Gold leaf is applied to these paintings in a traditional manner dating back thousands of years in many different cultures. Once the oil painting portion is complete and dry, the surface is prepared with odorless mineral spirits. To shape the gold leaf birds, I first draw and then cut shapes out of painter’s tape and apply those to the surface of the painting. An enamel-like painting medium is then applied to the areas that need gold leaf. After the medium dries for 6 to 10 hours, it will be tacky enough for the gold to adhere. The gold is cut to size on a gilders cushion with gilders double edge knives. Transferring the gold is delicate because it is easily disturbed by air, drafts or even breathing on it. It folds quickly onto itself and has a static cling to everything nearby. It is best to avoid touching the gold with fingers because it will fade away. Specialty brushes and gilding tips are used to transfer the gold carefully. Once it has dried in place overnight, it can be burnished to a high shine by rubbing it gently with an agate tool. It is then sealed with varnish.
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