It’s a Bony Tale…

My go-to medium has been, for the last several years, watercolor and ink. Sometimes it’s watercolor and graphite, and sometimes lately I’ve been playing with gouache, too. But I’ve become a bit predictable.

Which meant it was time to shake things up.

I busted out my oil set (dusted off, more like…) and got to work on something with several components that seriously pushed me out of my comfort zone. The final painting is oil on board, with gold leaf accents. I haven’t touched any of that in years.

But before I got that far, I had to figure out a plan. In this case, the piece is a gift for my mom, who broke her humerus arm bone in a nasty spot last April. I wanted to paint that bone for her in a semi-medieval-inspired style of painting (smooth oil on board) but with gold where the break was… somewhat like the Japanese pottery tradition, where cracks are in-filled with gold, not just repairing a break, but making it beautiful. 

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My original sketch (made with watercolor pencils on paper) served as my rough template and guide. From there, I sketched out my plan of attack on my final surface — a piece of plywood with several layers of gesso applied as a base.

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With my rough-in determined, I started painting with oils. They are a fun, slippery, strange medium, and I’m determined to play with them more! None of my brushes were soft enough to achieve the silky-smooth finish (and that vaguely macabre, medieval look) I was looking for, so I actually went over the original brush strokes with two of my makeup brushes. Weird, but it worked!

Oil paints take up to a week to fully dry, so I played the waiting game before I was able to put on the gold leaf. Once it was ready, I placed white acrylic paint in the places I wanted the gold leaf to end up with a stucco texture, and used a gold ink as a base. Then, I applied the gold leaf.

And this is the end of this painting’s story! Once it cures for a few weeks I’ll give it its final touch: a layer of varnish, and then delivery to its recipient.

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