So in our last episode, our heroine had braved the slaking, the gesso mixing, the drafting and the laying of gesso, so far, so good.
Results are...disappointing, to say the least.
I should mention - the first two pieces are using transfer gold (the 'letraset' type, that you rub off a backing paper) rather than loose leaf gold.
I found a consistent problem - the gold stuck around the edges of the letter, or the beads, but would not stick to the 'highest' points, where the gesso was thickest. Repeated applications worked the gold up towards the highest point, but sometimes the very centre of a bead remained bare.
After the first couple of tries, I tried adding a coat of gum ammoniac, which you usually only use for flat gilding - I was thinking maybe the gesso could provide some shape, and the gum the stickiness. No real improvement.
You can see that in a second or third application, the gesso actually lifted off, and stuck to the gold transfer paper, rather than the page.
I'm at a loss here - any one had a similar problem?
I'm aware that gilding is very sensitive to atmospheric conditions. Extremes of heat, cold and humidity can help or hinder.
Since I'm in SE England, my conditions are almost continually 'damp', or at least humid. Today humidity ranges from 77-85%
, and today is bright and sunny, as it was yesterday (rained overnight).
humid, even when it doesn't feel especially wet. And since most English home heating systems are crap, what you get outside will dictate what you get inside.
The bottom example is leaf gold - I had a similar problem, though not exactly the same, and because this is my second try at leaf gold, I don't know how much is gesso problem, and how much is me and my lack of handling experience.
I'm still debating, but life may be too short for leaf gold - the single test piece took me over an hour, and I wasn't happy with it. I did, in the end, get better coverage, but it was painfully slow and clumsy.