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Gold leaf painting, also known as gilding, is an art form in which a thin layer of gold is applied to an underlying surface such as wood, plastic, canvas, or cloth. The Western tradition of gilding began in ancient Greece and Rome. Gold leaf is made by a procedure of chemical reduction of gold (usually electroplating) and is used in art as it has been for centuries.
The technique probably first appeared in metalworking where, from a very early time, gold or other metals were gilded as a surface treatment. Plating bronze was used by jewellers, sculptors, goldsmiths and others, often for small objects.
The oldest surviving gildings are on wood and include items like boxes and jewellery boxes in India from about 1800 BC to 500 BC. The earliest pieces of European art date to the Early Medieval period (during the Christian era) but it was not until the Late Medieval period that interest in illumination grew rapidly.
How Gold Leaf is applied to a surface
Gold leaf is applied to a surface or a support by hand, with either an adhesive or with strips of paper pasted to the surface first. This must be done carefully and with great attention to detail. The gilder may use a variety of tools such as an air-driven compressor, a pounce wheel or burnisher, and a leaf burnishing tool called “cocktail stick,” (reflecting the fact that they are usually made from thin bamboo skewers) and an artist’s camel hair brush or mop. The use of these tools is demonstrated in videos that are easily found on the internet.
how is gold leaf used in art?
It can be added to any type of art work. Some people prefer to add it to their paintings, creations of crafts and a variety of other pieces of art. It is used the same way as you would use it to decorate your frames.
How do you stick gold leaf to canvas?
After you have painted your canvas and it is dry, take a clean brush and dip it into water. You brush thin layer of the water based gilding to the canvas
It should be see through on the canvas, not a milky type layer
Let it sit for two to three minutes and when it is tacky like a piece of tape, take your gold leaf and place it on the canvas applying pressure to the gold leaf to ensure it sticks
Use a rag to burnish the gold leaf.
If the adhesive did not work properly, you can touch it up and make sure your gold leaf sticks well
How to paint over gold leaf?
Using the oil paint that is to your preferences, you will paint over the gold leaf in the area you wish it to be applied throughout the painting.
Is gold leaf real gold?
Yes, there are gold leaf options that are real gold. You can also buy imitation gold leaf, it all depends on how you want it to be used in your project