Pictured below are detailed images of two of my landscapes that help reveal the textures and effects that are easily viewed in person, but are difficult to translate to photographs.