Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some of the process of making an icon

the first feathering of ochre

applying the gold leaf
 Here are some of the earlier stages of the icon.  We worked on a small surface made from ginko wood which was covered with a sheet of muslin soaked in rabbits' skin glue.  After the glue had dried, a gesso, made from the glue and calcium carbonate, was applied, building up the surface til a polished painting surface was achieved.  The first drawing was with a brush dipped into the yellow ochre (no egg, yet) and feathered on.  After the area for the gold was determined, and the adherant for the gold applied, the feather-light sheets of gold were floated over the area and then pressed down.  In the final photograph (which I wasn't able to turn--it was Juliana's photo, and, though I could turn the others, I failed with this one)--you can see the small shot glasses of colored powder, and a mix, in the mortar, of the egg yolk and the powdered color.  A 'Wallace and Gromit-like' cow keeps watch of my progress.  After this, a thin application of ox gall was applied to the areas of the gold that were to be painted over (edges of the ears, for example).  Finally, I was ready to begin the mixing of colors, and the painting of layers.
gold leaf applied; colors ready to be mixed