Monday, February 21, 2011

Pergamenata B

Keeping with the more Victorian style, I tried another B design. This B is the leaf script style again. Holbein Horizon blue is the main colour of the initial and I mixed it with some Holbein sap and leaf green to get the different tones of the greens. Floral petals are Opera Rose. This piece is done on the Heavyweight Natural Pergamenata Paper from John Neal. It took the pastel background beautifully and blended much easier than on the Arches HP paper. Gold leaf if raised with gesso. Ink work was done with McCaffery brown. This piece is 4 1/2 x 2 1/2".


Joseph Chapman said...

In two words: B-eautiful!

What are you using for the homemade gesso? Are you slinging lead carbonate around the studio or living less dangerously?

Heather Victoria Held said...

Thanks Joseph! I am not living that dangerously though! I am using titanium dioxide instead of lead carbonate. The recipe is as follows if you want to give it a try. It came from Brian Walker in England. I have made 3 batches from the supplies I ordered from John Neal. Enjoy!

8 parts slaked plaster
4 parts titanium dioxide (gives a much smoother mix than lead carbonate.
2 parts of ground ordinary granulated sugar
1 part glue (Seccotine)
a pinch of Armenian bole
Measure out the ingredients separately from each other using a level salt spoon or similar. Count as you go along. You can double the quantities to save having to repeat the process. Place all the ingredients into a mortar and add drops of filtered water a drop at a time and grind with the pestle until a very smooth runny paste is achieved (takes about five minutes). Then, scoop out some of the gesso with the spoon on to the dull side of a piece of aluminium kitchen (baco) foil making a dollar or half dollar sized disc. Keep the gesso stir whilst you're doing this to keep an even mix. Repeat until you've used up all the gesso mix. You should end up with about four or five discs on different 3" square pieces of foil . Put them under something to stop any dust getting on the wet gesso and leave to go leather hard. The discs can then be peeled off the foil and stored in a jar ready for use. If you prefer you can cut the rubbery discs up into wedge shaped
pieces before they dry out completely. Just use scissors. The pieces will then last you a long time. When you want to do some gilding, just remove a piece from the container and reconstitute it with water. The gesso wants to be creamy - too thick and you'll find it difficult to apply - too thin and you'll remove all the stickiness out of it. The gesso can be smoothed with a burnisher when the gesso is leather hard. No scraping necessary. When you breathe on the gesso in order to stick the gold get as near to it with your mouth as possible and breathe hard warm air from your lungs on to it about three times. Gild IMMEDIATELY. Don't hang about and really press the gold to the gesso. If you do what I've said the gold will stick even when it's 80 in the shade.

Dana said...

Spectacular design and colors! It gives me spring fever just looking at it.

I am crazy over this Victorian series you are doing!!!


Heather Victoria Held said...

Thanks Dana! Looking forward to you revealing D!!!

Joseph Chapman said...

Hmmmm, some things I knew and some things I didn't! Thanks for the recipe.

Heather Victoria Held said...

Glad it was helpful Joseph!

Joseph Chapman said...

And do you like Horizon blue? I'm seomwhat suspicious of the pigment list--it's one of the phthalo blues with titanium dioxide added, to which my reaction would be, "if I want white in my blue, I'll mix it in, thank you very much."

Heather Victoria Held said...

It is definitely premixed blue with white in it! I like the colour better than cerulean blue. Holbein watercolours are being discontinued at my Canadian suppliers so I took advantage of the $1.98 per tube price! Generally, I find that the Holbein colors mix a little easier than the Winsor Newton. I have had some very granular mixing experiences with the WN.

Jane Farr said...

Beautiful! As Dana said, it's cheerful and makes me long for warmer days. (soon, I hope!)

Heather Victoria Held said...

Thanks Jane. Spring can't come soon enough for me!