As I previously mentioned, I spent a great deal of time developing a presentation that I like for my small paintings. The angle of the photo above depicts the layering I used. Though it took a few twists and turns, it turned out close to what I originally pictured in my head. Over many years of making art, I learned through experience not to get ahead of myself by doing the miniature abstracts and then trying to figure out a way to frame them. It would have been easy to just put them in a mat and frame, but…..
Although I thought it would be easy to create my vision, I ran into a few issues along the way. First of all, I had never applied silver leaf to anything and it took a fair learning curve to achieve the look I wanted…six wooden mats discarded. I liked a few instances of the background black showing here and there, but not too many. Once I got the leaf applied consistently, I used a sealer, tinted with a very small amount of transparent raw umber, to keep the leaf from tarnishing and to dull the shine just a bit. Then on to the wood panel.
I sanded then painted the panel with a very dark gray tinted gesso. I painted two and ran out of the gesso, made more, but the tone was lighter. That was okay, because I was going to paint over it, probably with black. When the panels dried, I liked the lighter gray color much better than the dark, and also liked the matte finish of the gesso against the shine of the silver leaf. So to keep the matte finish, I purchased two gray colors of chalk paint, light and dark, mixed them half and half, and really liked the result. I also bought a matte acrylic finish produced by the same paint company to apply as a final coat. Unfortunately, it turned the paint darker…not what I wanted. The panel also looked a little plain, so I tried scattering some of the original medium gray paint over the darker surface and truly loved the slight contrast of lighter/darker and a bit of a sheen and very matte…viola!
Now that I have the process defined, I will do three more pieces. The mats are leafed, the panels painted, so I will paint some more abstracts, selecting the best to place in the frames.
The piece above and the two below have been accepted into the Small Works exhibit and sale at the New Mexico Art League in Albuquerque, NM, Dec. 3 – Jan 9. I may continue the musical theme in the next three paintings…from the studio